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A Bittersweet Weekend

I’m getting really good at these late Monday night weekend recaps but today has been a catch up day with work for the studio.

It feels a little weird to write a weekend recap after such a sad and emotional weekend but it also feels weird to only share the highlights and good moments of my life with you guys. I taught yoga on Sunday afternoon after I got home from Florida. I was super emotional when I got home but also looking forward to seeing my students and teaching.

As I started class I told my students, “this is where I am right now,” and proceeded to give them a high-level overview of the course of events this summer/fall and that I’d just returned home from a funeral. While I was really sad, I also felt really grateful for so many things in my life (teaching and the studio being one of them) so I was able to hold my sadness and gratitude in paradox.

I told my students that I felt like they come to my classes because I don’t bullshit them. I show up and teach from where I am that day. And that’s how I want them to show up and practice. We need to love it all and accept it all because we all go through it.

I hope you feel like that in this space too.

Sometimes I start to feel guilty for how much I’ve shared about loss and grief and my feelings this fall but then I stop myself and I decide to keep pressing forward with opening up and sharing.

I hope you can do that for yourself too. If it feels at times overwhelming or impossible or really scary, I can completely relate but keep trying.

About that weekend…here are some photos from it.

I flew on Allegiant for the first time. It’s a low-cost airline with a surprising number of routes all over the country. I discovered last year through the Charlotte Agenda that Allegiant offers several direct flights to Florida from the Concord Regional Airport, just north of Charlotte. One of those was to St. Pete/Clearwater so I decided to give it a go since the Allegiant flight was $188 round trip and American Airlines was over $500. My Allegiant flight would have been even cheaper had I not paid to choose my seats.

I might write a more in-depth review about Allegiant later because I had so many hesitations but a really positive experience.

I headed straight to Clearwater Beach upon arrival in Clearwater/St. Pete on Thursday. I needed to see the ocean.

It was a very gray day so the beach was empty but I was impressed by the wide beaches and white sand. I spent the rest of the day working, taking a yoga class and having dinner with my parents.

Friday passed in a blur of a bit of computer work in the morning followed by an afternoon of family time. We arrived back at the hotel just in time for me to catch my first OrangeTheory class before dinner with my parents.

We walked over to the cutest Thai restaurant down the street from our hotel for dinner.

We shared these steamed pork dumplings.

I convinced my mom that we should share a dinner entree and thank goodness we did! We ordered this amazing panang curry that came with chicken, shrimp and all sorts of mixed veggies with jasmine rice and it was incredible. I couldn’t stop eating it and we came so close to finishing this platter. I love Thai food so much, especially in authentic, sweet places like this.

I set my alarm early with plans to run on Saturday before the memorial service. Instead I slept and ate this pieced together hotel breakfast. I think I was just exhausted because I slept so well all three nights I was in Tampa. Soundly and late.

I postponed my run until mid-afternoon after the service and lunch with family. I was feeling so much anxiety and the run really helped me work through that energy. I ran down to a nature preserve and seeing these gorgeous trees and the water was so grounding.

I got showered and re-dressed in under 20 minutes for part two of our day. We chartered a boat at sunset to say goodbye to my uncle.

I can’t even explain to you the feelings and emotions but I was so grateful to be there beside my mom for it.

The sunset was absolutely perfect and we were able to watch the sun dip down into the horizon before the burial at sea.

After disembarking from the boat, we walked over to a nearby restaurant that was a favorite of my uncle for dinner. I had a grilled grouper sandwich and kettle chips while we shared conversation and memories.

I said goodbye to my parents on Sunday morning as they had to drive home early to pick up their pups from the kennel. I had some time to spend so I went for a quick run to clear my head and heart before packing up and heading out.

I swung by Whole Foods for a late breakfast and was bummed to find they didn’t have a breakfast bar but had a muffin, green smoothie and coffee to hold me over until I got to Charlotte.

A quick flight and a couple of crossword puzzles later and I was back home.

And I am so freaking happy to be here. I’ve been hugging my girls and my love extra tight and talking to my family a lot. Times like this really snap you back into the reality of what’s important in these short lives of ours.

So much love to all of you, no matter where you are right now.

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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • El December 12, 2016, 11:07 pm

    Thank you for being real, for sharing. Life is so full of joy and sadness, triumph and defeat. The realness, I think, helps people to connect. None of us are alone when we are willing to share the valleys of life.

  • Karlie Kashat December 13, 2016, 7:43 am

    Sharing your grief helps us all feel better about our own, life is a constant series of ebbs and flows, and you will come out on the other side stronger. Thanks for always being authentic. Looks like a beautiful weekend, xx

  • maya December 13, 2016, 8:35 am

    Thank you Jen, for keeping it real and teaching us, through sharing your pain, how to remain authentic in this world modelled on glossy magazines and seelctivelly perfect social media posts. My husband’s uncle also died this Monday, and my mum in law was very sad. But she was over here for the weekend, and we decorated a tree and laughed and she was able to get a bit of a break from a very sad situation. For you, even though death is a part of life, this was a very hard year for you. I hope from my heart of hearts that you now had your fill of sadness and loss, and that life (and death!) will give your family a break for a long while. xo

    • Jen DeCurtins December 26, 2016, 9:30 am

      Hi Maya – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your comment. The paradox of holding pain and sadness while also going on with living and enjoying life is something that is difficult but so important in times of grieving and loss. It’s been a practice for me. Sending you lots of love this holiday season.

  • Linda December 13, 2016, 10:10 am

    Jen, as always I so admire your openness and transparency. It has been a tough year for you and your family, and balancing out joy and sorrow and everything life brings our way, makes us who we are.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 5:46 pm

      Thank you Linda. It’s been a sad season of life but I am also so grateful for all the things that are good and bring me joy. One of the things that helps me feel grounded is talking about my grief and sadness even while I have happy and good things going on. I have learned and am learning so much through it.

  • Carolyn December 13, 2016, 10:14 am

    Jen,

    Without going into too much personal detail, I just wanted to share that I too lost someone this summer after a long struggle with addiction. It has been….incredibly hard for me this fall. Your posts about working through grief, your willingness to be open, has made me feel so much less alone, and I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate this space so, so much for helping me get through this. Sending love.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 5:44 pm

      Hi Carolyn,

      I am so sorry to hear that you have also been impacted by this terrible disease. It’s truly heartbreaking and senseless. It has been difficult for me to continue to open about my journey through grief but it’s so much of a part of where I am right now that I just have to. Otherwise, I feel completely crazy and like I’m just going through the motions. Sending you love and healing. xx

  • tara December 13, 2016, 12:52 pm

    i hope this won’t sound weird but what a lovely burial service. that sunset looks amazing. this is exactly what i would want. there is something about watching a sunset at the beach that for me is unlike anything else. it sounds like you all honored him well.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 5:43 pm

      Not weird at all and thank you so much for the comment and kindness. xx

  • Julie December 13, 2016, 4:21 pm

    Sounds like a lovely send-off for your uncle. Sending hugs & prayers for you & your family.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 5:42 pm

      Thank you Julie. <3

  • Bess Harrington Carter December 14, 2016, 8:16 am

    Been thinking about you lately, Jen! My heart goes out to you during this tough time, but you are always able to handle challenging times with such strength! Lots of love to you and your family. Maybe we can get together after the holidays, I would love to see you! xo, Bess

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 5:40 pm

      Hi Bess – thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I would love to catch up and also to cheers to your marriage! You were a beautiful bride.

  • Julie Running in a Skirt December 14, 2016, 9:11 am

    Hi Jen! I’m so sorry you’ve had such a rough time lately! Lots of prayers for your family.
    I’ve had great Alliegent experiences too. You can’t beat it for last minute flights.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 5:42 pm

      Hi Julie – thank you so much.

      I now wish Allegiant offered flights to more destinations from our area!

  • LeeAnn December 14, 2016, 1:03 pm

    Jen – sending love to you and gratitude for you. 2016 has been a challenging one for me. It helps to know that I am not the only one struggling a bit. Thank you for sharing you with us. <3

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 5:39 pm

      Hi LeeAnn – thank you so much. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a challenging year as well but I’m trying to remember that in every challenge we are led to change and growth. Praying we’ve both found some this year. Much love to you.

  • erin December 28, 2016, 5:41 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing that, Jen. xoxoxo

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