Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's all in the hands

This is a deep entry, so if you are not in the mood, visit me later. I am sure I'll be back to my happy go-lucky self before I know it.

So here goes. Due to time constraints, I ran by myself on Saturday rather than hooking up with the willi athletic club members. Sometimes I prefer running long distances by myself, I guess I really am an introvert down deep inside. But another reason I enjoy running by myself for a couple of hours is I get to really process or deal with some of my life's issues or demons. And usually these demons are unknown to me until they just sorta come up while I am cruising along on my run. This happened on Sat. am and luckily it was raining so it was unclear to passersby that I was crying.

Here's the story: As some of might remember I have suffered some great losses in my young life. My first love, Jeff, died of brain cancer when he was 32. That was six years ago now. We were still close friends at the time of his death even though we hadn't been together for ten years and both were married to other people. Jeff was an outdoor educator and was very physically active and strong. I mean strong. His hands showed his hard work. They were strong, beat-up, sexy, working-person hands. As a matter of fact, when we were in high school, he suffered an accident while working at a wood mill and almost lost two fingers on his left hand, but luckily they were saved but they were forever swollen and scar-ridden after that.

When he was diagnosed with cancer, he was unable to continue to work. I knew he was sick, but it wasn't until one day while I was bringing him to a doctor's appointment that I really understood how sick he was. Denial is such a strong defense mechanism to keep us safe from the harsh reality of truth. He had been battling cancer for about a year at the time of this appointment and he was sitting next to me in the car. As were we driving along, I stole a look at his hands and I can still remember how stunned I was when I saw his hands. Jeff's hands had completely transformed. They were still big, but they were clean and white and his nails were like regular not all beat up. I remember thinking that even his hands had lost weight. I'll never forget that feeling of doom set over me when I let myself realize how sick he was.

While I was running on Saturday, I was able to remember this lesson and have a little prayer for Jeff and all the people he touched. It is amazing what thoughts creep out while your body is so tired. So while I finished my ten miler in the rain, I let out a good cry missing one of my best friends.


Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Sad indeed, Beth. When you have that time to think, funny thoughts come creepy in. Stuff you thought you had packaged up well. I guess when you get tired, its hard to hold back that stuff. Best to let it out, I think. they it will rest easier from then on.

runliarun said...

I run alone all the time. It's not really hard, since I have never done it differently. I started running 6-7 months ago, and I hardly know any runners.

I use some of the time, always, at least for a mile or two, to tell myself something positive, a little uplifting mantra, a cheerful message, something to be grateful about. Our mind undermines us too much during the day with its ceaseless, over-critical, self-sabotaging, judgmental voices... It's good to actively counteract that a bit.

Sorry for the loss of your friend. He is free, though. When they go, they are free at last. It's us, the ones left behind, who have a hard time.