So I have everything set up, and I don’t normally do two posts in one day, but this is very important to me. That photograph above is my favorite picture of my mom and I. It’s the last picture I have of us together. I share a story that I never though would be my life. I remember watching movies and wondering how people ever made it though these experiences. I never imagined any of the things in my life would happen to me, but through it all running has helped me grow and reflect on so many different aspects of my life, that without it, I don’t even know where I would be today.
I have decided to do the Avon Los Angeles 2 Day Breast Cancer Walk. This is 39 miles in 2 days throughout the Long Beach Area. In order to take part, I need to raise sufficient funds. I know how important Breast Cancer research is since I was personally affected by losing my mother when I was 20. When I say that, I still can’t believe it’s true.
My sophomore year of high school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was on and off treatment including chemotherapy and radiation all throughout my high school and beginning of my college years. She was never horribly sick, but she was tired, and took many more naps and cut back on her 40 hour work weeks volunteering at the Christian school I went to growing up. If any of you ever met my mom, you would know instantly that she was a fighter. She was so stubborn and she bullied the cancer to have her life stay as consistent as it was before she was diagnosed. She did it for our family, and she did it for herself.
I went to many doctor appointments with her, and once I moved away to college, we became very close. This time where we were a little bit farther a part allowed us so much growth. I really remember talking to my mom daily on the phone while at college and how much closer we became. It also really allowed me to see the core of my mom, the person she was, her beliefs, her thoughts, and her wishes and it made me see who I wanted to become.
In March of 2006, the doctor came back after some testing and told her and my father that she had three to six months to live. It’s hard to type that, because I didn’t realize how quickly the time would go. I never thought my mom would become a statistic. A short three weeks later she passed away. I spent those last three weeks in an abyss of artificial smiles and complete confusion. I had no idea what was happening, or how I would handle everything, and once the reality hit, she was already gone.
I was exhaustively lost after that happened. I had been running every year in high school and off and on in college. I completely stopped running. I stopped functioning. I couldn’t get one foot to go in front of the other, none the less make my legs follow. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. Everything had lost flavor and I had lost interest in life.
One day, I decided that it was time that I stop wallowing in my confused state, and get my life back together. I was still going to school at the time, and decided that I had to finish out the semester, after dropping one class. I finished my 18 units, and the summer began, but I was still very lost.
I felt like I didn’t want to run because it was something I did when my mom was alive. Though I absolutely hated her at my cross country races, and I hated her watching me run track, and even hated her watching me sit the bench while on the soccer team, I wanted her there for me, and she couldn’t be. I wanted to know she would be there when I got home from my run. I wanted to see her again and I felt like running was something that I couldn’t do again, because it wasn’t apart of me anymore. I didn’t want to do something that brought me so much joy when my mom was gone.
It came to me one morning. I needed it. I wanted it still. I wanted the consistency, and I wanted the control. This was when I went out once again, and found the comfort of the road under my feet. The first run I completed after she passed was a short three miler, and once I got under the cover of the brush around me, I broke down and just cried as I ran, but nothing had ever felt so good. I had consistency again, I had a path in front of me, and I had something that no one could ever take away from me.
I had breath in my lungs and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I just ran. I allowed myself to hurt, and to feel again, and I allowed myself to think. To think about the changes, about the future, I allowed myself to move forward. It was a time of thinking, reflecting and dreaming. After that run, I didn’t run again for a while, life got in the way, but since then, I have realized that running through the hardest times in your life, gives you something that you control. You can do it. You can come back to it. You can make a change, but you have to choose too.
So granted, I also went to counseling, and did a lot of prayer during this time, obviously, but I know, without running the biggest transition of my life wouldn’t have led me to the story I have today, to the outlook I have today, or the attitude I have today. So many people tell me they are so sorry, and I am sorry too, but I can’t change that, and I am lucky that I got to see a great example of what I want to become one day, and learn so many life lessons at such a young age.
Sometimes I look back at my short life thus far, and think about things that could have changed, or could be different, but I know that God had this all happen for a reason, so I got it to take it and run with it. :) In this case, I’ll be walking, 39 miles in two days, to make a difference. Thanks for supporting and listening.
At the Avon Walk, I hope to bring awareness to this disease and I hope you can donate in my mom’s honor. You can visit my ‘personal page’ for donation by clicking on the pink button below, or on the one that looks like it on my sidebar.