You Can Run Alone!

On Sunday my daughter told me these amazing words. We were signed up to do the Race for the Cure with a group of hers from school. It was moms and daughters. It was dark and we were gathered at the steps of the capital waiting for the walkers to start the race. I watched the timed runners as they started the 5K journey. Everyone running because they want to remember someone that had breast cancer, celebrate someone, or just be there to support someone that this disease had touched. As we took pictures and stood around, I asked a few women if they would run and they laughed. I was trying to be in the group and spend the day chatting, maybe meeting a new friend. But, my heart felt restless. I had so much on my heart and ever since I lost my friend Leslie I have avoided this race.  She lost her race with this disease and I have been pretty grumpy about that. So I have avoided the Race for the Cure because I was still heartbroken.

As Hallie and I wrote on our race bibs that morning, a wave of intensity washed over me. There is a blank on your bib that says “I am running for_____________.” As I pulled out a Sharpie and wrote Leslie Walters it became that horrible truth that she was gone. My daughter saw me fill in that blank and said. “Oh, Mom do we fill that out?” She, too wrote the same name on her race bib.

As we drove to the race, I shared with Hallie how much I missed my friend. How certain chapters of my parenting journey, she was the one friend that held so much compassion for me. She was always home when I needed to stop by and gather support and courage to face another chapter that was really hard. At that moment my voice cracked and Hallie said to me, “Momma, you can run with Leslie today. You do not have to stay with the group. Run with her.”

Oh, how a 17 year old girl can give you permission to do what you need to do will always give me pause.  

These words were all I could hear as the race began. Hallie and three of her friends burst ahead in a sprint and all I knew was that my feet were doing the same. I had to run. I had to pound that pavement. These four girls were giggling and contemplating when they were going to stop running and just enjoy this morning moment. I knew in my heart I had to keep going. It was something I needed on so many levels. To just go. To act like I could run to be strong. To push my limits and prove that I can do this for my friend. I could carry her 3 children and her husband as my living memory of her. For that entire family, I was going to sweat out their journey that this terrible disease had cast on their lives...our lives.

It was hot. The sweat did pour. I passed people and people passed me. It did not matter. I had to be alone. No one else understood that this was a moment I needed to love my friend and honor her. I could not do small talk today. I could not spend time trying to make a new friend. I was there to honor my friend. And I was going to run with her. Every step of the way.

Thank you Hallie for letting me go run. Or, for letting me hold my heart in the space of great love and the memory of someone that is still so dear to me.

Maybe today you get to remember someone you really love. It is okay to run alone. It is okay to be alone. 

Maybe a moment alone is all we ever need to help our heart feel love.

With great love to Leslie and her family. If you have a dear friend, tell them you love them.
It is precious to have someone in your heart that you will never forget.

I am forever thankful for having her as my friend.  

She touched my heart and will always be with me.

Wear your bracelet and know it is with you…even when you are alone, it is holding that dear memory.