The Process

August 25th, 2011. 6:45 AM. I get a call from my Aunt Judi. She mistakenly calls me when she wants my Dad. I get the news. My Aunt Joanne has passed away.

The news hits me hard, but because I’m still sleepy, I don’t really absorb it. It’s not until later, after I’ve woken up, that I realize I will never see my Aunt Joanne again. I knew this day was coming, but I wasn’t ready for it. You see, in July, we received news that she only had 2 months to live. After a 7 year battle with breast cancer, it had finally taken a grip too tight to fight anymore. The family reunion had a somewhat sombre mood about it this year. Everyone knew it was going to be the last time we all gather with her still here.

My parents were already in Virginia. They had tried to get there to see her one last time. They arrived 10 minutes late. But, they were there for the family, and like my Mom said, that’s what’s most important. My brother was off working somewhere in Ohio (I lose track of where he is), and I was home alone. I had one day off before I had to head into work. But that day off wasn’t really like a day off. I was running around, cleaning (because that is what I do when I’m stressed), and taking care of the dogs. This was my Thursday. The day I should have been able to have time to grieve, but I didn’t give myself the chance. It sucks being alone during times like that.

Friday, I head into work for a 12 hour work day. I have no time to think about grieving. I didn’t give myself a chance to slow down, even on my breaks. I just kept going. I get home, I take the dogs on a short walk, think about running, give up on that thought and go to bed. I’m too tired to think at this point.

Saturday, I go in for a normal 8 hour work day. I keep myself busy. I don’t want to think about my Aunt Joanne being gone. So I don’t. I get home, run, and spend lots of time outside with the dogs. Still not thinking. Still alone.

Sunday, I have to work for another 12 hours. Once again, I keep myself busy and occupied. I think about everything but my Aunt Joanne. It’s too hard to think about while I’m still alone. I get home, and I got straight to bed.

Monday, I go in for a normal 8 hour day, but end up having to work 12. I stay busy. I don’t think. I am just numb by this point. I get home, and I stay up and wait for my mom and dad to get back home. Jordan returned while I was at work. Mom and Dad get in around 9:30 and we eat and plan for the next day.

Tuesday, I get off thanks to bereavement. I go shopping with Mom and Jordan for clothes for the viewing and the funeral. We spend way too much time running around, but we tried Piada (amazing!) and had a good time. At this point, I’m still not prepared to see my Aunt Joanne in a casket. But I act like I am. I know I never gave myself a chance to cry and grieve, but no one else does. And that’s how I wanted it. We all get home and Dad heads to the funeral home while Mom, Jordan, and I are busy getting ready. We get there, and the first thing I do is try to avoid going into the room with my Aunt Joanne. I go to the kitchen to put some food out for the younger kids. I say hi to some people, and then Mom and I head in. I wasn’t prepared at all. I took one look at her and lost it. I couldn’t keep it in anymore. I had to cry. My Dad comes over and holds me for a little bit. I knew then that I should have given myself a chance to cry before. Not that it would have stopped me then, but at least it would have given me a more private chance to mourn the loss of my beloved Aunt.

Tuesday, I spend lots of time crying and hugging and crying some more. I try to steal my cousin Jennifer (Joanne’s daughter) away for a minute, but can’t. So I resolve to sharing her that day. She has grown into such an amazing young woman… I can’t believe it. After the viewing, my Aunt Judi, Uncle Todd, their four children, Jennifer, my brother, and I all go to Raising Caines. It was a blast. So good to laugh after a tough viewing.

Wednesday, I go back to the funeral home with my Mom and Dad for the funeral. My brother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece all come a little later. Things get crazy with 6 and a half people trying to get ready all at once in the morning. There is more crying and hugging. We say our final goodbye’s. Again, I lose it. It’s devastating watching this. We all head to the church for the service and then on to the luncheon. The food was amazing. And I was starving. And it was wonderful to socialize. After that, we head to the cemetery to lay her to rest. It was so hard hearing her 12 year old son, James, say that he never wanted to leave. He has also grown into such an amazing young man. When our cousin Caroline was crying, he went up and put his arms around her to comfort her. Now, this is totally out of character for him. John, the other 12 year old son, has also grown up into an incredible young man.

But now, my Aunt Joanne is running around her very own 100 Acre Woods, riding rides in her very own Magical Kingdom, and making potions in her very own Hogwarts. And while she is there, she is also always with us. With me. She is a part of each and every person she has met. She has left a legacy that will be remembered for decades to come. She will be missed every day.

Aunt Joanne, I love you so much. I am so glad that we got one last phone call. I’ll try my hardest to get back into scrapbooking… Although I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as you. I’ll think of your often. I’ll miss you more than you can imagine. I’ll do my best to keep the family get-togethers organized. I’ll go out and run for a cure. Run for hope. Run for a chance at life. Run for you.

I love you. I miss you.

Sleepless Nights

What! Two posts in one week! I’m on a roll! Haha.

So I can’t sleep. I should be able to. Haven’t slept much for the past two nights. Probably my wacky schedule. So what do I do when I can’t sleep? Bother mom. And organize things. And drink tea. And apparently write blog posts about not being able to sleep.

I’ve had a lot thrown on my plate these past couple of weeks. And something is going to have to give. Right now, it’s sleep. But soon, I will be much less stressed. So I will be able to sleep more. I mean, I have some pretty major life-changing decisions to make eventually. Like, what am I going to actually do with my life? Wait a minute… I think I’ve written about this before… Moving on then.

So that big purge that was supposed to happen? Yeah… Not quite yet. My days off were quite eventful. So I didn’t want to waste time on getting clothes all packaged up for Goodwill and whatnot. But I do have a vision for my room. A more complete vision that is… It will eventually be perfect. And then I’ll probably change my mind again. That’s what always happens. Haha.

I need to stop buying books. I think I may have a serious problem. Like, I have no time to read, but I want to buy more and more and more. Now, most of the books at the top of my “buy” list are classics that I either have read before and loved or know I will love. Or are the next book in a series. I also keep an eye out for a good cookbook or two. Haven’t found any lately though. Maybe I should try cooking out of one of the ones I already have first… Oh yeah. I don’t have the time for that right now. Sheesh. My days really are packed…

Wake up at 5, leave for work at 5:40, work 7-3, get home at 4, snack, run, eat, bathe, go to bed by 9. Yup. That’s pretty much my day… Busy, busy, busy.

Looking around my room as I type this, I’m beginning to form a list in my head of things I need to do on my day off. Cleaning this up and finding a new place for things (since I’m ever so slightly ADD) is certainly on there. And getting rid of about 1/5 of it too. Oh yes. Next weekend will be a good one for Goodwill. Ooo… And sanding down the mirror that I got at that yardsale and repainting it. And cleaning my car inside and out. And… OK. I’ll stop there.

Well, this was a rambly post. Oh well. This is what happens when I can’t sleep! Haha!

The Great Purge

I’m going through a purging phase. It started today. I’ve been purging things from my computer and my iPhone. Like, everything. Music, apps, friends on Facebook, old papers, ect. It feels so freeing getting rid of a bunch of stuff you don’t want anymore. Or need. I should have probably focused on my physical possessions first… But I’m feeling lazy today. So I did what I could with just sitting down in front of my computer. I’ll tackle my clothes and whatnot next weekend. Yeah. That sounds like a plan.

Now you should know, when I purge, I really purge. I think I deleted about half of my music… Which now means I am looking for new stuff. I’m in a rock kind of phase. Like, the good classic stuff. Think Poison and Alice Cooper. But I’m also really into country. Like, today’s country. Which isn’t real country if you ask me. I don’t know why, but this summer has had some spectacular country songs. Oh, and a little bit of Irish punk rock. So I have to go and find some music! I already got a new station on Pandora for Flogging Molly and another one for 2ne1. Who is none of the above, but I’m still really enjoying. Maybe I’ll go through my phone’s contacts and delete some of those too… Now, I’m off to do more purging!

13.1

As those of you on Facebook already know, I am training for my very first half-marathon. This is going to be the first step in my journey to completing triathlons. This year, I’ll be running the Columbus Half-Marathon, next year I will be running the full Columbus Marathon. The following year, I hope to be a part of a relay team for a triathlon, and then doing a whole one by myself the year after that. Yes. I am crazy. I know. But I’ve come to learn a lot about myself through this week of training I’ve already done.

What have I learned? Well, I remembered why I loved running so much in middle school and high school. I remembered what it felt like to run without a big brace on my knee or not being able to walk afterwards. I remembered the free feeling I get while running where I want and how fast I want and how long I want. I remembered the push I get at the end to finish strong. I remembered getting too hot to continue, getting sick, getting hurt, but loving it nonetheless. I remembered how much thinking I got done. I remembered my first run across Hargus dam and having the rookie prank pulled on me (I got “shoved” down the hill… I obviously didn’t actually fall, but it gave me a heart attack). I remembered running up the boat ramp to the lake. I remembered running around the lake and getting hit by a large branch that came swinging out of no where. I remembered finally getting into the top 6 on my team on the hottest race of the year. I remembered the disappointment when I couldn’t run my first couple of years of high school. I remembered replacing it with tennis and loving tennis. I remembered mom’s pepperoni rolls and forgetting how much I loved running. I remembered running again my senior year and struggling with vocal cord dysfunction. I remembered running again in college, only to be deterred by a hairline fracture on my foot. Then again by a soft tissue tear.

I have had to relearn a lot of things too. Basic form, how to pace myself, breathing patterns, ect. But it is so worth it. I love the feeling I get while running. And after running. I always feel so… Confident. Strong. Incredible. It’s an amazing feeling. You see, when I feel confident, I stress and worry less. I am a woman, I stress and worry a lot. But, now, I just go for a run and my head is clear. I get things sorted out. I feel calm and peaceful.

There are a few things that have made my training so much easier. The biggest one is my dad. He is always there telling me how awesome I am and how he is so proud of me. We’re doing this together and I am learning a lot from him. He’s such a huge encouragement. My mom is also telling me all the time just how amazed she is at how well I am doing, especially so recently after a foot surgery. She doesn’t realize I get a lot of my crazy and orneriness strength and determination from her, as well as dad. You could say both of them are a little… Stubborn… Haha. And then there is Sam. Sam is a great friend of mine who I look up to in more ways than one. He’s been encouraging me in ways that family members can’t. When your mom tells you you’re awesome, it just doesn’t sink in. When a friend tells you the same thing, you are king of the world. His simple act of “liking” my post on Facebook or his comment can just get me so pumped. I don’t know why, but his comments and “likes” have had a powerful impact on me.

So now join me on my journey to completing the 13.1 miles I will be running on October 16th. It will be a crazy ride. The extreme heat has taken it’s toll on me and I know my runs can only improve from here, but I will also still have a bad run or two before the race. And I’m OK with that. Because at least I am running again. I am finally back to being me. And being me is a great thing for me to be.