It's been 6 years since my brother passed away and it still feels like it happened yesterday. When you lose someone, the pain in your heart never gets better, it just changes. I am a lot better at managing my grief today than I was back in 2009 when he passed away but there are still days when I wake up and really struggle to get out of bed.
Holidays are especially tough because I can't help but think about my brother. I have found that it's really important that I allow myself to miss my brother and give myself permission to be sad instead of trying to pretend that I'm OK. There's a fine line between leaning into grief and allowing it to take over your life but for me, it's important to lean into it. Granted, grief is a very individual experience and no one person grieves the same way. I used to exhaust myself trying to pretend that I was OK but quickly realized that you can't outrun grief. So I don't try anymore, I just run with it. When I'm feeling particularly down, I put my running shoes on (anda pair of sunglasses because I feel more comfortable crying wearing them) and I go for a long run so I can talk to him. I try to remember him and the fun things we did together or the things he did that made me laugh. And when I get home, I feel closer to him and thankful for the time I had with him. I still feel sad, yes, but mostly grateful that I had the chance to have him in my life for as long as I did.
So that's what I did on Thanksgiving morning. I had an extra special Thanksgiving because I got to spend it with my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins in Ohio. I was originally planning on staying in New York since I'm moving back to the West Coast in 2 weeks (I'm only going for the winter. I'll be back in New York March 1st) but when my Aunt Becky invited me out, I knew I wanted to be with my family because it would be impossible to sit and wallow around them because I wouldn't feel as alone.
Ohio was amazing. Just being able to be in a house with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins for a few days was out of this world. I think the only thing I did (besides eat my body weight) was laugh because we all just laugh and dance when we get together.
I woke up early Thursday morning to get a run in because Thanksgiving was my 3 year runniversary. It's crazy to think that an entire 3 years has gone by since I started running. That first run was AWFUL. I remember being sore for an entire week but not giving up when it felt impossible was the best decision I ever made.
3 years ago today I snapped and went for my very first run! My how time flies when your life falls apart! But I have to say, running turned out to be one of the best things to ever happen to me. Now let's eat and drink our body weights! Happy third #runniversary friends! I'm grateful for your laughs and faces. #RunSelfieRepeat #Thanksgiving
After I ran, my Aunt Becky, cousin Kate, her little one Jack and I all went to the Cincinnati zoo for a few hours. It was amazing because there was literally no one there! We had the entire zoo to ourselves! It was so much fun being able to chase Jack around and see how excited he got about the animals.
After the zoo, we went back to the house to get our turkey (that we named Tom) ready for his big day! I am normally the head chef for the crazy Kennedy Roberts clan when I'm home in California because I love cooking but it can get stressful. This time around, it was fun to have 3 cooks in the kitchen with me. And my Aunt Becky prepped most of the sides ahead of time so Thanksgiving day was a breeze!
It was a really laid back Thanksgiving which was PERFECT. We spent most of the day out of the kitchen playing cards, hanging out and going to the park.
I ate my body weight and ended up like this...
We spent the next two days running around Cincinnati and hanging out as a family.
We went shopping, ate tons of food and spent every night dancing our faces off.
I think I gained 10 pounds this weekend and I'm not complaining. We had some of the most fun family dinners I've ever had in my life and luckily, my cousin Brooke kept me on my A-Game by going to spin classes with me Friday and Saturday.
Then on Sunday, my cousin Sarah wanted to see if she could run a mile without stopping so we slapped some shoes for the one mile challenge! I accidentally ended up lying to her and kept telling her "only a little further" so instead of 1 mile she ran 1.4! Such a boss! The hardest part about running is just getting started. Even if you've run a 5K, 10K, hell even a marathon before, getting back to the swing of things is always tough. But it's only hard until it's not! As long as you can get past the first few weeks it will get easier! It's just one foot in front of the other!
Then Kate and I made made brownie cookies while we waited for our skyline! (You can't go to Cinci and not get skyline.)
This weekend was the perfect weekend away. It makes me sad that I only get to see my Aunt, Uncle and cousins in Ohio a few times a year. They are some of the funniest people in the world and I hate that we live so far away from each other. I really wish my entire family lived closer together. I love being around them so much. They remind me that I have so much to live for. There is nothing like family and good friends.
I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving! Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.