How I found strength in pain and learned to ride life's most tumultuous waves.
This is the story of a typical 36-year-old woman with two young children and one on the way. She loved her life, family and career, and thought she had it all figured out ... except for the deep, burning feeling that she wasn't running her own race.
She was busy, but she knew she should stop to breathe. She knew she should slow down because nothing else really mattered except love, connection and living each moment in the present.
Her spirit tried to warn her. She saw signs everywhere, but she ignored them. She was too afraid of what she would feel if she slowed down long enough to deal with her emotions.
She kept running ... until November 11, 2008. On that day, she was told that her strong, young, athletic husband had been killed by an accidental injection of anesthesia during a routine shoulder-block procedure.
She watched herself cower down into a deep, dark hole where she could hide from vulnerability. She hated feeling disconnected in rooms full of people she knew loved her. Then, she began to see her life as a movie, and all she had to do was trust and love herself enough to star in it.
I'm Jodie Rodenbaugh and this is my story. It's a story that only I direct. This is my story of feeling stripped of everything I once knew. My experience left me naked and vulnerable, but through that pain, I found strength from a power much greater than myself.
For months after Thor died, I just wanted to run. I wanted to put my tennis shoes on and run so I could feel free and strong again, but I felt trapped in my own body.
I was four months pregnant, but I still needed to grieve. I felt judged, captive and afraid. However, I knew that I had to grow, so I made three promises to my husband:
- I promise to live, which means breaking free from anything that stops me from growing and being happy.
- I will stay a step ahead of our children, remain strong and bring our baby into this world with love.
- I will love like I have never loved before, expressing and receiving love with utter abandon.
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