I won’t attempt to duplicate what others have already said so well on Facebook, on blogs, on instagram, on the great big world wide web. While others have been talking about this runner who so tragically died on her morning run last Monday, I have stayed quiet. I’ve been quiet not because the story didn’t touch me, not because my heart didn’t ache for her family, not because I didn’t realize it could be me, but because I just couldn’t go there. Last Monday, I was already grieving. I was grieving for my aunt who also died too soon. I was already grieving for a husband who lost his wife. I was already grieving for three children who will grow up without their mother.
My heart could not go there.
I don’t know why it’s taken a year for all of this to catch up to me. I don’t know why the anniversary of my aunt’s death and the approaching anniversary of my father-in-law’s death has left me feeling fragile, vulnerable, and scattered. I’m having a hard time lately. The fog of last year is finally lifting. I’m finally becoming aware of the loss my family has experienced. Since Christmas, I’ve felt myself unravelling. The magnitude of losing two people I treasured so closely to one another is finally feeling real.
On Sunday I ran along the Potomac River. I thought about my aunt. I thought about my father-in-law. I thought about Meg. It was a heavy run. I didn’t feel empowered or inspired. I just felt sad.
The running world came together over the weekend the same way the running world always comes together when life takes a tragic turn. We run together. We support each other. We lift each other up. In so many ways, running has saved me this year. It’s given me purpose and drive. It’s provided motivation to keep moving. It’s given me success. It’s left me feeling accomplished. It’s made me smile when so much of my world has felt sad.
After a year of living in a fog of sadness, a realization has set in. Maybe that’s why all of this is feeling so raw and new lately. My aunt, my father-in-law, and Meg, they could all be us. What happened to them could be our life story.
This realization also brings with it hope. It brings with it purpose and drive. It brings with it motivation to keep moving. I will keep doing what I always do. I will keep running.