The day my husband left to go visit his parents, his mother had a debilitating seizure that signaled the beginning of the end. A week later, she died.
That night I ran 6 miles. Because that's what a runner does when she's hurting - she runs.
My mother-in-law was not a runner. In fact, I'm pretty sure she thought I was completely, totally, and utterly insane but she never said a word. She would anxiously wait for me to come home from a late night run at the beach - I could visibly see her relax when I walked into the house - but she would never tell me not to go. She never gave an opinion unless it was asked for. She made my favorite foods when we came to visit and could whip up mittens for a winter run in a heartbeat.
She loved me.
She accepted me, 100%, for who I am. She allowed me to have my bratty, immature moments and still loved me. She saw me lose my patience with her son and still loved me. We laughed over the cuteness and silliness of my kids and cried in each other's arms when our visits were over.
I've been grieving and mourning for her, for our relationship, for months now, since they discovered the brain tumors that eventually claimed her life. Deep down, I'm half convinced I signed up for the 50k to have something to focus on. A goal to work towards to help me ignore, forget, and deny the reality of losing someone I love.
I'm not sure how non-runners cope with life. If I couldn't run, I'm not sure what I would do. The treadmill sitting in my basement has been a lifeline during these last few weeks. Late night runs after the kids were in bed. Mid-morning runs after the kids were at school. Even with the funeral chaos and aftermath, I was still able to get in all my miles.
She would have been upset if she thought I was missing miles because of her. So I won't. I will keep running even though I am tired; I will keep running towards the finish line of that 50k - because I know when I do, she will relax and give me that warm smile I so desperately miss.
6, 4, 4, trails, 16