Trying to Outpace the Grief

22 Mar

It was a hard weekend. When you’re wading through grief, there’s no warning before a fresh wave hits. You can be walking down the street and suddenly tears spring to your eyes or in the grocery store when a certain song comes on and you remember.  Some days you wake up and think “something’s not quite right but I can’t recall what that something is.”  Then it all comes flooding back…

There were five of us. Young, healthy, in our 20’s. All with separate lives and dreams but we came together to run. And surf. And rock climb. But mostly to run.

We swam in the ocean every Valentine’s Day. I learned how to change in  and out of a wet suit in the back of a car while the guys danced around in the frigid Maine air waiting their turn. I learned how to eat a peanut butter sandwich in exactly six bites during a minute long running break. I found a friend who liked Villanova and Cinnamon Toast Crunch as much as I did and who got used to my shorthand – Nova/Vova/Ova and CTC. I learned how to be the lead climber and that bouldering is a lot of hard work.  I learned how to ride a $5,000 triathlon bike aggressively and without fear.

But mostly we ran.

I was never a runner as a kid. I loved biking and fencing and soccer and volleyball (although I was possibly the worst player the world has known). I was a fish – I craved water. But running the mile up my neighborhood hill to please my Dad was a chore. Running the mile for the Presidential Challenge was excruciating. I was never athletic.

And then something happened.  A lot of little somethings.  And the next thing I knew, I was in love with running. We made a good team.  I learned that there are speed demons and there are endurance runners and it is okay to be in the second camp.

So there were 5 of us endurance runners and now there are 3.  And on Tuesday we ran from PPL Park to Citizens Bank Park and then the Lincoln Financial Field.  I thought we were running through the grief.  I was.

But they were running from the grief.  And it can’t be done.  No matter how far or how fast you run, you can’t outpace grief.  Nor should you. If someone’s life meant something to you, you should want to experience the sensations of loss and heartbreak.

Run to memorialize the good.
Run to physically and mentally work through the bad.
Run as reward.
Run as discipline.
But don’t run to stave off grief.  Grief will be waiting for you.  And you will have expended energy for nothing.

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