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.