Monday, June 28, 2010

And then, I took a step...

I really wrestled with that last post. I didn't know what to say, how much to share, how much to keep to myself. I didn't know whether I should write it at all. Before I hit "publish" I called my brother and asked if he was okay with me posting this.

Ultimately, I decided, I just wanted to be honest. Before my mom died, I had planned to get back to blogging and training and blogging about training, and all the peaks, valleys, pitfalls and discoveries that happen along the way. I have never been through anything as utterly life-changing as this, and it has impacted absolutely everything about me and my plans. I couldn't write about the next months of training and hard work without writing about my mom and how much her sudden absence has effected every aspect of my life. For the most part, "normal" every day activities have resumed. But, really there is no going back to normal after something like this. There is only ache, adjustment, and discovery of what the New Normal means in your life, and learning to live according to that.

It's not yet been two months. Some days, I just don't want to do much of anything. I'm trying to be honest with myself about what I need, without being indulgent, but sometimes I just want to be indulgent, too.

But, still, there is lots to be done. My official marathon training starts in one week, on July 5th and I'll be coached by Josh, aka Speedy Sasquatch. I'm excited and anxious. I have a lot of work to do.

I'm trying not to ascribe meaning to my marathon training and the marathon itself, unnecessarily. But it destroys me to know she won't be there for me at the finish, to tell me how proud she is.

Really, though, as I think about it and organize my thoughts as best I can, I don't think that my planning to run the marathon really had anything to do with anything other than proving to myself that I could do it and do it reasonably well. My mother always was proud of me when I did my best. So, maybe that is the meaning I can ascribe to this now, if it will help me get through those days when Ijustdon'twanna. That this is for me. That this is me doing my best and she would have been proud of that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And then, I fell apart...

I had told myself that once I got through the semester, once I wrapped up final exams and papers and projects, I would be able to focus more throughly on running and blogging. I wasn't happy with myself for slacking off on those things, while trying to manage work and school. I was excited to kick things into high gear, as I built up mileage and strength in preparation for my marathon training.

And then, on April 29th, my mother died.

I called home that morning. She answered the phone, but I could tell something was very wrong. She seemed confused and wasn't making a lot of sense. I told her to put my father on the phone. He told me that he wanted to get her to a hospital, but she didn't want to go. I hung up with my father and called my brother at work. "I think you'd better go home," I told him. I called a car service to take me to Jersey. I called Jeremy and told him I was going to my parent's house and that we were going to take my mother to the hospital. He told me to keep him posted.

When the car service pulled up outside my apartment, I was barely keeping it together. There wasn't any traffic on the 25 minute drive, but it seemed to be taking hours.

The car stopped in front of the house. As I paid the driver, my brother walked up. We walked into the house together, into the kitchen. My father was there. He put his hands up to stop us from going any further.

"She's gone." He said.

Police and EMT's arrived. It was too late. I started making a mental list of all the things that would now never happen.

She would never see my children.
She would never laugh at one of our stupid jokes again.
She would never sing Beatles songs with me again.
She would never call me after a race, to ask me if I still had all my toenails.
She would never call just to say hello.
She would never celebrate another birthday or holiday.
She would never tell me she loved me again.

The next hours and days are a blur of phone calls, emails, planning... I don't remember much.

I didn't eat or sleep. I had never been so sad or so angry. Nothing seemed real.

Jeremy and my friends rallied around me. In spite of the incredible sadness, I felt incredibly loved.

Somehow, I got through the funeral. I got through the days that followed. I'm pretty sure I even laughed a few times.

I got out of bed every day. I cried when I wanted to. I reached out to whoever would listen. I made myself meals. I did school work. I watched movies. I laced up my sneakers and went for a run. I got through each day, as it came along. I put one foot in front of the other. Every day. The best I could.

The sadness and the anger and the incredible feeling of loss are with me. Every day. But I am beginning to feel a little bit more like myself. I am beginning to laugh with my whole heart again.

While the pain of her absence is immense, so is the joy of all the good memories I have. Every day, I go on with my life and my plans. She won't be there. But I have to do the best I can. For her. And for me.
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