I woke up to gray skies and a steady stream of continued rainfall. It wasn’t what I wanted to see first thing in the morning. Certainly not, first thing in the morning of my last 20-miler. I silenced the alarm and rolled over in bed — AWAY from the window. It was sort of game with Mother Nature. “I’ll close my eyes for 1 hour”, I suggested, “and, when I open them, please make the rain be gone.”
But Mother Nature was not playing along. An hour later the rain was coming down even harder. I went downstairs for a cup of coffee and returned to the warmth of my bed to send out a few text message of inquiry. Was ANYONE running today? Or was I the only crazy one? There was no response. Apparently, everyone is sleeping in today.
In desperation, I tried to move my hair appointment from Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning but to no avail. So, I resigned myself to running… as planned… only IN the rain.
I was struggling to gather some enthusiasm as I located all of my long run garb when myPhone began singing a familiar tune. It would appear that I was NOT the only crazy one willing to run in the rain. I was thrilled at the prospect of having company for the 1st 12 miles of my run.
Starting out, it would appear that we were the ONLY crazies out that day. But as the time and miles passed, we saw more and more runners and cyclists out there with us. Everyone was bright and cheery — including me. It was so refreshing.
The sun even peaked out from time to time just to see what we were doing. We had a hard time pretending not to notice. You know, we’ve been having a lot of WET these past many days. I didn’t even try to pretend that I didn’t see it leave and the rain return.
But, by then, I’d run the majority of my miles with company. I bid farewell to my friend, changed into a dry shirt and jacket, and returned to the road.
When it was all said and done, I’d run my 20+ miles. 20.8 miles to be exact. I returned home, to my hustle and bustle, a whole lot worse for wear. Yes, I was hobbling a bit, thanks to a few bloody blisters. I was also running seriously late for guitar lessons with YaYa. But…I got it done: The long run, guitar, and a load of laundry.
Just the other day, I received a message that I am compelled to share. In chain-like fashion, this message comes from Japan, is translated and passed along. It is a plea for help — in the form of prayers.
This *is* real. The original message originated from a family friend of one the instructors at my yoga studio.
I urge you, to pray for these people and their families. There is no telling what fallout this selfless action will lead to.
In as much as the grieving process is not a linear process, the process for children is far more complex than it is in adults. The developmental stage a child is in directly affects how they will experience loss. Furthermore, as they progress through the developmental stages, they must process the loss through a new set of filters so-to-speak.
I remember when this was described to us in our support group sessions. The prospect of my child revisiting the raw stage of loss every few years was less than thrilling. And this was before I knew how variable my own grieving process would be.
This concept of developmental grieving has peaked in this past year. YaYa, who is now 12 years old, must certainly be a prime candidate for the Pre-Teens and Early Adolescents stage of the game. Other than staying aware, I’m not sure how else to prepare him or me for what could be ahead of us.
In the past week, I muddled through my days with nothing more than briefly checking in on YaYa’s state of mind. Homework and baseball seemed to have him totally consumed. It remained this way until Friday night. While out to dinner, it became clear that indeed I was not the only one processing the anniversary of his father’s death. Just as with me, this year, YaYa had a different set of questions from before.
He wanted to know:
· If Papa had beat the his Cancer with treatments, why didn’t his Dad have treatments for his Cancer?
· Why was the Cancer caught so late?
· Did the doctors do something wrong?
They were all great questions for which there was not right answer. I did my best to provide honest but neutral responses — responses which I am not sure that I was capable of giving 4 years ago. I told him that I had asked myself many of the same questions in the past years, how I had second-guessed decisions that we had made when the various aches and pains had arose through the years, and how I had gone through all of his father’s medical records looking for these answers – to no avail.
It wasn’t much, but it was all I had. In response, YaYa looked me in the eyes and, from across the table, he gave me a warm knowing smile. Then, we clinked glasses and gave thanks for the year behind us, as well as the year ahead.
And I, at the end of a particularly challenging week, gave thanks for this incredible young man. Young, yet wise. Gentle, but strong. Fearful, and also brave. It’s not always easy but he is a good reminder that it’s definitely worth it.
Once again, I have allowed myself to get overwhelmed with having to do it all — but NEVER quite being able to get it ALL done. I experience this feeling more often than I care to admit. My house never seems to be clean, the laundry never finished, bills left unpaid, yard work in need of attending to, broken items to be fixed, and on and on. I know that I am not alone on this. But sometimes, it cripples me – and I get nothing done. Nothing at all.
Stronger still is a bit of shame for still (after a 4 year of adjustment period) not being able to get myself and YaYa to our various commitments. I hold my breath waiting for the reminder that I was the one who signed up for these things. Always, we are running late for school. Always, I am left begging other parents to get MY son to football, basketball, or baseball practices and games. ALWAYS… *sigh* The list goes on.
It is in these moments that I feel all alone. I think back to times where, perhaps in the middle of a big argument, I thought that I could do it all…ALONE. Today, I know better. Today, not only do I know that I cannot do it all, at least not well, I also know that I don’t want to.
I am a people person. I thrive on communication. In fact, my absence from FB and Twitter has left me starving for input. What’s more, tomorrow I will be hitting the pavement for 20 more lonely miles. Honestly, I’m tired of it. I think about how I dreamed running Boston would be. How my whole family would be there with me, cheering, taking in the sights, sharing in this dream come true. But alas, now that I’ve finally qualified, my people have moved on. It’s kind of sad.
I want to believe that life (MY life) is good. But these moments of futile thinking keep cropping up.
Soon, perhaps in the morning, the rain is going to stop falling, the sun is going to come out, and I am going to see things with a lot more clarity. Then, I will see that I am NOT alone in this world. Until then, TGIF.
It’s been a long week.