Dealing with Loss

My silence here last week was unanticipated.  I received news on Monday that one of my dear friends who has been battling metastatic breast cancer was in her final fight.  She passed away Monday night.

That night was a blur and a flurry– calling girlfriends across the country to let them know the sad news, trying to make sense of a 37-year-old’s death, and having no capacity to understand a world where a sweet 7-year-old boy no longer has his mother.  It was all too much.

Early Tuesday morning I woke as normal (well, I didn’t really sleep all night), slipped into my running clothes, and did what I always do when I need perspective.  I went for a run.  I ran hill repeats, wondering why my dear friend will never run again.  Up the hill, over and over again I ran, hearing her voice ask the question she asked me so many times, “Why do you run?  I just don’t get it!”

Despite her admitted lack of enthusiasm for physical activity, this is a friend who encouraged me to launch Balance Personal Fitness Training more than five years ago, knowing that I was seeking a way to connect with women and share my passion for health.  She was one of the first to sign up for the inaugural Balance Virtual Bootcamp last Spring, despite her weakening body.  Her unfailing cheerleading for my entrepreneurial endeavors will be sorely missed.  She had a PhD in Chemistry, and her enthusiasm for my work felt like validation from a fellow intellectual.

Because 2000 miles separate our homes, I could not attend her funeral this past weekend.  Instead, I ran my long run during the time her life was being celebrated by so many others who knew and loved her.  I burst into tears more than once as I ran, willing myself to listen to my breath and feel my footfalls. To embrace the physical challenge of really feeling my body and all it can do is, in fact, the reason why I run.  The irony is smacking.

I’m terribly sad– and, frankly quite angry– that my friend is gone.  I will continue to replay the tapes of our conversations in my mind.  To hold on to her voice, to hear her encouragement, and to live with as much grace as she did is how I will continue to deal with this tremendous loss.

Good health and great happiness to you.

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