I did a 5k run this past weekend. I used to run a lot but after hurting my back, I’ve been on a break for about 5 years. I’m one of those few people who actually loves to run. So this summer I laced back up, knowing that running is cheaper than therapy, and a serious help in the butt reduction department.
I ramped up my running 13 years ago after my father passed away. Again, using the running is cheaper than therapy approach I put one foot in front of the other for Km after Km, eventually completing a marathon, trying to manage the grief that overwhelmed me.
During that marathon, around mile 18, I suffered from a major panic attack. I was overcome by the realization that my dad was gone, really, really gone. And no matter how far I ran, he was never coming back. It was a powerful moment. It sucked the breath right out of my chest. I actually wondered if I’d be able to carry on.
I finally caught my breath. Finished the race. Slowly but surely started to feel better.
This little 5k should have felt like a little run in the park, but about 3k in, I had a very similar experience.
There was a dad and 2 daughters there, cheering on their Mom. There were signs obviously made by the kids. They were jumping and cheering. They were so ‘normal’.
Now I see kids and families and people all the time. There was no reason for this particular family to stand out.
But they did. And I felt that crushing pain in my chest that I haven’t felt since that sunny day in May in Vancouver when I was running that marathon.
I thought “She’s never going to be just like other kids. She may never be able to write a sign like that. She may never be able to run with me (williams syndrome kids sometimes have a hard time with balance and sure-footedness).It just makes me so friggin’ sad.”
Huh. I certainly wasn’t expecting that.
So I took a deep breath and let a little reality sink in. I can’t run Williams Syndrome away from her. It is what it is and what will be will be. I have no way of knowing what that is until she grows and develops and becomes whoever she is destined to be.
I can’t control this. I can’t make it go away. I can’t make it better.
I was kind of embarrassed about the tears streaming down my face as I ran the 3rd Km. I hadn’t noticed them starting. But I sucked it up. I wiped them away, finished the run, took a deep breath.
I can only do the best I can. At the end of the day (or the end of the run) it’s all any of us can do.