Tomorrow, March 16, 2015, will be exactly one year since my mom passed away. The word "died" just sounds so harsh. My sister and I are taking the day off work to visit the cemetery to drop off some fresh flowers and just spend time together to reflect. These past couple of days have been a wreck and I've craved distractions - which, luckily, my friends and family have been able to provide me. As morbid and depressing as this may sound, I always find myself flipping back through my old posts to view my various stages of grief. I find it helps me deal with it and gives me perspective on life and the grieving process. Some days are still harder than others...and I've learned that it's okay. Everyone grieves differently. There is no wrong or right way to grieve and most importantly, there is no ending to grief. You don't just "get over it". You just have to cope with it when the emotions just hit you out of nowhere. Recently, many of my friends are dealing with or have dealt with a death in the family. I've been able to reach out to them just like how my friends, who have experienced a loss of a parent, did for me. And I hope I've been a helpful friend. I've also found that running has helped me deal with grief. It took me a while to lace up my shoes and get back out there, but once I did - it provided me such therapeutic relief. It's not just the act of running that has helped me, but the conversations, secrets, laughter, and camaraderie amongst running friends. For those solid miles, I'm reminded that life goes on, all will be okay, and that my mom is still with me. I catch little glimpses of her through the breeze that runs through my ponytail, the sun peeking out through the trees - little reminders that she is still here with me in spirit. And I am okay...for now. If you're dealing with grief, I just want to let you know that you're not alone and I understand your struggle and pain.
Here's my re-post of the blog entry I wrote in September after finally reeling from all the pain:
Marching On....One Step at a Time...
It's been quite some time since I've posted a race recap due to tragedy and the whirlwind that becomes your life when dealing with grief. I don't exaggerate when I say this. My life came to a screeching halt in March. My mom passed away on March 16th. I will never ever be able to erase that memory of her lying lifeless in that bright white room, tubes in her mouth and nose, the constant beeping of all the machines around her, the nurses coming in and out of the room giving us pitiful glances, and my family and I crying into each other's shoulders and consoling one another. I'll never forget that night where I was alone with my mom, slept next to her with her hand in mine, balling my eyes out, and trying to picture myself with no longer having a mom to take care of me, love me, fix me soup when I was sick, help bail me out when I needed any kind of help - all the things that a mom does for her children. It sucked. It still sucks. I miss her everyday and it reduces me to tears every time I think about it. I find myself crying now as I type.
I was in Virginia when I got the news that my mom was admitted to the hospital. I had traveled up there with the kids to visit my cousins, explore the museums and monuments, and to also run the Rock n' Roll D.C. half as part of my 3-pack Tour Pass. I had just picked up my race packet earlier that day and was preparing my gear for race morning when I got the phone call. I slept for a few hours and left early morning to head home. No one told me how bad it was because they wanted me to drive home safely with the kids. I drove straight to the hospital and entered the lobby to see all my family gathered in somber silence - all of them with puffy eyes. I knew it wasn't good and it wasn't. She was dying from septic shock and was in a coma. I stayed with her the night before she passed, kissing her forehead, holding her hand, and telling her over and over how much I love her. I know she heard me.
My life ended too...or it felt like it. It felt like I was in a haze for days, weeks. I couldn't operate like this. I went out for a run. It hurt. I hated it. I was tired, dehydrated. I went out for a run again. It sucked. I cried. I went out for a run again. It was better. I unleashed my pain on the pavement, exhaling grief and inhaling relief. I started running with CREW and Striders again, started making conversations while running again, and I started to smile again. This was truly therapy for me. Running with friends helped me get through the pain.
It's now September - half a year ago since my life was thrown upside down. I'm doing better. I still have my moments where I'm a hot mess, but I've gotten back in the running game and it's helped me get through my grief.
If you look up the idiom "on-the-run", it means to constantly travel or moving from place to place. Welcome to my life! I get asked the question - "Do you ever sleep?" at least once a week. The truth is - I am always on the run. My weeks are filled with work, training runs, dropping kids off to school and extra curricular activities, traveling out-of-town for races and soccer games, theatre rehearsals, civic duties - you name it. In addition to being an avid runner, I'm a happily married wife, mother of two, an actress, singer, a Fleet Feet CREW coach, and work full time as the Marketing Manager for Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. I love being on the run!