Every morning I wake to a reality and hope that it is a dream. I see the face in this photo, then I see little Kohei’s face and I cry. The face I see in the photo will never change and the face I see in my mirror is 100 years older but in reality it is 561 days older. I’ve lived 561 days of tears, 561 days of a reality that I want to be a dream, 561 days of looking at Kohei and begging him to tell me what he witnessed, and 561 days without answers. I’m looking for a cure, the medicine or a magical healing from the 561 days.

How do I explain myself or try to understand this 561 days of hell. For the sake of my sanity I tried therapy and failed, my second attempt at therapy and two different group therapy sessions on grief were meant to show me coping technics, but ultimately I ran from them screaming because I’m still trying to face an absoluteness of 561 days without Chris.

Today is 561 days and again I wake…I look in the mirror and see a small but distinct change. It is not a change in my face, my mental health or my heart, but in my physical self.  So, as a 57 year old mother of three and Granny to five…I am seeing what riding my bike 6 days a week has done to my body. I’m physically stronger and I’m going to say this out loud…I have the beginning of a six pack (William and Keith I’m not talking about a keg either). The physical healing thing isn’t something I had contemplated in this journey. I knew I would need to be able to physically handle long durations of bike riding and I think I’m accomplishing that requirement. Being physically fit again, never entered my thought process because let’s face it…I’m still not in my right mind. Along with the bike riding I’ve also been doing a workout handwritten for me by my baby boy Chris. 561 days ago he hand wrote a six week “Fit Kit” for his Mom. 561 days isn’t exactly six weeks but it’s a start to me being physically fit…medicine which is necessary no matter how disagreeable.


How to ride a bike?

My very first bike was a gift from my GodFather for my Confirmation into the Catholic Church. Paul (my GodFather) went to a police auction and bought 3 bikes and completely restored them to like new condition. He brought them to Wyoming for my younger brothers Chris, Jamie and me as our Confirmation gifts. We were so excited and I had never owned something quite so cool, something that belonged to me and me alone. I’m not sure whatever happened to that bike. The next bike I remember was another gift from Jerry Ramsey. We were living in Missoula, MT and I used to ride my bike from Grant Creek into town for coffee or just where ever. The rides were just fun outings and nothing special.

Fast forward to today. I’m learning the basics…really. So many things that I didn’t know. Like how the exact fit of my bike frame to my body size makes a huge difference in my ride. I have no neck pain, elbow pain, wrist pain, back pain,  or knee pain.  But, let’s face it my butt pain was an entirely different issue I needed to conquer. Only time in the saddle would help heal that pain. I am currently riding 3 to 4 hours 6 days a week. I’m riding mainly flats with a few hills. The rides have been cold, freezing and mostly wet. The rain just won’t stop. So, a few days ago Team Medicine decided to give me a lesson and a push out of my comfort zone, we went for a team ride. My first question to them was, “Are you going to make me cry”? They promised they would be kind…and then we made our way to “Cemetery Hill” (my name for the hill), but it did go up hill into a cemetery.  I think they were trying to tell me something, if I didn’t make it up the hill it would be easy to do away with my body…a small push to the side of the road and a little fresh dirt kicked over me and my bike. Well, it took me four days to conquer “Cemetery Hill” and I’m waiting for my next lesson out of my comfort zone. I’m also learning about the equipment on my bike and becoming very familiar with it…which is preparing me for next week and my introduction to clipless pedals and new bike shoes. I will be calling this lesson “CRASHING 101 FOR BEGINNERS”.