Thursday, May 9, 2013

Two steps forward, one step back

Making progress, but slow.  After Big Sur I felt pretty good and my mood was really positive.  I had a great race and the joy of running had returned following the horrific events that had occurred in Boston.  I was able to laugh about the crazy antics that surrounded my race and Thursday after work I even went for a short run along the Charles to shake out the legs and get right back at it.  I just did 5 miles and wouldn't you know it Mother Nature was out in full force with some headwinds for me.  I didn't care.  The sun was out and it felt great to just run again. 

Later that night when I got home, after dinner, relaxing on my couch watching some mindless TV, my mom called.  I didn't feel like talking to her so I let it go to voicemail.  She left a message but didn't say much, just asked me to call her back.  Still exhausted from the weekend I really didn't feel like hearing her tell me what a great time she had, completely oblivious to the fact that I didn't share the same experience.  Moments later she updated her facebook status (this is a new thing for her, she's still sort of figuring it out), my grandmother had passed away.  I called her back immediately.

Alice Marie Burdwood - or Gram/Grammy to me was 90 years old and the last time I saw her she did not know who I was or where she was and she seemed frightened and confused.  That is not how I want to remember her.  I will remember sleeping over when I was younger and going to yard sales with her and then eating lunch with my Grampa after.  I will remember that she made the best chocolate chip cookies in the world and gave me a tin full of them every year for Christmas.  I will remember awkward moments when she would blurt out inappropriate things in conversations.  I will remember that spending time with her always made me feel loved when I often felt no one cared about me growing up.  I'd like to think that she is in a happy place now and no longer frightened and confused.  She is with my grandfather and my uncle, the son she lost way before his time should have been up.  They can all make up for lost time here on Earth in some other place beyond the grave.

The weekend went by in a blur.  I was so busy, which is probably a good thing because it didn't allow me to stop and think too much and get upset or overwhelmed.  Friday I went home and baked a cheesecake for the wine tasting that I was having Saturday.  I didn't sleep much Friday night because I kept having nightmares that police SWAT teams and bomb Squads were in my house.  Saturday morning I got up early and drove my friend Steve to the airport, he was invited by Dick's Sporting Goods to participate in the Pittsburgh Marathon because he was one of the many that did not get to finish the Boston Marathon.  Such an incredible opportunity and an amazing show of support from the running community.  He got full VIP treatment along with about 35 other runners.

When I left the airport I texted Kim to see if she was interested in running.  She was running in Dunstable with Nutter and Erin so I met them there.  They were planning to run 9 miles, but I couldn't go that far because I had just done a marathon the week before.  I figured I could just go out and back and run with them for a little bit.  It was the first time I had run with them in several weeks and I was kind of looking forward to catching up.  We started running and they took off leaving me in their dust.  I knew I would be slower and the route was really hilly so that didn't help, but I didn't think I was so slow that they wouldn't run with me for a few miles.  They stopped at intersections to wait for me and then took off again chatting and enjoying the run.  I wanted to run with friends and talk and get back to normal.  Instead I just felt defeated and alone.  After 2 miles I gave up and turned around and went home. 

The rest of the day I had to clean my house and prepare for the wine tasting.  I took a short nap in the afternoon and then waited for friends to arrive.  One by one I got text messages and emails of last minute cancellations.  Instead of a full house and not enough seats and wine glasses to go around it was a small gathering of 4 friends.  It was really fun and the cheesecake was a hit - Cappuccino Fudge with Kahlua ganache, pretty ridiculous actually.  We had a white merlot I brought back from California, a malbec, two ports and a sherry, then a little 'liquid gold' that my friend Nestor brought.  It was a delicious port that was very inky and almost chewy.  After everyone left I tried to stay awake to watch the news and SNL, but I didn't make it.  Even the chocolate covered coffee beans couldn't keep me awake.  I fell asleep.
Sunday, I sort of wanted to go for a run, it was beautiful out, but instead I relaxed on the couch the entire day.  The wine may have had something to do with my lack of motivation.  I did eventually get up and go grocery shopping, but then went right back to my horizontal position on the couch.  In the evening I had to pick Steve up from the airport.  His whirlwind tour of Pittsburgh was done.  It was so fun to hear all about it and I brought him a slice of the cheesecake to celebrate.  Crazy that in about 36 hours he flew, ran, and flew back.  And he got a ton of free stuff too.  It's so nice that the race did that and I've heard that several other races are doing similar things for other runners.  I hope everyone gets a chance to finish their race in VIP style like Steve.

Monday, work went by fast.  I got an email from my mom informing me that my grandmother would be buried the next day.  I went for a run after along the Charles and bumped into my Reach the Beach team captain.  Before that I passed a whole bunch of news vans on Memorial drive.  I stopped to ask them what was up and they said the building they were all staked out in front of was the apartment of one of the bombing suspects.  I kind of wish I didn't ask.  I was feeling really good and starting to return to sort of normal routine and now another reminder of horrible events I was a distant witness to.  Add in the loss of my grandmother and the associated family drama and my mood went into a nasty downward spiral.

Tuesday I took a bereavement day from work to drive to Portland for the burial.  Before I left I went for a run.  I was going to just do 3-4 miles and I ended up doing 7 and I wanted to just keep running, but I had to shower and get dressed and drive the 90 minutes to my mom's house.  I got to Portland and stopped for coffee and bought some flowers.  The burial service was really short and very awkward.  I haven't seen or spoken to my aunts in over a decade.  I didn't want to talk to them because it was their choice to not have a proper service and visiting hours at the funeral home.  I walked around and chatted with some of my mom's friends that had come to show support for her.  Afterwards my mom had everyone over her house.

The whole day everyone asked me about the marathon and the bombings and where I was and what it was like and I had to re-hash the story over and over again all while trying to grieve for my grandmother, but not really because mentally she died a long time ago and only really recently left us physically.  Emotional would be a drastic understatement to describe the day, but somehow it seemed disconnected too as if it wasn't happening to me or I wasn't allowing myself to really experience the emotions.  I resisted it all.  Maybe in an attempt to protect myself and prevent further trauma, but I failed.  I feel like I am right back where I was 3 weeks ago and completely numb and stuck in limbo again.  Not sleeping and overwhelmed with feelings of depression, loneliness, fear, anxiety, stress, tension, etc.
I am trying really hard to focus forward and think about all the really fun stuff I have planned in the next few weeks, but struggling to focus on anything at all.  Trapeze School tomorrow, Reach the Beach Relay next weekend, Run to Remember half marathon Memorial day weekend, Mount Washington Road race in June.  Never mind work and friends and just day to day stuff like cooking myself dinner or even wanting to eat anything at all.  I have to stay positive and keep moving forward to avoid getting stuck here.  I brought my things to go for a run after work today.  It's supposed to rain, but I don't care maybe that will wash away my stress and help me feel refreshed and renewed.

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