Since my mom passed away, running has been harder for me. It’s hard to find the time. It’s hard to get away. She used to watch the kids while my husband and I went to races.
Plus it’s near impossible to run and cry at the same time. I learned that after one of my best friends, Carol, died. It’s like you are having an asthma attack. You need air to run and when you cry, it’s like your air gets suspended somewhere inside your chest. It gets held up in the grasp of despair. Grief. Sadness. You hold it in your chest to pay homage to the one that has passed. Their breath suspended for eternity. Yours for a brief moment until the force of persistent life draws it back. Back to life. From the brink.
In those moments, perpetual movement ceases. That’s kind of not the goal of running, but it is the goal of death. Movement ceases. Breathing ceases. Existence ceases. In some ways since my mom died, I haven’t caught my breath entirely. Somehow it still remains locked up in my chest. To even begin to run causes my chest to heave, my lungs to constrict, the tears to sit just inside the lids. Waiting to spill. Again. And Again.
People die. I know this. I’ve seen this. I know how to compartmentalize this. I thought I would do a better job of this. In most aspects of my external life, I have. It’s the moments of being totally alone and inside my head, during the run, that seems to be a place I can’t hold back the grief. It’s on the run that the emotions spill over. How silly I must look doubled over on the side of the trail in heaving sobs!
I’d like to untangle the memories of my mom, her death, from my run. It’s the breath. The breath is why I can’t do that yet. She said, I can’t breathe. And she couldn’t. She couldn’t breathe. I breathed for her. Briefly. Not for long. But long enough to know. My breath would not be enough for her. I tried to breathe her back to life. There wasn’t enough breath in me. Running brings back that memory for me. All I hear in my ears is my breath. And it’s never going to be enough.