It has taken me almost two weeks to write this post. Initially I promised more information on why I was on a country road running 17 miles in March. On October 18th everything came back to me on a shorter 10 mile run and I remembered that I owed a post on the subject.
October 18, 2014 was the one year anniversary since the death of my brother-in-law, Greg. The reason I was on that 17 mile run 7 months ago was that I was training for a marathon in memory of Greg. One of the few passions that we had shared was our love/hate relationship with running. Greg died of a massive heart attach while out on a run. A run that he had completed countless times over the last 30 or so years.
There is no context for how the deceased feel about dying but it sucks for the living. To deal with being left to survive, we find ways to express our grief or comfort ourselves. For me and several others that comfort came from preparing to run in memory of Greg. Below is a group photo of runners and supporters at the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon.
So 11 days ago I am on a ten mile run on the anniversary of Greg’s passing. It didn’t occur to me until about half way through the run and I started thinking about it. That day, minutes before he died, Greg decided to go for a run as he did on many days. He tied up his laces, probably put on his goofy head band and a too short pair of shorts and headed out the door. What occurred to me on my run was that that was Greg’s last run. Wow, I wasn’t prepared for this to be my last run. I wasn’t prepared for my last anything. Everybody is going to have a “last” of everything. We think more about the last breath but how about the last cup of coffee, the last hike, the last ride in a car. those are all things that we will do one final time in our lives. The anxious part of this is that we never know when this will be the last. Is this my last blog post? Have I seen my kids/my parents/my colleagues for the last time? We can’t know and that is more than a little scary.
What I will preach to myself is that every day should be lived as your last. I know that is a tough thing to do because if it was my last day I wouldn’t be sitting at work on my lunch break writing a blog post. I would be out doing great things. One thing I can do though is make all of my connections meaningful. I can remember to say thank you, I love you, take care. I can remember to shut up and listen and I can remember to be supportive. Those things I can commit to and those things may not make my “lasts” any better but the memory of my “lasts” will be more meaningful to the people I love.