Well here we are not even 60 days into 2016 and I am pretty sure I have already experienced my best day ever-and one of my worst days imaginable. You think I am being dramatic? Hear me out.

On January 28th, 2016 I was given a gift. The most amazing gift of love and a future with a man I first fell in love with at 16 years old. Our lives took separate trails but thankfully, the trails twisted and turned until they crossed again. I may have let him slip away 21 years ago but this time he is going on the easy keeper list. 

I am sure you have already guessed that January 28th is the day that goes on the “best day ever” side of the calendar. 

On February 17th, 2016, I suddenly had to say goodbye to my darling Aussie named Luke. Since 2010, I have had to say goodbye to so many of the lives that have tattooed my heart with love and joy, promise and memories.  The uncontrollable emotion and deep sense of loss-loss of joy and hope, loss of promise and future memories-came unexpectedly when stacked against the strong shadows of the many that I had lost before. My heart horse Polo. My first foal Julian.  My very best friend ever and first Aussie, Zack. And on September 21, 2010,  my dad.

You see Luke came to me for a specific purpose. He chose me On October 23, 2012, the day after I held Zack for the very last time. He had such enormous shoes to fill. He came to me to help me heal from the crater that losing my dad had left in my heart. He came to help heal the remnants of all the losses that started in April 2010 with Polo and ended on October 22, 2012 with Zack. And trust me, there were a LOT of losses during those 2 1/2 years.

In the Bible, Luke was a physician-a healer. And my Luke did just that. The problem was that he was unable to complete the job.  So the day I lost Luke, I lost Zack all over again. And Julian. And Polo. And my dad.

I was angry. Angry in a way that was unfamiliar to me. Angry at no one and everyone. Angry at myself that I didn’t do enough. And I did not do a very good job at managing that emotion. I was short fused, snappy, and downright nasty. Picture a Tasmanian devil of negative emotions swirling around in an emotional female body. No one in the path was safe.

To make matters worse, Luke’s passing was not peaceful. It was not something I would ever wish for anyone to experience. It was challenging and unpleasant and traumatic.

I. Was. Angry.

For 5 days I gorged myself on that bitter tasting anger. I didn’t hold back. On Sunday evening after a particularly unpleasant day, I was driving my finance’s boys to their church small group. We were talking about what had been going on the past few days and sharing how we felt about the circumstances and emotions that we were all facing and processing. Just as I was about to start in with another monologue about loss and hopelessness, the eldest son offered a suggestion…

He suggested that I pray about what was going on and how I was feeling.

To say that I was silenced at the suggestion is an understatement. The answer was so crystal clear in that moment that I was blatantly embarrassed that it never crossed my mind. I mean I am a former Sunday School teacher and small group leader! In spite of my late arrival to the obvious,  commit to pray I did.

After I dropped off the boys, I drove to a coffee shop and tucked myself  at a corner table so I could spend some time reading and reflecting.  And having a very over-due conversation with the ultimate healer. 

This morning, for the first time since losing Luke, I felt the need to run. Not want, not desire but need. So run I did. Not from grief. Not from loss. Not from anger. 

I. Just. Ran.

I ran toward love and joy. Toward hope. Toward promise and my future with a loving and forgiving partner-and forever best friend.  

So why am I sharing all of this on a blog about rider fitness? Because during that run, I realized that a complete Athletic Rider is not just about core strength or a stable leg. The ultimate Athletic Rider is about the 4 cornerstones of fitness-physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I look forward to bringing thoughts, inspiration, motivation and education that touch on all the cornerstones.

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I created this poster as a fitness inspiration for my athletic riders. It is 2 years old. I guess Luke knew back then that I would need his healing after he was gone.

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