can we skip past near-death clichés where my heart restarts, as my life replays? all i want is to flip a switch before something breaks that cannot be fixed.
6 months, 13 days. That's how long dad has been gone. In these 6 months I have been irrevocably changed as a person. Of course my life has too. The nightmares still come, but there isn't much I can do about that. I just hate waking up to the panic that he is not here.
Now my life is about the before and after.
It is almost surreal that dad was ever in my life for nearly 33 years. I can't remember his voice and that scares me. I literally count the days without him and I fear the future without him in it. He is always in the back of my mind and I think about him constantly even when I am doing something else. My favorite moments these past months, are the ones where people tell me a story about him or just ask me to talk about him. It helps. There is nothing people can say to make this better, but just talking to me about him makes me feel not so isolated.
When I raced in Tempe 2 weeks ago, something was different. I had a shit swim and pretty bleh bike, but instead of letting it translate in to a shit run, I just ran to enjoy it. While I was tired, miserable, and experiencing all the crap long course racing throws at you, I felt gratitude. Could I have been faster? Most definitely. Did I care? Not really. I was just happy to be. I was happy to be there in that moment with my mom and Liz cheering me on and with all the athletes on course. I smiled, I thanked volunteers, and I just enjoyed the moment. When I crossed the finish line, it was just a small smile. A smile for dad, for me, for mom and Kari, for my family (and yes for a big PR too). It's always special to cross a finish line, but this one was just a bit more. When dad was diagnosed last year, a part of me knew how it was going to end. I didn't know how I was going to go on without dad and I didn't think I could. Fear was eating me alive, and while I still feel fear in this post-dad world (see above), I am still living. I would even venture to say that I treasure each day more now. Hence when I was racing all I could feel was gratitude. I got to wake up that morning and do something I love. And as cliche as it is, every time I put on that Fxck Cancer kit I feel pride and like a damn super hero.
I normally hate pictures of me racing, but I love this one. Dad and I used to laugh at my "plodding" since I am not the most gifted runner, so when I saw this I was so excited! I've worked pretty hard at getting better at running, especially this year.
While I am changed forever, a lot of me has changed for the better. I guess this what this crazy life is about. We are here for a fleeting moment, so you might as well be damn grateful for it and continue learn and grow.
Also, happy birthday dad! I went out and bought carrot cake this morning to celebrate!