DeeEverything was going along as usual in my early morning rush to get going, giving instructions to the people that help with the ranch and petting the animals goodbye for the day. A quick look at my computer sent my day crashing down to paralysis and one-pointed focus. All the ”important chores” instantly fell away while precise vision, disbelief and anger moved in. My friend and client was found murdered that morning.

How is this possible? Is it possible? No, it’s not possible. As I look back over my reaction from an observer point of view, I noticed a stiffness in my body, inability to speak, while my eyes were reading the news, my brain had not caught up yet. It felt like a delayed reaction between my eyes and my brain, then my body. It felt like slow motion, happening to someone else. All of this took place within 60-90 seconds, although looking back it seemed so much longer. I thought this must be the way loss travels towards reality and acceptance. And I was a long way from acceptance.

Dee Ropers and I initially had a client/trainer relationship that grew into a twice weekly sharing of our lives as the workout proceeded. I didn’t know many of Dee’s friends well; my relationship with her was through the gym and my monthly women’s meetings. She always asked thoughtful and seeking questions, giving framework for our discussion topic to help us get started while always adding her sweet, yet firm beliefs to help us stay on track. Dee asked us to dig deeper by sharing her own vulnerability through the many losses in her life.

My week seemed so strange without Dee and “Jazzy, the Purse Dog” showing up at the gym. She had just shared how happy she was with her classes and she looked forward to visiting her family for Thanksgiving. She was particularly thrilled that she could switch to a morning workout this week. Her “last of the day workouts” weren’t as energetic as she liked, however, she never missed. Her health and fitness were extremely important to her. Her spirit, her energy I still feel. I know that will never go away. Goodbye, my friend, you are missed.

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