How LaBarre Saved My Life….okay, that sounds a bit dramatic, but when LaBarre’s owner, Lisa Alberino posted her story, it reminded me how LaBarre came into my life at the perfect time and helped me heal.
My name is Heidi Parrish. I moved into the Rose Garden area in the Fall of 2016. I was moving from the Santa Cruz mountains where I had lived for the previous 3 years. Two of those years was with my husband of almost 30 years and one of those years was just me and my dog. I was excited about relocating down the hill to the Rose Garden for the walk-ability factor and closer to civilization. I was in search of a community, as well as, being more accessible to my friends.
The year 2015 was not good to me. In February of that year I lost my father, age 88, whom I was extremely close to. He was my champion and hero. Although his passing was expected, I missed him deeply, but did not let myself truly grieve because I needed to be there for my mom. My sister and I promised our dad we would take over her care, which meant flying to Boise as often as I could. We thought she would for sure die of a broken heart since my parents had been together since they were 17.
Fast forward 8 months later when my husband has a sudden fatal heart attack. And just like that I was a widow, and alone, at the young age of 56. We have 3 sons who were in their 20’s at the time – so all my strength went into comforting them and letting them know I would be ok. The rest of 2015 and most of 2016 my time was spent taking care of business, mine own and my parents which included not only selling my mountain home, but handling the sale of my parent’s beloved lake property.
When I moved in October of 2016, my mother was still physically with us (she hadn’t been herself for years due to dementia/Alzheimer’s). She and I could still connect through music and just looking at each other. Two years to the month after losing my father, my mom decided she was ready to be with him. So, by the time LaBarre opened in July of 2017, I had lost both my parents and my husband over a 2 ½ year period. The 3 people that truly knew me. I carried that grief deep inside me as I did my best to move forward with my life.
In the years leading up to my move, my level of exercise was yoga 1 day a week and a lot of walking. I had heard from a neighbor that a barre studio was going into the Italian Bank location and I was looking forward to trying it out especially since it was walking distance from my home. I had tried barre before, and although I liked that type of exercise, the previous studios left me unexcited to return. About a month after LaBarre opened, I tried the one-week trial and at the end of that week, I became a Founder Member.
I remember my first class, Amber was the instructor and I was in the back next to Jackie, another LaBarre instructor. We were on the floor, probably something ab related, and I notice I had a death grip on the mat. It was tough but I survived. During the early days of LaBarre, all classes were 60 minutes which left time for cool down stretching and savasana. During savasana, one of the early instructors would play this song about angels that always brought tears to my eyes. Tears that needed to be shed. Slowly with every class I took, as my body became stronger, I started to feel more positive and happiness again.
I began to heal the hole left in my heart and soul. Now 5 years later, with the encouragement of Lisa, Sara and the LaBarre community, I am still at it. I have never done any type of single exercise consistently for 5 years before. Through LaBarre I have met some wonderful people. Many I now consider my friends, in fact one of my closest friends I met at LaBarre. I have had the privilege of watching some of my fellow workout mates become amazing instructors. At LaBarre it was not only the class instructors, but also the service technicians who have helped me feel whole again.
Although I am still single, I no longer feel alone or lonely. For this I have several people to thank most importantly my dog, my sons and my growing family. I also thank Lisa, Sara and the LaBarre community.