Friday, July 17, 2009

so, yeah...

so last time on this station, we were contemplating what comes next in the plan for me...what I could take on to stretch myself, and challenge myself physically, and somehow, slowly, start me back on track for that big goal of mine that I have been avoiding lately... and then, well, life hit me. It hit full on, hard.

It hit all of us in my family last month, when my mother-in-law got sick and ended up in the hospital unexpectedly. Then it hit even harder when she passed away less than three weeks later. Stage Four stomach cancer was the official cause of death. But strangely, we really don't feel like we ever had a chance to fight the cancer, since her system was so weakened by it by the time it was diagnosed that she never stabilized enough for us to come up with a treatment plan or strategy. Ultimately, it was too late for her. Our only solace is that we had enough time with her to tell her we loved her, to thank her for all that she had done for us, and in the end, she didn't suffer, she wasn't in pain, and she knew that she was loved.

And now, our lives are in an upheaval, and the least of my worries are the extra 30 pounds I've been trying to drop for the last three years. If only that was the biggest thing on my mind right now. My kids are devastated, my husband is at a total loss, and my father-in-law is adrift without his partner of nearly 43 years, although we all acknowledge that he doesn't fully realize it yet. And my biggest support system is gone. I've always maintained that I can't do the job that I have without her, and now that she is no longer a part of our lives, I'm not sure how to move forward. My most major concern is keeping everyone balanced, allowing and encouraging them to grieve as they need, to but not letting it overshadow their entirety. We have to honor her at the same time that we move forward.

So my priorities have shifted, to say the least. And after running every day in June, I didn't run for the first two weeks of July. There was too much to think about, too much to do, too much to coordinate with her in the hospital, and family members coming in from out of town, and the kids worried about her but not really wanting to see her with tubes and wires and IV drips attached to her, preferring instead to remember her as she was a few short weeks earlier, and as she will be in their memories. She wanted us to go on our trip to Austin even though she was in the hospital, because she wanted her boys to have a good vacation. And I didn't make it a priority to run while we were down there because I needed to take a break. And when we got back, things had progressed to where there wasn't a chance to go out, or if I had the chance, I didn't take it because I needed to be with my boys or with my husband. And that was the right thing to do at that time.

But on the day after my mother-in-law died, I woke up and needed to go for a run. I needed to clear my head, and process what had just happened and what comes next. And it obviously didn't solve all the problems, but it gave me a little bit of strength to face the day ahead, and a little bit of solace to think about her and all that she had done for me and my kids and my husband in her life.

So what now? I'm not sure. I know traveling for work is going to get tougher. I know it's going to be rough to figure out the next steps. I know I need to focus on what's important, and re-examine and re-evaluate. But I also know that on that list of what's important to me is my running, and my fitness and my health. I need to do that for myself, and for my family. It's all I know how to do right now.


Marissa said...

i'm thinking of you.

TX Runner Mom said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank goodness for running to help clear the mind and destress! Hang in there!