I love you so much. Four and a half months later, I cry less but I miss you more. I sit in your nursery when I can’t sleep until I can convince myself that I hear you.
My mind tells me you’re lost but my soul knows otherwise; I can feel you with me everyday.
Five years ago, hours before Mom and I drove 2,000 miles from Chicago to San Diego, we ran the Chicago Half Marathon. It was your Mom’s idea. When we started training, I couldn’t even run one mile without throwing up. Somehow, miraculously, we were able to work up to our 13.1 mile goal by September 2009. Crossing the finish line was an accomplishment I’ll always remember.
A few weeks after you passed away, Mom found another half marathon for us to run in your honor – the Celebration Run. I knew I wanted to do this even though it meant starting from scratch again. And, just as expected, running that first mile was a doozy. After working up to a couple miles, “Aunt” Meg sent over a running program with long weekend runs. Sunday’s were 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. Oy.
Sometimes I’m pretty sure you’re with me and other times it’s simply undoubtable. Setting out for the 3 mile run, I had my gps app and spotify playlist all queued up. Just as I started moving, my phone froze. The apps kept closing and none of my songs would play. Irritated, I turned it off and ran with no mind numbing distractions. During this run, my gasping for air was so loud that I couldn’t ignore it; it was clear, unmuffled. Struggling up hills and trying with all might not to stop, it hit me. Each breath I gasped for were breaths you couldn’t take. These were breaths I was privileged to gasp. I decided that each inhale and exhale were for you. Not only would I train to run the race for you, I would take each breath along the way for you. You were strategically reminding me why I was doing this.
I continue to feel you with me every mile. Sometimes I even picture myself carrying you in your ergo while I run. There is something undeniable about how working myself to physical exhaustion takes attention away from mental chatter and towards something greater. It takes me to a place closer to you where I can hold you again, just like I did on May 13th. Recently, I’ve been so exhausted after my runs that I notice myself talking out loud. Paying closer attention, I’m talking to you. How much I love you, how I want to be a good dad to you and a good husband to mom. It’s in times like these that you don’t seem lost at all.
I’ll run with you always. Please don’t stop letting me hold you.