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Working It Out: A Journey of Love, Loss, and HopeWorking It Out: A Journey of Love, Loss, and Hope
Abby Rike
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LEARNING OF THE WRECK THAT KILLED HER ENTIRE FAMILY

I'd been told that the police were notified of an erratic driver traveling over 100 miles per hour and were en route to get him off the road when the wreck occurred. He'd veered into Rick's lane and hit them head on. I learned that the police arrived on the scene mere seconds after the collision, and Officer Pirtle, in a testament to his goodness, assured me that my family's death had been instant. And that is what I believe. I knew they were gone; I knew where they went. I knew that even if there was pain involved, it was very limited and then they were at peace. That is all I needed to know. Luckily, God saved me from actually seeing the vehicles and etching that scene in my mind forever.

My last image of Macy is of her hugging herself in front of my car, telling me that she loved me. I can still visualize Rick standing by our counter and Caleb at peace in his carrier. That is what I remember. Some people may need the closure that comes from viewing their loved ones one final time, but for me, that would've spurred nightmares for the rest of my life.

 

DECIDING TO AUDITION FOR "THE BIGGEST LOSER"

I was at a point where I thought Okay. I've failed. I've tried. Nothing's working. I thought that maybe if I physically felt better, emotional health would follow. My choice to apply for The Biggest Loser was never about aesthetics. It was certainly not my desire to stand on a scale in a sports bra and spandex with my weight blaring for the entire world to see. It was the antithesis of everything I'd done up to that point. The show was not private. The show would not allow me to pretend that everything was fine. And I was convinced that the tender parts of me needed protection; I wanted to close the door and stay inside.

I had to come to grips with the fact that my cocoon was not the safe place. The cocoon was the suffocating place, the place where my vicious cycle continued and I asked Why is there no light? Why am I stuck here? without ever actually finding an answer. The cocoon was tight and uncomfortable, not safe and inviting — a trap, not a haven. And the more I wrapped myself in layers and layers of protective coating, the harder it was to emerge from that false sense of security. It was not until later that I realized a cocoon is not a sweet escape from life. It is the absence of life.

 

SOME THINGS ARE WORSE THAN DEATH

For most Biggest Loser contestants, death is the persuasive factor; they fear that they'll die if action is not taken to reverse the damage done to their bodies from years—in some cases, a lifetime—of obesity. That is what made me different. In my case, the scary thing was to continue living out my days in the mindless, emotionless, purposeless state in which I'd been living. Some things are worse than death.

 

LEARNING TO LIVE AGAIN

People ask me, "How did you survive? How did you get up again?" The truth is that it is only through God's grace that I press forward. I choose to accept His love and strength and hope that He is able to use this terrible tragedy for good. After the crash, I could have wallowed in self-pity. I could have been mad at God, mad at the man who did this, or just mad at the world in general. Many people have even told me they wouldn't blame me if I did. But hatred, anger, and bitterness are not going to bring my family back. Feeling sorry for myself is not going to make my life count. If I had chosen to go down that path, I may as well have been in the van.

 

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