Blog Takeover-From Tragedy to Triumph one Burpee at a time...Jess Fagan

For our 3rd installemt of the BLOG TAKEOVER we were approached by West Hartford client Jessica Fagan who volunteered to contribute to the series. Thank You Jess for your very honest, not always easy to read account of how WIP entered your life. Your strength is an inspiration and your positivity is a beautiful tribute to the life you shared with Joe. 

Thank You,

MK and Laura

Tragedy to Triumph….One Burpee at a Time.

When my husband passed away in May 2014 after a year and a half long battle with Lymphoma, I was stuck;  stuck between not feeling ready to take one more step forward without him by my side, but also feeling the push to take all the steps in the world forward to honor such a special love and life.  I knew I needed something more; something that would urge me to get out, get moving, and get on with the positive, happy, blessed life my husband so desperately wanted me to find.  In his absence, I found myself 30 years old, lost, and wondering how I would pick up the pieces to move forward.  The answer seemed simple; find something that not only would help support me emotionally and mentally, but also physically.  So, I set out to find it, and I found it in WIP.  

I was home on leave from work and my neighbor, fellow WIPster, Jessica Clancy encouraged me to try a class with her.  On day one, I will admit I was nervous of what was to come, but from the moment I stepped into the gym I was hooked.  Despite the fact that I could barely move my legs for days, I kept going back for more.  I was not only hooked on the almost instantaneous changes that I began to see in my body, but perhaps even more hooked on the euphoria I felt after each and every work out.  Instead of feeling out of shape, out of place, and intimidated, I felt supported, encouraged, and welcomed.  

I have always been an active person.  Through Joe’s year and a half long illness, between trips back and forth to the hospital for chemotherapy treatments, doctor’s appointments, and New York City to Sloan Kettering; I somehow found just a little time to ensure I stayed active.  I would wake up before work and quickly power through a workout I found on Pinterest before Joe woke up, just so I wouldn’t miss one minute with him.  When he was in the hospital for weeks on end (on the 8th floor!), what did I do…I took the stairs…each and every time. I did this not only for me, but for him as well.  I knew I needed to stay healthy to be the best caregiver I could be.  

When Joe was gone, I no longer needed to take the stairs as a form of exercise, but I needed to find a way to tackle the stairs of my new life.  Every time I wanted to turn around and go back to the bottom of the staircase, I felt compelled to push forward and keep climbing upwards.  WIP helped me with that; with realizing my true potential in life.  Even though my life was now vastly different, it felt comforting knowing I had one space that I could go for an hour to put all of my pain aside and focus on one thing; myself. During my workouts, I pushed myself to limits I never had thought possible and each time I left feeling refreshed, enlightened, supported, and ready to face the days ahead.  As I started to become stronger physically, I also started to notice a strength arising in my personal life.  Each time I choose a heavier weight or squeeze in just one more rep, I can’t help but feel proud of all I have accomplished.

I am a Work In Progress physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I am proud to say I am in the process of overcoming what has proven to be an insurmountable challenge, but I have done so with strength, dignity, and perserverance….one kettlebell swing , one burpee, one box jump, one push up at a time.

Thank you to the entire WIP family for allowing me to believe in myself and for consistently pushing me forward in all aspects of my life.

Mary Kate Doyle