From the door to the floor and back again

If you’ve been to a 6am class, had scheduling problems with MindBody, or have been present at one of our holiday events/Open workouts odds are you’ve met or talked with Jamie and/or Bethany. Back in May 2016 they were subjected to a tragedy that most of us chose not to imagine; their son Elliot was stillborn. They’ve been working with Bereaved Families of Ontario during the fall and winter and Bethany has helped to organize and is singing in a benefit concert this Sunday at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church at 2pm. All donations towards admission will go to Bereaved Families of Ontario and we hope all of our members can join us there!

To that end below is a post from Jamie that he wrote about his return to CrossFit Waterloo and how some elements of CrossFit have helped him to navigate his grief journey.

From the door to the floor and back again
by Jamie Pepper

The first day back to CFW after losing my son Elliot I barely remember who was there nor what the workout was. I do remember there were burpees in it, lots of them. As I hit the floor again and again and rep after rep I could feel everything inside me bubbling to the surface. As I kept going it took longer and longer to get up. I could feel myself getting heavier and my breath lengthening with each rep until eventually it happened…

I could feel the tears streaming down my face and mixing with my sweat. My heavy breathing made the ever so slight conversion into gasping sobs as I continued each rep. This sounds potentially terrifying, but what I didn’t expect as I continued on with the workout is that no one could differentiate between the hot, sweaty, red-faced workout version of me and the crying, sobbing, slow-paced me that was struggling in an entirely different way through the end of the workout. This felt somewhat liberating, and I left feeling slightly better than when I first walked in the door.

As I came back in the days that followed I had similar experiences. One day I was fine for the entire workout and once it was over I grabbed my bag and crashed through the shower door. I collapsed on the floor and began to cry and sob uncontrollably. The post workout music and chatter muffled what would have likely brought concern to anyone who could have heard me in a silent room. Again, I took comfort in that mask of protection.

On another day I walked through the door and as we were doing our skill/strength component I was asked how Beth was doing and I felt my knees start to buckle and go to the floor. I caught myself used those emotions to finish my last set of push presses that day and again took comfort in being allowed to express and expunge the emotions of my grief.

As more days passed I continued to walk through the door of CFW. Some of those days I may still end up on the floor, but I will always come back again and hope to feel slightly better each time I do.

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