I ran this morning and I felt strong. My legs felt strong as they carried me down the trail, my arms felt strong as they pumped by my side. My lungs felt less strong, but they didn’t quit, and that’s a kind of strength, too. And more importantly, my heart and my mind felt strong. I wasn’t thinking “you can’t do this.” When I felt tired I just kept going.
I wrote on Twitter a few days ago that this has been the hardest month of the hardest year of my life. And it has been. My grandmother died last week after a grueling 6 months of being bed-ridden. I got to see her once before she died, and though it was nice to see her, she couldn’t talk, lift her hands, eat solid food, drink all that well, or even maintain eye contact. She’d been dying for 6 months, and I cried all through her funeral. I’m glad her suffering is over, but I miss the grandmother I knew—the one who could garden and cook and make jokes and argue. The one everyone says gave me my stubborn nature.
My aunt Fant is really, really sick. I want to say she’s getting better, but she’s not, not really. She had a heart valve replacement surgery, and then got a staph infection, and she’s just too old and sick to really fight and heal like she should. I don’t want to consider that there might not be anymore caramel cakes, Christmas cookies, or dry, witty barbs about her sister uttered just loudly enough for me to hear.
There’s heartache between my brother and I right now, fear with school, and stress that comes when a 2-income family moves down to a single income. I haven’t been able to find a job yet, and though I interviewed well for a position I fiercely wanted, I was turned down for it. My husband’s car needs $2K worth of work, bills need paying, and it would be so nice to take a weekend-getaway to the mountains.
Things aren’t going like they should be. And it’s one piece of bad news after another. I told my mother in the hospital elevator last week: “I just don’t have the strength for any more bad things.” And she said “I’ve learned that I’m a lot stronger than I think I am. And you are, too.” And though I don’t want to have to be strong, I am. I don’t like any of this, I don’t want to hear anymore bad news come my way.
But if I can run and feel strong, I can do it.