Monday, September 12, 2016

When life happens


I'm training. Life has been happening...a lot. I don't even think I have really had time to process how I am doing lately. So here I sit, thinking. I finally registered for the Kiawah Island Marathon. We had to save up the money for it, it is not a cheap one. I selected it because it was a mild race, not too far from home, and right around my birthday. Unfortunately it also raises money and awareness for absolutely nothing. We typically do not run races such as this, but it is my first marathon, so we made an exception.

Then, as mentioned above, life happened.

My very amazing and funny brother-in-law, Craig, passed away. He had cystic fibrosis, and he was 43 years old. The current life expectancy is 37 years of age for individuals living with CF. Craig was a fighter. More importantly he was a human that inspired many others, championed for his friends with CF, loved with all he had, and always had a smile for you.

Life happened and it hurt.

I have not lost anyone in a little bit, and while this was not fully unexpected...'one day' showed up before I was ready. And so here I sit, still uncertain as to how I am doing.

The day he died I was actually out on a long-ish run. Early in the run I developed a side stitch. Something that never happens to me. From that moment until the end of my run I thought of Craig. It's as if my body was telling me to think what it must have been like to struggle to breathe. To fight for each breath. It was a really tough run. I thought how I wanted to be like Craig. How giving up should never be an option, to the very end. How he welcomed me into the family from day one, from teasing me about "my people" (I was majoring in Psychology at the time) to discussing Star Wars versus Star Trek. His jokes always helped ease tensions over holiday shenanigans, and he truly loved the kids. I wondered why he crossed my mind. If I focus on anything other than running it is usually work or kid related. Typically organizational, and sometimes a spontaneous blog idea (if I am lucky). But on that day all I thought about was him. Somehow I knew there was a reason...my husband will tell you I always know, but that is simply something my science driven mind has a hard time accepting. As I cooled down outside my house I told myself that when I walked in my husband was going to tell me Craig had passed, I was not wrong.

I entered the house slowly. At first my husband did not say anything. Then our eyes met. And before he could get the words out my heart sank into my stomach. I stepped back outside for a few minutes. I could not believe it. How had I known?

I do not have an answer to that question. I am not spiritual or religious. But I do not need to be.
I understand that I needed to be prepared, and I was.

I didn't just sign up for a marathon. I created a memorial fund for my brother-in-law. I want to run in his memory. I want to challenge my own breath. I want to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis. I want you all to think about a fighter in your life, or maybe you are the fighter. Or maybe you want to become a fighter. A champion. Someone who faces a challenge head on and allows the fear to wash over you and continues on. Many years ago I learned that fear had no hold on me, and it should not on any of us. I can tell you that Craig was never afraid of living life to its fullest. Every. Single. Day.

I hope I can live up to half of that type of life legacy.

#irun4craig