Here we are down to the last 24 hours to the day I had set aside for you. It seemed fitting that I would run in the first paramedic 1/2. What a journey of grief it has been, JP. For 3 years I have been gently trying to find you to apologize but at the same time I did not want to disrupt your happy family. You wife and your two daughters the same age as mine. The old girlfriend should not just show up on your doorstep and possibly make things difficult for you. I wanted to run into you naturally that is why I kept telling my old friends if they ever saw you to tell you to call me. I thought it would happen that way. I wanted to say sorry for our previous visit so that I could change the memory of that look on your face when I told you I'm sorry I do not think back on those times as they were not good memories for me. You face when I said that will not leave my memory. I wanted to see you again to say it was not you I was trying to erase....the words came out wrong. It was the rest of it. What I should have said was thank you JP for being there for me in my young years. You were safe. You were kind. You took me out of my house. You saved me because you listened. You were good to me.
The news of your death was something I will never ever forget. Your smell of cigarettes and youth blew past me the moment I was told. Then I remembered what you told me behind my parents house all those years ago. You were on my left. You did not look at me when you told me what happened to you.
I should have gone to your place. I should have phoned you. I thought you had a happy life. If I had known I would have come for you. I would have taken you running. I would have brought you a skateboard and taken you outside to help you remember you who are. I would not have judged you. You were gentle. You never said a bad word about anybody. I should have checked in on you.
I have tried to honour you since the news. I Sweat, I danced, I sang, I sat by the fires, I passed tobacco, I smudged, I listened to the Elders and I prayed to God. I talked to my husband, my wonderful loving husband. I talked to my friends who knew you until some of them started to avoid me. People can only stand so much grief I guess.
I am sorry I did not find you. I am sorry that I did not follow my intuition.
Tomorrow I will run in the traditional way for you. May my spirit connect with your spirit one last time before letting you go and leaving this place of grief behind. I will never forget you. You are free.
was grateful to arrive at the event with Bob beside me wearing his kilt and 'gorilla shoes". I think he stood out more which was a relief because although I was in traditional dress I did not want to be noticed.
Setting out I knew I had 2 - 2 1/2 hours to honour his memory. the race had to be run the way it should yet I didn't want this time to end. I settled into a comfortable steady pace. I thought of him the entire time. I listened to the songs, felt my surroundings. I saw a lady running with a paper heart pinned on her back with the word Dad in the centre. I had Jerry's picture on my back. I set in to her left and ran beside her for some time until it was time to pull away. Usually I will make a point of talking with people who are running for a loved one. Today I did not talk with anyone.
The last mile was approaching and something changed. It was as though I could feel his spirit.... or maybe it was my own spirit. Maybe it was just the feeling of being a little bit crazy for running for 2 hours and 8 minutes in deep thought. Maybe it was endorphins. Whatever it was I could now feel a pull and it felt like I was running after him or running faster in encouragement....sort of like taking a running start before you do a long jump or something. The run was coming to an end. The place I had been in since hearing the news of his death was coming to an end too. I ran him though the finish and felt him leaving. I was overwhelmed with emotion and dashed though the finish crying in that tortured way you sometimes see in other people's faces when they cry. Nice. I hope they didn't capture that in the finishing photos. This moment ended abruptly with someone putting a medal around my neck and the race director giving me a high five. With that it was all over. It was time to not look back. The dead need to stay with the dead and the living need to be with the living.