better off under the umbrella….

I wrote this post  last week after a very bad day…


Tonight’s workout was hard, I had a bad day and could not focus at all. Poor Lindsey found me on the tread mill and one look at her and the tears fell, we didn’t talk I just ran with the tears running down my face, dancing with sweat and doing my best, but she new I was having a tough time. Some days are just like that, some days test you. I ran hard, trying to outrun my fears, my frustrations and my pain. I ran 3 minutes going faster than I ever had and on a little tiny bit of an incline.  Lindsey and I would spend the next hour doing core work and upper body. Here is what happens when the gym is crowded, we end up having to scrounge for what we need….free weights, exercise balls, mats, steps, you name it we walk around like hunter and gatherers of pain swiping equipment.  I groan as Lindsey comes back with a 12lb weight…”wimpy boys wouldn’t give up the 7lb ones”…ugh, great.

We work hard, but we also laugh hard and try as I may to “plank” it always turns into my bum sky high in the air doing a some yoga thing called downward dog. We both end up laughing hysterically in a heap on the floor. I will get it, eventually! It makes the time go so fast and in the end I am a sweaty mess, and I am already feeling the soreness seep into my body but the hard work comes easy when you share it with a friend. I think it everyday so I will write it every chance I get. Lindsey is changing my body, my spirit and making a huge difference in how I walk through the world. I adore her.

Friendship is on the forefront of my mind and tonight, I am reminded of how delicate and fragile it can be. How it can change in a moment. Shannon gets all the donation information for Recycled Doggies and then she forwards the information to me.  People have been beyond generous with the 5k so far and I am hoping we can raise even more! I heard the “ping” coming from my iphone and when I saw the name on the donation for the 5k, I could not help getting a smile and when I responded and told Shannon it was from my best friend from high school the memories that flood my heart are a welcome reminder of how much I have been inspired by my dear friend D’Anna.

This is a bittersweet post to write so many wonderful memories but  there is also much pain associated with the time I am writing about.  Oh what a time D’Anna and I had in high school, all the band trips, games, the notes passed in between classes (we actually had a notebook we passed back and forth as to not get caught!), and the crazy adventures we got ourselves into without even trying She has seen me at my worst, at my best, when I have been lost and when I have found trouble, somehow always managing to be there. The day they called me to the guidance counselors office to tell me that if I did not do something about my weight I could potentially be removed from my home, they had called her into the office first to be there to try and calm me down, to have some support.   I went to the “fat dr” where they put me on meds that made me sleepy, too sleepy to eat, too sleepy to do much of anything, but in the mornings before the pills grabbed me by the ankles and pulled me down she would show up at my house early and we would walk, walk ,walk and walk some more…we must have walked  hundreds of miles together on the flood wall that surrounds our sleepy town. After high school we both went away to college and there were jobs and relationships, marriage and children and life got busy but we have always stayed in touch. She is and always will be family.

Years later, I got the call late one morning at work from D’Anna’s sister, there had been an accident, a horrible accident. Her vehicle was hit head on by another car going 120 mph the wrong way up an exit ramp. The boys in the other car were drunk, high and the two in the front seat died on impact. The details I can still hear in my mind, every one of them and it still makes me nauseous to think about. I don’t remember the frantic drive (except that I got a speeding ticket) to West Virginia where she was air lifted to a level 2 trauma center after being turned away at another hospital that could not help her, the injuries were just too bad. I remember talking to her surgeon (Dr. Lovejoy, no kidding that was his name!) when we arrived, his words a scrambled, disconnected blur of things I could not comprehend or believe. He prepared us for the worst.  Life support for days upon days. Surgeries, tests, pain, pins, rods and prayers, I remember making many deals with God…if only she would be okay. It was a miracle in every sense of the word, she fought hard, she never gave up, her spirit unbreakable, her faith unwavering. During the time of her recovery my Dad passed away. I will never forget this moment as long as I live, standing by the casket, greeting people at the funeral home for his visitation, simply exhausted. The moment that I thought I just can’t do this one second longer , I looked  to the back of the room, and in the doorway with her walker and battered body that was still healing stood  D’Anna, there to rescue me yet again. Just stubborn enough to not listen to anything but her heart as she drove over 3 hours to get there. In that moment I  found the strength to take the next step forward holding her hand tightly in mine.

Today and everyday she continues to be an inspiration, a blessing to the whole world actually, with her infectious smile, her spirit and her sheer determination to overcome a devastating tragedy moving forward to lead an amazing life. I love her so much and don’t tell her nearly as often as I should how much she means to me.  In high school my nickname for her was Mary Poppins and to this day we still sign our cards, emails and letters with a M.P or simply a scrawled umbrella…a symbol that seems odd, but a symbol of our friendship and all we have been through. I think of her when I feel sorry for myself,  when I hate my body, when I think I got a raw deal in life. When I need a reminder of just what is possible when you are filled with unbreakable determination and it is that determination I will carry with me as I make my way through the next several months.



At High School Graduation 1989




  1. Amber Arthur says:

    Lori, I had no idea about what happended to D’anna. I am relieved to hear that she survived that horrible accident! Being a friend of yours in high school…I had no idea what happened with the couselor. I am sorry more of us weren’t there for you. Your friends liked you for you, for what was on the inside not on the outside. D’anna is truly an ispiration. How lucky are you that she was such a true friend and you kept that friendship over the years! You are a strong person Lori and I know you will accomplish your goals!!! Keep your chin up!! Best of Luck!! Amber

    • dogl2324 says:

      Hi Amber!

      Yes, she is doing so so well! I was very blessed in high school to have true friends like you that liked me and could see through the physical and never let my size change how you treated me. Thank you for that Amber, it was what got me through. I am so glad you are reading the blog, it means a lot to me! Big hugs- Lori

  2. Shera says:

    as I so often say after reading your blog, “WOW”! <3

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