Friday, May 20, 2011

My Pocket

Thursday afternoon I was exhausted. I hadn't slept well and all I wanted to do was lie in the cool of the basement and take a nap. I propped up my feet onto Nick's lap, put my head on a pillow, and just glanced at the TV, thinking I would soon be asleep. I had only turned the TV on, and there was Oprah. I haven't watched Oprah in a long time, but this story caught my attention quickly. A woman dying of breast cancer, made a plethora of video and audio tapes addressing her daughter, Peyton. Life lessons, love stories, smiles, and tears are all shared on these keepsakes. Oprah had Peyton, and Peyton's father (the woman's widower) on the show. They were a beautiful family. As Peyton's father was being interviewed, he cried and spoke of a hole that will never be filled in his life because of the tragic loss of his first wife. Oprah then asked his current wife, how that made her feel. She was poised and confident when she said, "Any woman wants to be their husband's everything, but it would be foolish to believe that his past life didn't exist." She explained that everything her husband went through made him into the kind of man she wanted to spend her life with.

When it comes to the father/husband, I can relate to so much of what he knows and how death of a spouse molds you into a different person, however I disagree that Dan left a "hole"in my life when he relinquished this Earth. Of course in the beginning, it felt like not only a hole was missing, but that half of me was gone. In time, I changed my thinking. I realized that if I ever had a hole missing from my life, it was before I met Dan. When he came into my life, that hole was filled with everything I needed for a strong foundation and future.

Now he is gone, but not from me. He is no longer physically here, but I know he still looks after me. My mom said it perfectly the other day, "True love is when you want the absolute best for the other person." Dan still wants the best from me and he is celebrating me from his seat on the edge of the clouds.

Is Dan missing from my life? Sure. But I imagine the hole I would have, had he never been a part of my life, and I am thankful every day for the time we were blessed to share together.

When Dan was welcomed into Heaven, his new life began. And, as much as it wasn't planned, and for as much as I wished it weren't so, mine did too. Even though mine is without wings, yet not without sorrow, I have chosen to live it with courage. I have reopened my heart and welcomed the world and all it has to offer, instead of shutting it out and growing cold.

This winding road has lead me to new faith, new friends, new hope, and new love. I will never replace the love my husband and I shared, however there is no "hole I am trying to fill".

I think of the piece inside that is missing Dan as a pocket. In this pocket, I place daily smiles. I put memories in the pocket. I fill it some days with hugs from children and smiles from strangers. What I know is that my pocket will never be empty. I keep all of you in my pocket, and that pocket rests on my heart.

Fill your pockets, my friends. Live life positively, but aggressively, it is only ours for a short while.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Angel Runner

Dear Angel Runner,

On April 24, 2010 you ran a half marathon with me in Nashville Tennessee. It was the race we had signed up to do together, when your soul was still here on Earth. It was the first for both of us. I've never felt so close to an angel as I did along that run, on that day. As I've continued to run, I've continued to feel your presence.

A little over a year later on April 30, 2011, we ran our 4th half marathon together in Ocean City, Maryland.

I have to admit that my mind was racing as my feet were whisking the pavement. I wasn't focused on the fact that I run to remember or that I run because your Earthly body cannot. It was more in the back of my mind. I thought about my training, I thought about the beautiful landscape I was running through, I listened to music and worked on my drum beat breathing.

Running up the bridge to get to Assateague Island, I struggled. I remember speaking to you and telling you that I could really use the help of your wings. There was a wind that graced my back, but I felt like I was running in place. When I got to the bottom, I felt deflated, tired, and confused. Confused as to why I choose to do this to my body. My spirit was broken. As I slowed my pace to a walk, I heard a woman's voice. "I've been following you for 12 miles now, you are not going to stop this close to the end, let's go." We ran together the rest of the mile. We talked about the wild horses and I remember laughing when she said, "I can almost smell the beer." When we reached the finish line, she sprinted ahead and finished hard. I saw her after receiving our medals and we hugged. I never got her name.

I was disappointed in myself that it was that easy for me to want to give up after coming so far. I thought about how, that wasn't your spirit running in me. I thought, where were you?

When I woke from a much needed nap, I started to put my things into my bag. I touched my iPod and it came on. Journey was playing. I just started to laugh. You were there the whole time. You didn't give me wings, because you always wanted me to "do it myself." You always wanted me to be proud of my accomplishments. Then, I thought about the woman. She was an angel in human form, and now, I see that was no coincidence.

I started running to finish the race that we began together. I ran to remember, sometimes I ran to forget. I run now for me. For everything I am because of you, and for everything I will become. I run for the future that wasn't meant to be and the future that will transpire.

Continue to be my Angel-Runner. Continue to watch over us as this race called life streams by.

Hebrews 12:1~ Wherefore seeing we are also compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

Bib Number 594