Learning to Heal through Faith and Fitness: Lindsey Demetro

If you ask Lindsey Demetro what keeps her strong from day to day, she’ll tell you it’s through her faith, family, friends and fitness. Aspects that have always been important to her… but have taken on a whole new, deeper meaning for her in recent years. Lindsey shares her story of love, loss, learning to heal and finding a new normal…

“Fitness has been a part of my life since I was a child. I ran most of my life; from the time I was in elementary school, until about 4 years ago. Years of distance running ultimately developed heel spurs from having plantar fasciitis, so I’ve had to supplement with other forms of cardio. While I fell in love with weight lifting in college, I began lifting more a few years ago.” In addition to weight training, Lindsey loves walking, hiking, kayaking, and cycling… preferably outdoors! Residing in North Carolina with her 12-year old son and 15-year old daughter, Lindsey (loves) the outdoors. “I just love North Carolina; it has the beaches and the mountains.”  Living in the country, Lindsey lives only minutes away from mountains, state parks, and hiking trails.

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“My life revolves around my kids. Both of my children are extremely active; my daughter swims and my son plays basketball. My son even works about twice a week with me at the gym.” On the weekends, Lindsey will try and make time to hike 10-12 miles, a sport that she loves for multiple reasons. “Climbing to the top of a peak challenges you physically. Reaching the top is exhilarating and a such a feeling of accomplishment. It’s also extremely peaceful. When I’m at the top of a mountain, I feel closest to God.”

Not only has hiking has been a physically challenging sport for Lindsey, she’s also found it to be very therapeutic since the passing of her husband in December 2016. “After Travis passed, I began hiking by myself. I’d go off almost every day. I didn’t want to go to the gym, mostly because I wasn’t ready to face people saying those dreaded words, ‘I’m so sorry for your loss’.” Even through a time of grief, Lindsey just wanted people to treat her normal. So, she began hiking alone. “When I’d reach the top of the mountain, I would pray and cry. I’d sit, talk, cry, and let my emotions out.”

Married for 15 years, sickness was not a foreign concept to Lindsey and Travis’s marriage. “When we met, I knew that Travis had a heart condition… but you can’t help who you fall in love with.” Since the young age of 19 Travis suffered multiple heart attacks, 3 open heart surgeries, and countless hospital visits. Over the years, Travis’s conditioned worsened until he was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure in 2011. “Hospital visits and ambulance rides became our new normal.” In June 2016, Travis had a heart attack that almost killed him. That August he received a heart pump to strengthen his body and prepare him for transplant. Unfortunately, less than 3 months later the pump failed and Travis lost his battle on December 25, 2016.

Before his condition took a turn for the worst, Travis and Lindsey loved to go camping. “That was our life, every weekend for 8 years.” He enjoyed being active such as going fishing or hunting. He still partook in those activities up until the very end.  He once told me “if I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die doing something I enjoy.” But it got to the point Travis couldn’t leave the bed some days. “I had a lot of guilt going to the gym. I was perfectly healthy, and here Travis couldn’t even get out of bed. I would choose to not go if he was feeling bad, and simply lay in bed with him.

“Travis never let his sickness define him. He was a man of faith. However, I wasn’t as close to God. I felt I didn’t have the time. Before he passed, Travis asked our children and myself to please get into the Word and have a relationship with God. So when he died, that’s what I did; I dove into the Bible. I felt like I lost a part of myself and didn’t know how to deal with the pain. But with two kids, I knew I needed to keep going. When I feel like I’m struggling, reading the Bible helps.”

In the late summer of 2017, someone special crossed Lindsey's path a few times. “Scott had kind eyes, and was genuinely the first guy that really caught my interest since Travis passed away.” While their first encounter outside a local sandwich shop was brief, their paths crossed again. “I wasn’t looking for anybody, so I didn’t expect to find him… but he’s been a blessing. I can’t help but feel that Travis had his hand in finding Scott… because he has studied the Bible, and with that comes wisdom and knowledge. Scott definitely has a close relationship with God, something that Travis had hoped I would have one day. Scott will read the Bible to me while I’m cooking. He doesn’t want to replace my children’s father, but he hopes to be a good role model for them. He’s gone to almost every swim meet, basketball game, has helped me get my kids to practice, and even helps my kids with their school projects.

“It takes a special man to come into a broken family that has lost a wonderful husband and father. I still have my days of struggle, not sure that will ever go away. But God has blessed me with a man that has fit right into our family.”

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Scott shares in Lindsey’s enjoyment for fitness and the outdoors, and even challenges her to try new sports such as cycling. “Cycling works different muscles and it’s challenging. I’m hoping to build some big calves! If I didn’t have fitness in my life, I wouldn’t be as healed as I am. Fitness has definitely helped me in my healing process.” In addition to fitness, family and faith, Lindsey also enjoys a few other hobbies. “I love traveling, listening to live music, and going to local breweries to sip on some tasty craft beer. We enjoy spur of the moment weekend trips to places like Asheville.”

Lindsey embodies the meaning behind ‘living life to its fullest’.  “You never know when it’s your time to go. This experience has really opened my eyes to faith and brought me closer to God; if I didn’t have my faith, I’m not sure where I’d be. Death has changed me, it’s made me a better person. I hate that it took losing my husband to see what the true meaning of life is all about,  but now I just want to do ‘simple’, does that make sense?”