“Beep! Beep! Beep!” my alarm sings too early on a Saturday morning. Feeling the weight of a nearly sleepless night, I just want to stay in bed. The day is too hard to face and my bed feels wonderful. I hear a puppy whine from her blanket on my bed. She knows I’m awake and she needs to go outside. Grumpily, I get out of bed and take her out. I’m not in the mood to jog and I just want a nice cup of coffee in quiet.
Before I can brew one cup, the kids are up, being loud, grumpy, and have already found many fights to pick with each other. Grrrrrrr. I wish I could just go back to bed, I think.
“I don’t want to run 3 miles today.” one kid says. “I’m too tired,” another whines.
“I don’t want to either. We made a commitment. We’re going. We don’t have to finish. We don’t have to do the 5k. We can walk. We’re going. Get ready.”
Our town is no stranger to grief. 2013 was a particularly tough year for many of us. Young boys lost to a crash. At least two young, healthy fathers lost. There are more. Memorial runs are happening more and more; honoring those we have lost too soon. Bringing our community together and helping others heal through love, time, and donations. Grief events are hard for us. However, they help us too. They remind us that we are not alone in our struggles and they grow our faith. We go.
We decided that we would do our thing. Go at our own pace. Not compete with our past times. We would do it together, as a family and with friends. We hit the trail, walking more than we normally do, but staying together, which is something we never do.
After the first mile, we’re still in it together. We continue with our version of running together. Instead of fighting, we’re laughing at ourselves and how terrible we are. We feel a breeze and thank God for the breeze that came at just the right time.
Then, we pray, as we move along the path. We thank the Lord for our love, our strength, our health. We pray for others who may be sad, grieving, or sick. We ask for strength. We pray together as we laugh and smile. We keep going. Still at a snail’s pace, but we’re doing it. We’re doing it our way, in our time, together, accessing our faith.
After stopping for a five-minute bathroom break (Isn’t it fun to run with kids?), the one who asked us to wait, decides to run ahead and just do the last mile at his pace. We encourage him to go.
Our family feels the loss of Scott everyday. He left a big space in our family, like a giant hole that will never be properly filled.
Our grumpy attitudes, and lack of wanting to go, helped me realize how doing these monthly races together are helping us heal. Yes, we are grieving, alongside others. Yet, everyday, we have learned to keep going. We’ve learned to face the obstacles that seem too big, and ask God to come along with us.
We may never fully heal, yet we will continue to move forward. We will do it together. It will happen in our own time and our own way.
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