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How Can I Help You To Say Goodbye

This isn’t going to be your usual WLS post. Unfortunately today I have something else to share with you.

Most days I am happy to stop and do anything I can to help someone along their journey. Most days I am happy to share my life experience with someone in order to try to make their journey a little easier than mine might have been. Usually I do so with an eagerness I can rarely explain to others. Today however, the journey I must share is one that fills the heart with an overwhelming sadness.

Yesterday as I ran the fastest 5k I have run to date, I listened to old country music as my Dad and I ( Yes I still speak to him when I run ) had a conversation where I sought the answers to one of the most complex questions I’ve ever posed to myself. Suddenly as I ran my second mile in under 12 minutes listening to old school country music I heard not only my question but as usual when I turn to my Father for guidance, the answer as well.

“Through the back window of a ’59 wagon
I watched my best friend Jaime slippin’ further away
I kept on waving ’till I couldn’t see her
And through my tears, I asked again why we couldn’t stay
Mama whispered softly, Time will ease your pain
Life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same

And she said, How can I help you to say goodbye?
It’s OK to hurt, and it’s OK to cry
Come, let me hold you and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye?”

July 5th will be the two-year anniversary of my Father’s passing, one of the most horrible moments of my entire life. and here I am sitting on a plane as I go to help the best friend I have in the world, embark on the same journey.

Sometimes I’m a little surprised how much our lives parallel one another and as I watch my best friend struggle to find her way of  saying goodbye to her Mother, I’m saddened by how much Cancer has taken from her in such a short time. In a matter of days they have gone from stomach pain to the possibility of surgery that was pretty much a gastric bypass to cut the cancer out of her stomach to a six month to live prognosis to just a few days of in home hospice.

Every time she had a moment to catch her breath they cut the time she thought she had left in half on her. And when she asked me “How do you say goodbye if she does know she is going?” I had to take off on a run to try to find the answer for us both.

“Sitting with Mama alone in her bedroom
She opened her eyes, and then squeezed my hand
She said, I have to go now, my time here is over
And with her final word, she tried to help me understand
Mama whispered softly, Time will ease your pain
Life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same
And she said, How can I help you to say goodbye?
It’s OK to hurt, and it’s OK to cry
Come, let me hold you and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye?”

We’re never prepared for something like this. It’s never the right time. For me; I had expected the call for years because I knew my Father was getting up there in age. ( He was almost 85 when he passed away ) .. but still the first thing I thought when the call came in and I hung up the phone was “This isn’t fair.”

It took me awhile to find my Father through exercise. To be able to get past the pain and hurt of him not being there for me and realize that he was still there in my heart and that he lives on through me as I share the lessons that he taught me with the world. But as I offered my dear friend the comfort that she too would find a way to still feel connected with her Mom, I realized how hard that is to have faith in right now.

I think of my two-year old Nephew and I wonder how I can ease the confusion he’ll experience when he realizes Grandma won’t be there to play with him or help take care of him anymore.

As my friend, her family, my chosen family and I begin this journey together today, I can’t help but think of how similar we all are. How many things we have all experienced and I am reminded of a lesson that a wise man once taught me…

In life we must understand that sometimes we have to reach out for help from those that are a little bit farther along in the journey than we are and let them show us the right path. My friend did that when she asked me to come to Dallas and help her with this journey. Other times, we need to know when to hold out our hand and reach out for someone who we know is a little bit behind us and try to help them.

This is the very reason that I devote so much of my time to helping other people with their weight loss journey and why I am focused on a career change as a personal trainer, to make sure that I am working on always reaching back to help others step forward.

Today I am reminded that we need to appreciate the present. Do what we can with it and make the best out of it, because we’re not guaranteed a tomorrow. Whether it’s kissing the person that you love,  saying “I love you” or getting out for that walk or run that you’re just not extremely motivated to do, you’ve got to enjoy what you’ve got and appreciate the people you have to share it with.

So Tora, my soul sister, when you read this. Please know that I love you, that I am sorry that our lives have paralleled here and that you are having to find a way to say good-bye to your mother. I’m not sure I can help you find the words to say good-bye, but I can hold your hand and comfort you while you do and I can share with you the experiences that I had so that you might learn from them and know what to expect.

I have no sage words for you that will help you find yours but I can tell you one thing, without any doubt, this isn’t good-bye, it’s the beginning of a different journey with your Mother, one where her presence with you is spiritual and you’re tasked with the oh so important job of making sure my nieces and nephews know their grandmother through you.

As for the rest of us, I think it’s important to remember that our weight loss is just another life journey, one that I want so badly to help you with. So as this heavy topic embraces my loved ones in its grasp I just feel the need to remind you all to live life loud, to love hard, and remember to appreciate the special moments. Be kind to each other and most important live today as if tomorrow is an uncertainty, because it is.

I’m planning on taking my niece and nephew for a walk tonight, after I get a little nap in. Exercise is an amazing way to process everything going on around you and a natural anti-depressant. Making sure my chosen Family utilizes that outlet is on the top of my to do list. Who wants to support us and get their fit on too?


Exercise it out – A key to my Post Gastric Bypass WLS Success

So I made a deal with myself that I was going to spend February loving myself and doing things that I feel will help propel me towards my three main goals for this year;

  • Become a Personal Trainer
  • Run a Half Marathon
  • Become a first time Home Buyer.

7e0a3bfe6e4f11e2a30c22000a1f9683_7As part of the first two I’ve recently started changing up my exercise a bit and going from being solely a cardio queen to trying to incorporate other aspects of exercise into my routine so that I can start to build some upper body strength and work on learning and appreciating my new body.

So last week I observed a yoga class sitting in the back of the room and though to myself, “There is no way my body would move that way it all feels way too tight for that.” I was amazed when I snuck into the privacy of my own bedroom where nobody could see me and tried a “downward facing dog” position and was shocked when I could do it. That courage and realization lead to me trying a lot of new things in the last week.

The following night, Thursday, I tried a Pilates class and was shocked when I managed to do almost everything the instructor told me too and lasted the entire hour of the class even after running a 5k on the treadmill right before.

I tried several new machines in the gym this week including the Stairmaster, an Adaptive Motion Trainer Elliptical, a new style treadmill and a chest press and shoulder press machine. I was really proud of myself.

My training week goes from Sunday-Thursday and then I take Friday and Saturday as my rest days.

Sunday I did a 5k on the treadmill with a time of 42:70 with the treadmill set to a 1.0 incline. Then I did 10 minutes on the Stairmaster and 33 minutes on the Elliptical with a distance of 2.62 miles. According to the machines I burned 778 Calories.

Monday I did a 5k on the treadmill with a time of 42.21 with the treadmill set to a 1.0 incline. Then I did 33 minutes on an Adaptive Motion Trainer Elliptical with a distance of 2.80 miles. I swam 6.5 laps in the pool. According to the machines I burned 722 Calories.


Tuesday I did two 33 minutes sessions on the Elliptical. The first was a total distance of 2.67 with a calorie burn of 327. The second was a total distance of 2.77 miles and a calorie burn of 345. Between the Elliptical sessions I did some strengthening and toning:

  • 2 Bench Dips, 5 Reps Chest Press, 8 Reps Chest Press, 3 Bench Dips, 3 Should Press Squats.
  • 9 Reps Chest Press, 3 Reps Should Press, 2 Shoulder Press Squats, 5 Shoulder Press Squats, 8 Bench Dips.
  • 8 Shoulder Press Squats, 6 Reps Chest Press, 2 Reps Shoulder Press, 10 Reps Shoulder Press, 6 Reps Shoulder Press.
  • 4 Bench Dips, 7 Shoulder Press Squats, 9 Bench Dips, 10 Reps Shoulder Press, 7 Reps Chest Press.
  • 10 Reps Chest Press, 10 Shoulder Press Squats, 10 Reps Shoulder Press, 4 Shoulder Press Squats, 11 Bench Dips, 5 Bench Dips.

Wednesday I was so so sore I didn’t know how I was going to manage to workout. I have one more day in the gym and today is another Low Impact Cardio / Strength and Toning day. I’m not sure what exercises I am going to do yet, but yesterday, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I dug down deep and I drug myself to the gym and swore I would at least get the last day of the 10K Trainer program in for the week since I don’t plan on doing treadmill running today; I got in there and did that.

Because I was exceptionally sore I promised not to overdo it today treat it as a short workout day. ( Meaning 30-45 minutes of Cardio instead of 60-70 ) – I did the 10K Trainer program which ended me up with 35.19 minutes of cardio and 2.5 miles. Then I did what I said I would… I tried Yoga, and I loved it.

42cf49a26c3411e2b3d922000a9f309f_7It’s been an entire week of me trying new things, spending a lot more time studying, a lot less time on the internet and you know what, I’m finding I am happier again. I’m thinking there is something too this less time online makes for a happier Pandora. I really haven’t been able to have any sort of stable routine since last October when I started traveling and now that I am starting to find my routine again I realize a couple of things I think I should note.

  1. I am happier when I am getting exercise.
  2. I am happier when I spend more time away from the computer than sitting at it.
  3. I function better when I have somewhat of a schedule and routine; I don’t do chaos well.
  4. Exercise works for me as an emotional outlet, life seems much more in perspective for me when I am getting my 1-2 hours a day of exercise in.

I have no clue what today’s exercises will be, I’ve looked a few arm exercises up online and I’m going to try another set of them with my trusty playing cards determining which exercise I do and how many Reps.

I finished the Kelly Armstrong book I was reading and now it is time to move on to the last book of a series I have been reading for going on ten yeas now. This reading a chapter in the hot tub, a chapter in the sauna and a chapter at home any time I take a bubble bath is turning out to get me a lot more reading time than I realized I had, and I still managed to have a very productive work week as well. \O/

I have started using a phrase “Exercise it out.” Basically it means that whatever is going on in me from a Wellness standpoint, whether it me physical, emotional, mental, social or spiritual aspects of my life, if something isn’t jiving or isn’t going quite right I can “exercise it out,” get whatever I’m feeling out-of-the-way, set it aside and figure out the best course of action. “Exercise it out,” my friends, it’s one of my keys to successful weight loss post RNY Gastric Bypass.



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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
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