As soon as 2 days after Charles’ suicide in June 2015, I went for my morning run.
Numb and shocked, carrying the weight of grief in every limb, I forged out on the trail to find relief.
Yes, I was a mess.
No I didn’t want to go.
But I did.
Good God this hurts.
It was how I had coped before he died and now it had to be how I coped after. Standing still, the grief would consume me. That first week, my running path buddies stopped and hugged me. I ached and I cried and carried my ugly, naked, grieving soul with me.
Since he died 4 days after we sold our home, I found a new route in my new neighborhood.
The days and weeks passed and it turned winter. The joyless holidays came and I kept at it still. It took everything I had to force myself outside but by the end of my run, I felt relief. And then other days, my limbs felt like I was carrying an extra 20 pounds most of the way.
To get myself out of bed and outside, I bribed myself with a river view. Told myself I would feel better if I went. Cajoled, pushed, kicked my ass and shoved myself out the door.
I often wept for the first half of any run. By the time it was winter, those tears would freeze on my face and my eyelashes made little icicles. I would whimper and complain how cold it was then I would find my stride and get lost in my thoughts.
I was not fast. It was not pretty. How can it be when your limbs feel like lead and running with grief feels like moving through quick sand. I pounded the pavement day after day, week after week, month after month.
Winter dragged in 2016. Relentless rains pounded that spring. I kept at it. Depressed. Confused. Beaten. Struggling. But also fighting back, finding relief and hope. Feeling small and isolated somedays but picking my way forward little by little, trying to figure out what I wanted to do– my passion for what I had been doing still lagging.
Sometimes afraid of what my future looked like and other days mad that it had not come to me yet.
I would write in my head as I ran, often pushing myself at the end so I could jot down my ideas down before they evaporated.
I was less than a mediocre runner. But this was not about athletic prowess but survival–survival of the most devastating loss of my life.
I don’t know when I turned a corner but somewhere along the way I did. It helped me cope and having at least one consistent thing in my life grounded me even if I had to push myself.