Suicide, heroin overdoses, cancer. This year so far seems to be the year of exits. Is it just because I am getting older and life is just happening at a more expedited pace? Or is everyone just getting sicker and sadder needing to depart from this place sooner than planned? I have no idea, but what I do know is that it is wicked sad. I am wicked sad. I am tired of grief. Weary of grieving and feeling teary eyed. I am drained from worrying about whether cancer will return in my own body because I just want to drink wine and eat ice cream and stop the madness of concern that every non organic, non clean food item that enters into my mouth and down my throat is an irresponsible decision that will affect my life later down the road.

Gretchen died. A vibrant and disciplined woman I had the pleasure of working out behind for well over four years died after an almost year long battle with serious cancer that started in her breast and had a party on her bones and everywhere else. She was given not more than a few months and said a loud and bad ass Fuck You All making it to her niece’s graduation, I’m guessing her personal carrot, a place to get to, a goal to make it past. Strong heart from all of that working out and eating clean kept her heart alive and strong while the rest of her faded away around her.

Gretchen was young and healthy and I loved working out around her as she had the most incredible hair, wore the coolest workout clothes and looked great in them. She was one of my role models for increasing weights as she was always using the heaviest weights and while I was recovering from my surgeries I squatted and chest pressed in awe of her ability. She was a pint sized powerhouse, had the kindest of smiles and a loving warmth in her eyes. Some may even call her a gentle spirit. She was the type of person who you would describe as someone who wouldn’t hurt a fly.

When she first got her diagnosis I offered her some of my stash of medical marijuana stash. She was in a lot of pain and I recognized her descriptions from when my brother was first diagnosed. This is when she likely thought that all of the poison and protocols that would be offered as the doctor version of Hope in a Jar had the magic outcome the drugs claimed. She looked me square in the eye and told me she had been sober for years and didn’t do drugs. This was before. Before the pain got so bad that years of sobriety likely went out the door because all of that sobriety didn’t really help her health in the end. I hope she had a nice big glass of Brunello before she was too sick to drink it, I hope she had a triple scoop banana split from Newport Creamery and a big fat medically prescribed joint as she faced her very uncertain future.

All of her yoga, her weight training, her kindness, her clean eating, her light- though it mattered to the people who were lucky to know her, it mattered greatly to her many siblings and nieces who loved her, it didn’t matter to Gretchen because in the end, she died. Another superchick gone. I don’t know about you but I am fucking sick and tired of trying to see the bright side of things. After my workout today with my fellow chicks who all knew her and worked out with her too, I am guessing the majority of us are having a big glass of red tonight and probably a hot fudge sundae because all of this is out of our control. For those of us who think we have some control over the simple fact that not one of us gets out alive, we are kidding ourselves surely. So tonight if you see me out and about, I’m the one with the sassy chip on my Proseco glass. I am honoring the chicks we have lost this week by doing what I want. A glass of bubbly, a kickass pizza and a hot fudge sundae. To Gretchen. May your bright light be as lovely bad ass wherever you have landed and may we continue to feel your presence all the days of our lives.

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self proclaimed lover of all things beauty, business + lifestyle, I write because it feels good.