Wednesday, October 20, 2010


As I sit in front of my computer, journals open, words of the past two weeks scrawled on post it notes and lined paper, and a pile of Jujyfruits on the table to my left, I feel rewarded. I feel another wave of pride for my recent accomplishments.
As most of you know, I trained very hard for the Baltimore Running Festival's Half Marathon that was held last Saturday. About three weeks before the race, I started getting pains in my right lower leg. I ran through the pain, and even smiled at times as I was half running, half hobbling up a hill during training, wanting so badly to quit, and then hearing Dan's favorite saying to me, "Don't be a big baby." I swear I could be sick as a dog and not able to get off the floor, and he would say, "Are you being a big baby?" He always did it with that smirk and half smile, and even at my sickest, I had to laugh and roll my eyes...before telling him to get some freakin' Pepto or Tylenol ASAP!!

Days before the race, I decided to make an appointment to get my leg X-rayed. The results were inconclusive, so I then went for an MRI. Waiting for the MRI results (on the Friday before the race) was like holding my breath under water for hours. I kept thinking, "Come on God, are you really going to strip this away from me too?" "The pounding of the pavement I've grown to know as my therapy and healing?" "You really haven't taken enough??" "Really?" I felt myself getting bitter and had to talk myself out (again) of feeling like I was being punished.
I received the news Friday evening that I did not have a stress fracture! I amazed myself at how excited I actually was at running 13.1 miles the next day at the crack of dawn, but for some odd reason, I was ecstatic.
The morning of the race was a whirlwind of excitement. I tagged along with Team Legrand and enjoyed the entire atmosphere and tangible elation of the throngs of people in Baltimore that day. For the second year in a row, Allyson, Brian, and Bo came to see me off at my starting point, that in itself made me teary, because of the wonderful friend that Allyson is. Then Michelle and I hugged as our corral was being called to start. We wished each other luck, and we were off. My first three miles are always my hardest, as my legs are getting warmed up. After that, I got my groove, steadied my pace, controlled my breathing, and took in my surroundings.
I spotted the sign for MILE 8, and thought..."Are you kidding me?? I am only at mile 8???" "AND ANOTHER HILL TO BOOT??" (Insert as many cuss words as you can think of. I think I even made up some of my own.) Jogging up that hill, there were not as many spectators as at the other mile markers. I saw one girl standing on the side with a sign. When I ran by, I felt the chills. I am sure that through my music, I heard the sound of beating wings next to me. The sign said simply, "Don't Stop Believing." If you knew Dan, you knew that Journey = The Greatest Band That EVER Was. You couldn't get into that pearly white Infinity after a night at Woody's without partially losing your hearing over the blaring 80's sensation. That sign was all the motivation I needed for the remaining 5.1 miles. I finished in 2 hours and 5 minutes, shaving 6 minutes off my Nashville time.
Even though I found out today that I have repetitive stress injuries in BOTH of my legs, and should take a couple of weeks off, I am so happy I ran the race. (And to be perfectly honest chances are I will only take a week off of running...tops.)
The signs continued to be posted on my road throughout the weekend. "Sunday Morning" at Ropewalk on Saturday night - Thank you Jaime and Eileen for the dance. Journey popped up again on Sunday, as I shared another dance, smiles, and laughs-Thank you David. The signs are motivators, ushering me to continue to move forward. Never to take a day for granted. Love the ones around you, and let yourself be loved. Smile and laugh until your sides hurt. And DON'T (ever, ever ever) STOP BELIEVING.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In Awe

Every time I post I am in amazement at the feedback I receive. Every time I smile, I am amazed at the smiles that are returned to me. Every time I reach for a hand, I am astonished at the number of extended arms. Every time I need, the offer for assistance is profound. Every time I crash I am bewildered at how fast the fire is put out, before I burn completely.

Every time the sun rises in the morning I am overwhelmed, grateful, indebted to the people in my life who love me.

When God created friendship, he created it in the mirror of love. Friendship is loyalty, respect, honesty, and above all, love. I believe that God knew my path would fork, he saw that the road itself would fall from beneath me, and then come crashing down around me once I hit the bottom. For reasons I won't understand, he chose not to change that path. But what he did do, was put the most beautiful people on the paths parallel to mine.

Of course, there are always those rogue joggers who cross onto our paths and leave trails of hate-dust behind, but that is because they don't have that love, those beautiful people who get pleasure from lifting and carrying you when you are tired, not stepping on you when you are down. Anger and Guilt: An acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored, than to anything on which it is poured. ~Seneca Quotes, (Roman Philosopher mid-1st century AD)

I wanted to write tonight about the swelling of my heart, the blanket of love I feel that covers me everyday from those around me. I can't seem to find the exact words that express how thankful, how obliged I am to my friends, my family, blood or not.

It would take days and endless pages to write about every kindness that has been bestowed upon me, one day I should try, it would be a glorious story, telling of every special person in my life who have earned countless jewels in their crown. Tonight, I am just going to mention a few things in last week that have helped to mend an infringed heart.

Note passing and school girl giggling with Jill and Michelle at a meeting. A "Happy New Day" note and delicious danish (from Michelle) on my desk after a hard previous day. An email from my soul mate friend, Jessi, her words working to make the world make sense again. Text messages from Sputty that make me snort-laugh. Instant messaging on Yahoo with Kirty will always bring a smile to my face. An note from someone who probably has no idea how much her sweet words impacted me that day, thank you Christa. Dinner with my parents, Jaime, Ryan, and my perfect Lilly-Bug. Sharing tears and hugs at that dinner with the family that wild horses couldn't tear apart. The unconditional love of my sister, and the unparalleled love I have for her. Listening to anything that comes out of Ryan's mouth, an all-time favorite simple pleasure of mine. A weekend day and night spent on a Harley, drinking Bud Lights, dancing and laughing, with some of the funniest most genuine, down to Earth people you will ever come across. People who take you for who you are, and just let the world turn as it may. A hilariously vulgar message from Hillary, I couldn't love you more, my sweet. A Monday lunch with Allyson, seeing how beautiful pregnancy is on her, and wrapping my arms tightly around the bond we have formed over the years. A compliment from my boss, so sweet, that it almost took my breath away. A care package from a friend in the mail, some light reading for those sleepless nights, thank you Molly. The immeasurable support I receive via Facebook and this blog. The list is endless, and because of this, my heart is brimming.

To say "thank you" or "I love you all" just seems so scanty and insufficient. But know this; your love will never be taken for granted. My loyalty will never waiver, and with every breath that is left in my soul, I will repay your kindness.

I do not know what I did to deserve love/friendships like this, but you should, you need, to know how humbled I am because of them.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

3 Steps Back

Yesterday was Saturday, October 2, 2010. It was a day full of abundant sunshine as well as love. Douglas Wade and Eileen Treder became Mr. and Mrs. Wade on one of the most beautiful days we have had all year.

Sitting outside at the beautiful park, the sun was warming every one's face, and the smiles of the happy couple were warming every one's heart.

It was the first wedding I have attended since losing the man I pledged to spend my life with. I was apprehensive about the emotions I knew would slink upon me, but so far was doing well. The officiant spoke eloquently and beautifully a speech about love, respect, and bearing all things that life brings together, as a union.

"Together as a union": bearing all sorrow and tragedy and anything life lays upon them. Here is where my tears start. What happens when the tragedy is that life itself is taken away and that union of two now becomes one? I know what happens, but I don't want to know anymore. I paid my dues, I've made great strides in my healing, but now, right now...I want my husband back.

Doug wore his "Dan Bracelet" through the ceremony. More tears. The officiant spoke of remembering the friends who were no longer with us. Audible gasp, harder tears.

My thoughts: Tiffin, Remember why you are here, this is not about you. This is a ceremony of utter happiness. Get it together. Stop imagining Dan by your side. Stop remembering how he kissed the corners of your eyes when you cried. Picture him saying, "lock it up T, lock it up." Get a tissue, take a breath, focus.

Just then...

The wind picks up. He is here. He wrapped his arms around me I heard him tell me to let go of the sorrow and give up my pain to the wind that was him. Let it sail away, T, just be free.

The entire wedding from start to finish was perfectly magnificent. The bride and groom glowed. There were moments where I couldn't stop my tears, but my rejoicing for the happy couple superseded all. Doug and Eileen will have a life of prosperity and euphoria, this I know.

Today I wanted to sit at Dan's grave, dig up the hard dirt, and cover myself with it. I want to feel the peace he feels. I want to just be still. Again, I hear him: T, stop. Your turmoil is wreaking havoc on your spirit. Others need your spirit to be strong, you need your spirit to be strong. Don't beat yourself up for moving forward in your life, I am so proud of you. There is nothing that you can do now that will make me love you any less. Our love reaches across both of these worlds. Just live, my honeyah, please live on.

I knew I would have these days, where I stood on my new life's foundation and angrily kicked it down. I also know that I am able to rebuild, especially with the love I have from my friends and family. Tomorrow I will work hard, stand tall, live on. But tonight, I will let myself cry.