Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Things Holding You Back

Hmmmm… I kept thinking about this all week. The things holding me back, what are they? Mind, effort, job, animals, not people (I don’t have anyone holding me back, only pushing me forth), weight, want, lack of desire, emotion, sorrow, WHAT? 
What are the things holding me back is a question I’ve been asking myself for over a week. I kept the thinking about that question since my last run. On that run, I saw a perfectly green tree, bright in its shade of color, perfectly shaped, sunned in all the right spots, except the one branch being choked out by a disease of some sort. It was just the one branch, webbed and browned, destroying the tree, eating the leaves until they were whispers of what they once were, keeping it back from being what it was supposed to be in its entirety. 

There’s something greater at work or at slack, than just what’s happened to our lives over the summer. I think I’m trying to stay put for a little longer just so I don’t have to face what’s to come in life, without my mom. But I also think there’s a deep desire to move along. When I say move along, I don’t mean no longer mourn or no longer crave her presence. I think I mean move forward through the things holding me back. 

I had a little “incident” this week, of the dog kind. The big dog and I were playing. We always tease that he has a block head (like a cinder block it turns out) and when we were playing, his head slammed into mine. A trip to the ER, several meals through a straw (I was told no chewing meat but I won’t consider bacon meat) an X-ray at the dentist and a chiropractor later, there’s a lessened pain, a lessened stiffness, a release of sorts. 

That’s it. That’s what’s holding me back. The things I’m holding on to for dear life are the things holding me back. I can do nothing but sigh at that statement. I think in that statement, I’m meaning, the deepest of sorrow, the angriest of anger, the most frightful of fears, the height of anxiety, every single memory, thought and experience, good and bad, of my mom. It’s unavoidable. Some of that will have to be released.

That tree I saw had its own struggle and I’m not sure how it will get through. It has deep running roots for a reason though. That tree has the strength to stand up in the sun, cold, wind, rain & snow. That tree has its own mission, but it has something very visible holding it back too. If that tree allows whatever it is that’s holding it back, turning it brown, choking out its green, to keep going, then that’s exactly what will happen. And I know if I keep allowing things to overtake me, my goals, my needs, my sheer want and need to push forth, I’ll only ever remain exactly where I currently stand.

When I saw that tree, I had such doleful thoughts. I considered how pretty it was, but how damaged it would inevitably become. I grieved for the tree. “What are the things holding you back?” You’ll be glad to know the tree didn’t answer but I did.

I don’t want to feel lost anymore. I hope to feel settled in peace of mind and in my heart. The doctor told me today that I’ve got to do whatever it is that makes me feel a sense of devotion and releases my stress.

With every contemplation, however I’m stricken emotionally, I hope to release. I hope to draw in a cleansing breath of strength and exhale a little anxiety, stress, sorrow, anger, grief, even if that happens one pant at a time. 

Be careful and happy running, y’all.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Longest Mile

Sometimes I set off for a run thinking that run will be THE run. The run that feels the best, the one that is the easiest, the one that gets me inspired, the one that tops all the other miles. And then sometimes, that run is the longest. 

I always seem to go back to running and it always seems to teach me something, whether I mean for it to, or not. We have our own relationship. We love each other but some runs are more volatile and some are less eventful. It certainly is kind of amazing when I think about all the miles I’ve put in and it certainly feels like I’ve accomplished not much when I look at my run tracker and see how slow I’ve gotten. I like to think, I’ve become “deliberate” more so than just really damn slow.

Being “deliberate” has its perks though. I’ve always loved just enjoying the way the foot strikes, how it sounds, how the rocks crush against each other, how the pavement smacks the sole and how the dirt kicks up onto my legs. 

The sun was out on this run, the longest mile, the run I wanted to go on, but just couldn’t physically make myself do; the run that smelled right, felt right, sounded right, the right shoes, the right socks, the right shorts, the right music. I could hear the people at the lake finally allowed to swim again after swimming warnings were lifted. I could hear men laughing as they were fishing. PS, I thought you were supposed to be quiet to catch fish. I could see the sun glisten off the water, which was slapping a little off the rocks. 

I felt good, the run felt right and then, a mile in, I just stopped. I stopped, turned around and walked to a spot by the lake, climbed over the rocks, got caught in the strongest of spider webs, took off my shoes and laid all the way back on the flat rocks. I soaked in the sun, I soaked in the music of the lake, I soaked it all in. I breathed in deep and just enjoyed my moment. I felt sad for a few breaths, felt frustrated, scared and relaxed. For a moment, I felt relaxed, like life was normal. Because this new life is my new normal and at times it really sucks. Then there are points of strong quiet when I know life is good and will be alright. That peaceful feeling hasn’t happened a lot over the last six weeks of living, but it happened on this mile.

I didn’t really think I had taken much time, but when I got back to the car (which was not even a quarter mile from my respite spot on the flat rocks) the mile had taken me 41:55. I got lost in the run which turned into a moment that turned into the longest mile. 

The miles are more than just miles, they’re junctures of healing, of release, relaxation and occasions to drink in the beauty all around. It was the longest mile and it felt like just a blip of time. It was time well spent. 

Be careful and happy running, y’all.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

Her Name Is Susan

This means a couple of things… Her Name is Susan, Black Eyed Susan to be more correct. I guess this could be looked at as my comeback run on the road to recovery and that it is filled with divine intervention and moments of spectacular proportion, verifying all of the white light beliefs we all hope there to be when someone you love most, dies. Alas, it’s not. But it’s filled with meaning… to me.

There’s a trail I like to sometimes run. It’s gravel and it has some shade, a little breeze sometimes, around one of the bends, from the wind off the lake. I know I’ve seen “her” there before, but I guess I just didn’t know I had seen that many reflections of “her.” I’m positive I’ve taken “her” picture there before and I’m positive I sent the picture to my mom, MY “Brown” Eyed Susan. She wasn’t there for me to send the picture to today.

I made up my mind, that the day of firsts would be Wednesday, August 10, 2016, one month, one day after losing my Susan. I went back to work, I went back to tracking, I went back to running. I’ve never been so hesitant to start again but I did make it into work. I’ve never been so determined to start again and I made it back to my trail and to find “her.” I didn’t intentionally go to the trail looking for “her,” she, all of the shes, made themselves prevalent to me. 

It took about a quarter mile for me to pay attention to my surroundings. I was messing with my phone, with my running app, with my playlist, with my earphones, with my water bottle, with my shoe the dog had recently eaten the heel off of, sigh… As I made my way down the first little hill, I did see “her.” I thought, “Aw look, a Susan.” And then I saw several more Susans. And then I saw and even bigger patch of Black Eyed Susans. I started to feel the warmth of the sun, the gentle breeze and I started to pay attention. There must have been a hundred, easily wisping back and forth gently in the slight breeze. They were patched in the sun, in the shade, amongst the weeds and amongst the wild flowers. 

The tears couldn’t come fast enough and they couldn’t have stopped at the right moment any sooner either. To hold back is to feel somewhat like you’re dying inside, like your heart is sinking, so I let the tears flow. I wore a red shirt with the word STRENGTH on the front. It was appropriate. It was needed.

I heard my run tracker tell me I had reached one mile. I had reached my first mile on my trail, on my road to recovery, on my path of hurt and of healing. 

To say it was divine intervention would be weird, as I know things have and will continue to occur that have nothing to do with me or the death of my mom, Susan.

What I do know is that after that first mile, my heart felt sore, felt beaten, felt exhausted. Was I trying to take things as my own, reach for any reminder of my mom I could reason? I don’t know. I can’t answer that. I’ve never had to mourn this deeply before and I don’t know the ins and outs of mourning or how to do it “correctly.”

At some point, I missed my two mile marker turn around, because when you’ve run the same area over and over, you know the quirks of it, the hills, the slow spots, the tricky spots, the icky spots and the shaded spots too. I thought, “Well, I’ll just refill my water at the swim spot and it’ll be fine from there.” I meant to go three miles and ended up going almost five because I let myself get lost in my grief and emotions. When I got to the water area, there was an ECOLI warning and the water faucets were on, but there was a warning saying not to drink from them. 

The temperature was 95 and because I had gone further than I meant to, it was a good amount in the direct sun. I rethought my strategy and figured I’d just conserve the water I had and I’d hit the shaded spots as much as I could. The sun was hot, my shirt was soaked, I forgot sunblock and I could feel my cheeks getting red, and my scalp, because in my haste to make things happen, I forgot a hat too.

I needed a break, I needed shade, I needed my water and I was getting a blister on my half eaten shoe heal area. Stupid dog, I reminded myself to again scold the guilty party. I needed my mom. I needed my Susan the most. The other things I could get over, I could manage, I could work with… not having my Susan, I don’t know how to do that quite yet. I walked off the trail to find a little shade and to drink the last of my water and what I needed the most was there. 

It was right there, it was RIGHT THERE! There were no other Black Eyed Susans in that area. NONE! There were white wild flowers, two different kinds of purple flowers, teeny tiny itty bitty yellow flowers, a ton of green weeds, grass and leaves. But there she was, nestled in the thick carpet of green. ONE. Susan was there. 

Say what you will; say it is my imagination, my determination to find something or anything to remind me of my Susan. Say it didn’t have anything to do with me, or embrace the reminder of the fact that there was, is and always will be love that shines on me… Her Name is Susan.

Be careful and happy running y’all.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Starting AGAIN

Starting Again is what I'll call today. Today I've started a blog...AGAIN... I'm totally locked out of my previous blog site, so I'll just start AGAIN. Not to mention it had been over two years since my last blog post on that site, so who can blame the site for never thinking I'd return again.

Today I went back to work after a month off... starting AGAIN.

I think I'll run today too... Starting AGAIN. I've managed to find a clean running bra and shirt. There are no promises on the shorts or socks.

My habit of not drinking water plagues me again over the last month, so time to dust off my trusty smart water bottle and start AGAIN.

Who would've thought as soon as life was coasting along nicely, the world would come crashing down and everything would have to start over AGAIN? Death is certainly something I've thought about, we all have. We all know to "prepare" for it, but when it happens unexpectantly, how do you pick up life and start AGAIN?

With my mom's death, I've been treading thru each day. I've been tamping down the tears and I've been starting over and over and over and over AGAIN.

I don't know what the rest of today will bring, but I think I know what to do to make today better than yesterday.

On today's run, I'll look up to the blue (Carolina Blue) sky and blow a kiss to my guardian angel. The heat index is 100 degrees, so I'm sure I'll hear the echo of mom's voice saying, "That's crazy. Please be careful." I will mom.

Seems like Starting Again is both a positive and negative, depending on the way I look at it. But I know, putting my words to use, starting this part AGAIN, is a very good thing for me.

I'll see you in my next post but in the meantime, you can reread my last blogs and then start over with me, AGAIN.

Please be careful and happy running y'all!