We’ve all been there. Runners and non-runners alike. Caught in a surreal moment as you’re told that a loved one, a friend, someone who was important to you, has been taken away. Removed from your life with no warning, or taken after years of painful suffering. There are no words that can accurately express that moment, but the soul can pinpoint it well. The overwhelming sense that your heart is beating off track and your mind has ceased to function.
In 33 years, I have been suspended in this moment many times. To this day I can remember exactly what I was doing, what I was wearing, how I had been feeling before receiving the news. I can recall the raw, bare emotion as if it had just happened. My balance shaken, my world paused, my heart pierced by an invisible sword. Some of them still haunt me like an unchained melody. The loss of my best friend’s mom in a car accident when we were children. The friend I lost as a teenager. The words over the phone that my 10 year old cousin had been crushed by a car. My sister’s hysterical voice after she found her fiance dead in his bed. My mother-in-law’s fight lost to lung cancer.
Through all of these tragedies I would run, I would grieve, and I would always resolve myself to the thought that “everything happens for a reason”, and that eventually, whether in this life or the next, everything would be ok.
Then, 5 years ago, something changed. My belly swelled and I birthed an entire new world of love and life. Becoming a mother changed me in ways that I could never have imagined. My view of the universe, reason, and religion all shifted exponentially. Now, when people are taken away, I see and feel the experience as a person who knows life in a much more intimate way. A mother losing her child before they’re old enough to move out on their own, a child caressing her dying mother when she should be listening to bedtime stories instead… it all hits too close to home. It hurts my heart in a new and more acutely painful way. Instead of running to clear my head, I find myself trying to run away from the reality of it all. It no longer seems like it’s going to be ok.
Today presented one of those moments. Someone who knew that death was coming, someone who had prepared her heart and her family, someone who was ready to move on, left behind a world of people who weren’t so ready.
Gone too soon.
I just want to run. I want to feel the friction of my shoes against the earth. I want to sweat the hurt out of my pores and pound some sense of the suffering into my tiny mortal brain. I want to inhale the dust from the path and choke out the pain that comes from trying to imagine 2 young children and a spouse who spent over a year praying that she would get better and who are now making arrangements for her funeral. I want to run until my body is screaming and the physical pain drowns the emotional pain of not understanding. I want to run until I can’t anymore…
And then I will be ok.