About 7 years ago I trained for and ran a marathon. Honestly, I can still hardly believe it myself. The training was brutal. I would wake up super early most mornings and hit the pavement. Sometimes for only 6 miles, sometimes 10. Sometimes 16 and one time 20. I battled sinus infection after sinus infection. I ran through rain, snow, ice, sun. I learned how to discreetly pee and poop on the trail during long runs. I went to bed early every night neglecting many of my friendships and wondering what the hell I willingly got myself into. I ate the best diet I could think of to support my body again neglecting time with friends. I learned how to occupy my brain for hours and hours at a time when all I wanted to do was stop. There was a steep learning curve. And I learned more about myself during this time than I ever could have imagined.
The training was brutal, but I got used to it. It felt like the race was never going to come. Finally, on race day, the race was perfect. There was a finish line and I crossed it. Many family members and friends celebrated at the finish line and then later at a finishers party. My perseverance paid off.
Today I decided I would go for a run. I set my timer. 15 minutes. I told myself I couldn’t stop until the timer went off. It was during the run that I realized, I am training for the biggest marathon of my life. Except, this marathon has nothing to do with running. It doesn’t have a race day. It doesn’t have a finish line. There will be no party celebrating my accomplishments.
Right after we lost Simon I thought it was about “healing”. Getting better. Fixing it. Doing anything I could possible do to ease the pain. Crossing the finish line. I’ve spent so much of our money trying to fix it. Finally i’ve realized it is much deeper than that. No book, no salt rock lamp, no essential oils, no expensive self-care treatment, no purging, no advice, no platitudes, no counseling, no support group, no friend can fix this.
This marathon is an experiment. The brutal training before the actual marathon. It’s about learning how to breathe again. Learning how to stop the guilt, the anger, the questions. Learning that we can’t rewind our lives and need to stop trying to. Learning how to live day by day as present as possible. It is about learning how to take life one step at a time, and I’m talking literally one step at a time. It is about learning how to be social again, how to engage in conversation, how to be ok with banter and laughter. Learning who is truly in my corner and truly supportive. How to be okay with strained relationships and how to let them go if needed. Learning how to take things that people say and let them slide right on past. It’s about ignoring the comments that are meant to “fix you” and instead bring you more pain. Figuring out how to answer difficult questions. Learning how to be mindful and kind. Learning to push yourself to do something your brain is not quite ready for. Using the gift of Simon’s life to share the smile we will never see. It is grieving the loss of myself and learning how to recreate who I am. Like a good friend said, “It’s like taking on this daunting task of reinventing yourself in the midst of the worst moments of your life.” It’s about figuring out how to manage my time between Brett, Nolan, counseling, support group, acupuncture, friends, work, exercise, nature, reading, writing, sewing, cooking etc.
It is about a million things that I am not even aware of yet.
There is no finish line. There will be no friends or family members waiting for me there. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is no closure. There will be no party celebrating my accomplishments. Things will never be the same. I will never be the same.
But I have hope. Hope that I can reinvent myself.