Life is a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs. Recently, I suffered the loss of a fellow soldier that I worked closely with, and while I’m not done processing it all yet, I feel that I’ve gotten through at least the initial shock of receiving the news. I couldn’t keep from thinking about him even though I needed to concentrate on my school work and on my diet and exercise. I decided to make a few decisions about how I was going to handle my grief over this loss.
First, I was going to honor his memory by sticking to my fitness plan and running. Heck, while on my runs, as I thought of him, I ran harder and harder. He was very physically fit, and he and I had many discussions and conversations about fitness. He was always motivating and pushing me to do more, and I figured that’s what he’d want me to do if he were here with me.
Second, I was going to stick to my diet as closely as possible. The temptation for many dealing with grief is to turn to comfort foods, but for someone like me who is a recovering food addict who had a very bad relationship with food, eating a bunch of bad foods to comfort my grief would be the worst possible thing I could do. Emotionally, since I typically feel a lot of guilt over not eating right if I go off-plan, the possibility of bringing on depression is great. I decided it’s best to not even give myself the option of going off-plan. I didn’t give myself permission to eat anything.
It will take a long time to get over the loss, if there is such a thing as getting over the loss of a friend. While we weren’t very close, we were colleagues who were friendly to each other, and I enjoyed talking with him, working with him, and learning from him. He was very highly regarded among our soldiers, and this loss will hurt all of us for a long time to come. To give into the grief and to stop exercising and eating right would be contrary to some of the very things he was so strong in. To honor him, I will continue to be strong and remember his smile, his words of advice, and his motivation.