Five half-marathons, four 5k races, three sprint triathlons, two 10k races, and one full marathon. All in one year, and all in memory of someone who never knew she was strong.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Bursting Into Life
I listen to KBCO in the morning. For those who aren’t Denverites, KBCO is probably the most popular radio station in town. It is out of Boulder and plays an eclectic mix of “World Class Rock”, including new stuff, old stuff, and some jazz and hippie music thrown in for good measure. I like the morning DJ, Bret Saunders, and he is part of my commute almost every day.
This morning, he played “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol. That song came out a little over four years ago, and while it was played over and over again back then, it had been quite awhile since I’d heard it. When it played in my car this morning, a tsunami-style flood of memories hit me and took me by surprise. I looked in the mirror to see a well-put together, happy, excited-for-the-future person with mysterious tears slipping from beneath her severely trendy aviator sunglasses.
At the time of my mom’s accident, Mike and I had been dating for a little over a year. I was in shock and so sad and he had no idea how to handle me and what I’d become. (Does anyone?) I didn’t know how to handle me either. He kept asking me what he could do to help me or to make me feel better, and I alternated between getting mad at him or telling him to leave me alone, and telling him to listen to the words of this song, because it seemed like the only thing that soothed me. All I wanted was for him to lie there with me and sit silently while I tried to forget and pretend it had never happened. For an engineer-type who is used to being able to repair things, this was really hard for him to do. For me, all those months of trying to forget and not deal with how I felt added up to a lot of misplaced anger and slacking at work and ignoring my friends in the months that followed. Mike and I struggled, too, and almost didn’t make it. And all I could give him were the lyrics of this song, telling him that if we just waited it out and hung on to each other we could maybe get through. Maybe.
Over four years later, I can hear that song and marvel at where I am. I used to sit in my car crying and playing it over and over again, thinking I would never feel like a real person again, that I had become permanently handicapped by sadness. The song became a catalyst for my pain. I used to think that I was broken forever and the hurt would just be a part of me for the rest of my life, along with the wine binges and overeating and fat rolls and stretchy clothes and overall bad attitude that accompanied that brokenness. What I understand today is how much I have healed and grown. I miss my mom so much every day and there are certainly scars, but I am whole and living and succeeding again. I thought it was over once, that I was orphaned by the only person who possibly understood me, and that the only good advice I was given on how to feel better was in the form of some, let’s admit it, fairly general, lyrics spilling from the radio. If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world. It actually is true what they say; they are clichés for a reason. Time heals, life goes on, pain subsides. And while I still want to lay back and enjoy quiet time with the man who helped me get through, I no longer wish to forget the world. I want to bask in it.