|July 2000, 1 month before I moved to Utah|
Reading that brings a warm layer of tears over my eyes, my brown eyes, like hers were. Somewhere in between a bottle of wine and a late night pee before hitting the pillow, I was finally able to articulate a feeling into a thought. Running long distances has never really seemed hard for me. Don't let me mislead any reader that it is easy, it most certainly is a challenge of endurance and patience, and a dance with your discomfort and pain thresh-hold. But running long distances, particularly the 100 mile distance, has never seemed too much to bare. I, in fact, welcome the day and a half with open arms, maybe more so than any other distance i have endured. Why?
I wrote a book...for lack of a better word. One could call it a 300 page journal entry. But, I sat down at my computer 6 weeks after my mom died. At a messy desk, in a messy basement, full of memories and junk, and I poured everything I could out of me. I had this hope that if i got it out, it wouldn't hurt so much anymore. That if I put the grief into words that I could make sense of it, figure out where she was, and then ultimately realize she was nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
I didn't want to die 10 years ago, but I didn't know how to live. I didn't believe happiness was a feeling I would ever sustain again. I didn't believe that I deserved anything but chaos and regret. When I picture myself in 2008 I see a slumped shell of me; knuckles dragging on the ground and a low hung head. I see chaos around and inside me. And, I believed that was where I would stay. Not in total darkness, but in an overcast room that was always too cold. And so what does that have to do with running? Nothing, nothing at all. Here is a page from my "book".
Today is June 16, 2008. It is warm in Utah and our garden is growing. We have all walks of
life in the backyard raging from thyme to sunflowers, and lettuce to grape vines. I got back
from Baltimore 2 days ago. I was there on a visit to see my family, the family that’s left.
I felt immediate anxiety as the plane landed back in Salt Lake. I used to get so excited about
our garden, but life and growth is something I have been tangoing with since the beginning of
the year. Everything is symbolic and once a day at least, I am rushed with images of mom and
of simpler days, and I ache, god damn I ache. It all just stopped when she died.
Simultaneously with her passing, I became stuck in some twisted limbo between utter
loneliness and a light I can’t see. The birds are silent or maybe I’m deaf to them, and the snow
is messy and cold, while the sunshine is too happy for me. If I were a pie chart, a huge piece
would be missing, maybe all but one slice. If I were a dozen eggs, I’d be there, but cracked
and oozing, no good for anyone. I’m here, but I’m not right, just incomplete and broken.
Time does help. But, I won't ever forget those days. I'll never forget the best days and Ill never forget the worst. And, I'm glad i wrote it all down. I seem to always re-visit my own words in January and May. The months and days where we celebrated and said goodbye still come, right on time.
So somewhere between a bottle of wine and slumber, I realized the thing I like about 2 days of mountain climbing, running, fatigue, pain, and relenting miles, I like- that it ends. It doesn't last forever, you survive. Because both the beauty and the pain of forever is the non-negotiable finality of the never ending.