A Measure of Time – One Year Ago…

Tough goes around these parts today.  I don’t mind if you skip over the 3,000 word post – this one’s for me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I’m trying to grasp how a year ago simultaneously feels like yesterday and a century ago.  I keep catching myself saying “this year has FLOWN by!” – which in many ways, it feels like it has.  SO MUCH has happened it’d be hard for it not to.

But at the same time, certain events feel like such distant memories, when in reality they were mere months ago.

The wedding, bachelorette parties, visits home for the holidays.  Race after race after race, training runs, celebrations and admissions of defeat.  Moving to California, moving a city over, moving offices. 

All of it is jumbled in some weird time warp – the recent feels long gone and the distant past seems so near.

Pennies from Heaven

I can remember the exact moment I got the call, one year ago  –  the moonlight coming in the bedroom window, the temperature, what I was wearing, and how my phone vibrating on the nightstand sounded.  I NEVER wake up to my phone, but that night I came so seamlessly out of sleep to see L’s name on the caller ID.  It was around 4:30am.  I knew what it meant, and had been both expecting and dreading it for weeks.

I answered with a quiet “hello” – trying to silently tell her I knew, and that she didn’t have to say it out loud.  The call was brief – she told me she was fine and to go back to sleep, in the most hauntingly calm way.  It broke my heart to hang up and lay there awake in bed, 2,000 miles away, rather than getting in my car and driving across town to be with her. 

That was the first time I cursed our move to the west coast.

Brian’s parents were visiting at the time, and I remember getting a text from Mini Twin while we were at dinner that night :

“… L needs you”

I left the restaurant – completely overcome with sadness and no longer able to keep my tears at bay.  My flight was the next morning, and I remember feeling both angry and helpless that that was the soonest I could be there.

That was the second time I cursed our move.

I remember sitting in Ontario airport, Shea picking me up in Cleveland, and sitting around the bonfire at L’s boyfriend’s house – the smell of Off, a perfectly clear sky, and roasted marshmallows felt like every other August night in Ohio.  At one point L’s phone rang, and “MOM” showed on the caller ID.  I’ll be damned if I didn’t have a minor heart attack. 

(It was her dad calling from her old phone.)

I remember the miserable 15 miler I ran the morning of the showing.  I remember staying dry-eyed and upbeat while we visited with friends and family – I felt like if I was composed it might help the others in their grieving.  It may have, may not have, but I realize now that I just hadn’t started mine yet.

On our way to the service (no, bald Frankie didn’t come)

At the service the following afternoon – God it was hot that day – I remember sitting in the church watching everyone file in.  We were two rows back from L and her family, and at one point she & her dad turned to each other and I caught a profile of their faces.

Oh it broke my heart.

The tears welled.  Shea squeezed my hand.  I rubbed my tissue between my fingers until it turned to powder.

A picture showed on the slideshow of my mom & L’s mom.  They were both Christmas Eve babies, and we were at their house celebrating.  Whatever was said before that camera went off must have been the funniest thing ever – they were both laughing and looked so HAPPY.

I looked next to me and saw mom smiling through the tears.

During the service, L’s uncle (who was officiating) read through some ‘memory notes’ people had left during the showing.

‘I woke up one sleepover morning and told Mom2 I had a dream she made us pancakes with chocolate chips – giggling at the thought of having chocolate for breakfast.  Sure enough 10 minutes later L & I were digging into chocolate chip pancakes, and a sleepover ritual was born.  Mom2 truly enjoyed life, and taught me that it should be FUN – and that sometimes you just need chocolate for breakfast.”

That’s when I lost it.  Hearing one of my fondest childhood memories read out loud for everyone to hear, and seeing them all smile in agreement that, yes, Mom2 did in fact LOVE life, knocked down all my walls

The grief set in, and instantly so did the comfort of feeling all those grieving around me – all remembering so fondly the life she lived and the memories she’d left behind in all of our hearts.  She’d touched so many people and made them all better for having known her – and here we all were, celebrating that.

The energy in that church was simply incredible – in a time I felt as low as I’d ever had, I felt equally inspired to go out and JUST LIVE.  Make the most of life.  Laugh too much.  Love without caution.  Treat life as if it’s a gift and not a right. 

Because it’ll all be gone some day, probably sooner than you’re ready for it to be.


Live, Laugh, Love… and RUN fast!

In memory, “Mom2” 8.5.10

(Nike Women’s Marathon 2010)

Sarah OUaL  –  “Sarah Girl”

30 thoughts on “A Measure of Time – One Year Ago…

  1. Wow… Life can move very fast. I agree with you, on something feeling like it happened ages ago, but, at the same time, be so vivid and seem so recent.
    Death is very hard. I think one of the hardest things about it, is how conflicting it can be. You want someone to live, because they will be missed, but you don’t want them to suffer anymore. You want to be strong for the people around you, but you want to break down at the same time. You want to curl up in your sheets and cry, but you want to live life to the fullest, knowing how short it can be. It’s a very exhausting and heart wrenching feeling, death. You just want to do the right thing, for yourself and everyone else, but it is hard to do that sometimes. Hard to decipher.
    I’m glad you got to be with your family, even though it seems you felt bad about the timing, and I am glad you got to be with the person who needed you most.


  2. I am blown away at this post. I am bawling my eyes out and I don’t know you or L. You have so lovingly and beautifully expressed your pain from a loss and the concept of time and memories. Wow. Thank you for sharing.


  3. Thank you for sharing this. It was truly beautiful and I am sitting here at my desk trying not to cry my eyes out. I needed to hear this: “Make the most of life. Laugh too much. Love without caution. Treat life as if it’s a gift and not a right.” Thinking of you today.


  4. *Hugs* to you (and L).

    My father-in-law passed away a year ago on Sunday. We had a pretty sucky August last year, didn’t we? It certainly hasn’t gotten easy, but it has definitely reminded me that life is short and you’ll never fully realize how much you impact someone’s life.


  5. Time certainly has a mind of its own. It will be 10 years this september since I lost my mom. It certainly does NOT feel like 10 years, but it no longer feels like yesterday anymore. Time does not make it easier, but it does make you feel less like you can’t go on without the other person.

    Keeping you and L in my thoughts today, I am sorry you both had to join the club no one wants to join.


  6. sarah, I’m so glad you wrote this! I see the depth of your heart, your love for L, her love for you, and a time of mourning which later turned into God’s peace and comfort.


  7. Oh my god. Hugs hugs. Death is such a hard thing — I’ve lost only one family member, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with aside from my Dad’s accident and my Mom’s cancer. Love and sunshine coming your way. <3


  8. I am crying for you and L right now!!! That was beautiful and I love that quote! I have always loved Live, Laugh, Love… but adding and Run fast makes it perfect.

    Here is a cross-country from Georgia.


  9. Hugs, hugs, hugs.

    My aunt passed away from the C-word a year ago next week and I was across the country when I got the call too. This was such a beautiful & touching tribute. Thank you for sharing.


  10. Hugs to you. This post is beautiful and I totally felt your pain and emotions. It sounds like Mom2 was such a special person to you and I’m sorry her life was cut short. Thank you for sharing.


  11. this brought tears to my eyes – I lost my mom in 2006 and my best friend lost her mom in 2010 so I’ve been on both sides of that situation. I’m not sure which is worse – going through a loss yourself or watching someone you love go through a loss and the feeling of helplessness that accompanies it. Either way, to put it eloquently, it totally blows. My prayers go out to L and her family – and you! – as you all remember “mom2”


  12. I’m reading backwards, so first I read the funny post and peed myself. Now I am crying in my cube at work. People must think I am NUTS.

    This was such a moving post — I’m sure it was cathartic in a way to write about all of this. It sounds like it’s been one hell of a year & it’s hard not to curse moving out west when life altering events take place back home. I know, I moved from Chicago 1 1/2 years ago. Since then, 2 of my sisters have had ababies (and I wasn’t there), my sister got married at City Hall last minute and I couldn’t make it… but luckily, no one has passed away since I’ve left. I can’t imagine…



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