So says the bumper sticker on my card.
In a few days, I head to Newport for some much-needed vacation time. It’s been a busy summer at work and with other issues; R & R is definitely in order. I plan to check in at Mark’s spot to reflect on where I am now nearly four years since his death. It’s not a memorial and I won’t linger long; it’s just a place to pause and reaffirm that life is good no matter what.
Labor Day is a reminder of a specific downward turn in his illness going into the final two months of life. Still, he was only down physically, not out emotionally. Hope still floated as we battled thru a tough weekend until the adjusted medication caught up with his pain. Then he would ‘be better’ and keep fighting. Our relationship would remain intact because we loved each other and love conquers all, right?
For the past few late summers, I have grappled with a crepe that hangs on me as I remember such profound events as “the last day we left the house socially and had a good time.” That date would be September 30th, 2007. This is my fourth such summer and the crepe is now a fine mist rather than a heavy veil. It will always be there, but I have come to a place where I am happy to have the memory of that day: going out to Indian Ladder Farms, seeing him eat a meal, buying apples, seeing some friends, and enjoying our Sunday Brunch ritual as if cancer was just an infinitesimal part of our landscape.
Fucking cancer, I always say. 🙂
Last summer, I sort of stumbled my way into marathon training [See previous post, ’26.2 Is My New Lucky Number’]. It was never a goal I espoused, but then again I never thought about being a 50+year-old single broad either.
This summer, now that I am a bona fide athlete with a medal, I am actually training in earnest with each weekend long run dedicated to a goal of 14 miles, then 15 miles, and so on. My sights are set on completing the first of two 20-mile runs before taking a few days’ vacation in Newport. Then I have to do another 20 miles two weeks later, before tapering in the final weekends before race day on October 9th.
Last year, I just wanted to finish. And finish I did, 5 hours and 14 minutes later.This fall, I want to beat that and come in under 5 hours.
Last year, I had apprehension that I might not have what it takes to complete a marathon. This year, when people question how/why anyone would train for a marathon, I tell them the training is easier than it sounds and finishing a marathon is awesome.
I hope to make it to the finish line in time to see Mary and Joe renew their wedding vows. But with Mary clearly being faster than I am, I might not make it…but I will finish.
It’s gonna be awesome again, baby!
Mark’s annual race has come and gone for a fourth time. My reluctant journey to the first finish line to the latest one has been a long strange trip, to say the least.
This one was especially tricky for me because the timeliness of summer always plays with my emotions. I can easily tick the summer away thinking about the last time Mark went to a movie…the last time we went out for live music…and so on. I hold those memories very dear, but they often tickle my eyes & nose with a fading tinge of held-back tears. With each passing summer, it’s hurt a little less…but it’s always there in the shadows of summer fun.
The convergence of Lawrences from points east and west also lowers my usually well-maintained emotional guard as I’m surrounded by crystal blue eyes and familiar mannerisms. Yet Mark would want us all to be together and enjoy good times, especially those involving good food, so I push aside the pangs of how it feels for me to be in a family without the connection that brought me there in the first place.
And race forces me to endure hearing how great I am –“He would be so proud of you”…“You’re so inspiring.” While it is indeed true that I often personify greatness, I didn’t get into this whole widow gig for the accolades. The Shack Attack 5k isn’t about me: it’s about a worthy cause in honor of a life ended too short. And a team makes it happen; I only run around shagging the money out of gracious benefactors.
Convening at the Shack Attack finish line is the culmination of many months of this teamwork. For some waiting for the start buzzer, it’s just a typical race to get a read on current performance. For many of us, it’s a moment to reflect on where life took us when we least expected it. I still have to pinch myself that I’m competing at anything other than looking fashionable and having hip hair.
And then I run because I can.
Sweaty but elated for my new Shack Attack PR! (The tall one belongs to me.)