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