My fledgling attempt to send a weekly email met the month of June.
17 Beats. And that was all she wrote.
But we got a fabulous start to summer this year - two weeks in Tennessee, making memories with both sides of the family, and then back home we’ve had a revolving door for family visitors. There is a particular kind of anchoring found the love and care of family, and while I am grateful for the ways technology and travel have helped preserve and grow these relationships, the physical distance is real. Alaska is far away. These weeks of cousins playing together in the backyard and playmobil and nerf guns scattered all over the living room floor have been a gift and I’m sorry to see the end.
June is a month of life-changing calendar markers for me. This year David and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary and marked 14 years since the car accident. That car accident continues to be not just something that happened to me one time, but rather an ongoing challenge in daily details of my life. It is true that we found new normal and have been living it well for a long time, but the work is real.
Last week David and I ran the Running Free 4 Miler. We have a friend who coaches women inmates in the Running Free Alaska program and this race supports their need for good running shoes and bras. David and I first ran this race last year and it easily became one of my favorites (I have two). This route winds back into a restricted area of the prison where women behind bars cheer us on and a few others work the water station.
It’s a tremendous experience to run through that space. I don’t take my ability to run for granted - I have been sidelined for varieties of reasons throughout my life. And par for the course, I’ve been fighting a weird knee pain lately. So as I ran the route last week I was keenly aware of the steps I was taking and the choices I was making to move my body toward the finish line. I paced myself slower than my competitive self wants to run, working diligently to run the race and finish well. As I ran along the prison fence, raising my hand in thanks to the women on the other side cheering us on, I was struck by our shared humanity. We are all journeying together through this thing called life.
A couple miles later I crossed the finish line and reached for a half banana. Grief is a complex beast, but when a friend took our picture and I raised my banana to mark the day, my smile was the real deal. Courage. Resilience. Hope. And so much gratitude.
That night, before crawling into bed, I paused to listen to John O'Donahue read Beannacht.
When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.
(I snapped this picture last night and yes. that's the sun. but we don't see much of the moon these days.)