A Fresh Wave of Grief

28 Oct

23 days until the marathon.
23 days until I was supposed to run the marathon following my plan.

I had a plan.

It involved running my first marathon alongside the guy who coaxed me through 4 ultramarathons.
We’d stay with his parents in his hometown. We’d run. And he’d keep me laughing through all 26.2.

And then, in February, the dream ended.  One night, he emailed me about the marathon.  About our plan.  The next day, his family was making funeral arrangements.  And I flew to Philly and I ran 18 miles until I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t think, but I could still feel. Because you can’t run away from that.  And I was dry-eyed at the funeral.  Maybe that was the point.

And I made a new plan. Run part of the Philly marathon course in July with my friends. That way, I’d deal with any emotions preemptively before the marathon.  Get them out of the way.  Put some space between the funeral run and the marathon run.

Instead, it was 102 degrees.  Certainly not running weather. In fact, I’m pretty sure we were the only people besides the homeless out on the streets.  It was the kind of weather where you can’t think straight after about 5 minutes, you know you  need to seek shade and A/C, but your mind can’t process how to find it.  We climbed the Rocky steps and I remember thinking “I can’t run this marathon” but that may have been because I was imagining running in 102 degree heat.

So, as of right now, there is no plan.  Plans seem to get broken.  Better to go unplanned.

Plans will always change.  Bad things will happen.  Grief will need to be dealt with.  We can choose to do it graciously or while grumbling.

When I run, I coach myself through the pain.  I’ve learned that trying to ignore pain, trying to pretend it is not there is impossible. The more I try not to think about the pain, the more I think about not thinking about the pain.  I end up thinking about the pain.  So when I run, I try to embrace the pain. I think about where it might be coming from and if its possible for me to change it.  And if I can’t, I embrace it. I accept it, make it welcome, and hope it decides on a very short stay. And then I keep running.

That’s the way I handle grief, too.  I accept it, make it welcome (albeit, begrudgingly) and hope it decides on a very short stay.  And then I keep running.




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