I ran 8 miles. 2 miles short of my goal. Which is ok since my goal may have killed me (or at least made me pass out).
I left you your after you gave me a hug and said you loved me. Love you too mommy. Mommy, always makes me laugh that in our 50’s Billy and I still call you mommy.
Running through the neighborhood behind the hospital I see all the pretty plants and flowers blooming. Things you love. I get out on the main road and run on the side walk. I look down and see someone has spray painted ‘you suck’ and I wonder if that’s meant for me since I selfishly went running instead of sitting by your side.
Then the next sidewalk message. Deeply engraved to last a long, long time. ‘God is Joy’. Worthy of a picture. You suck in pink won’t leave my head so no need for a picture of it.
I keep running. Past The ear doctor I took you to trying to get your hearing straight. The day he put the tubes in, I’ll never forget. The scene of you highfiving the big giant guy in the elevator because you can hear him say hi. ‘I can hear you ‘ you say, With tears in your eyes. The countless discussions about how cute and how nice Dr. Phillips was, with the perfectly ironed shirt and pants.
I keep running. Past Gainesville health and fitness where I bought you and dad a membership for a year. Remembering all the stories you told me about your times there and the shock you had that women walk around naked in the dressing room.
I keep running. Past your dentist office and then I cross the 4 lane road. Remembering when we lived in Miami you forbade us from crossing any road with more then two lanes. So much so that the first time I ever did it as an adult, I was certain I was going to be hit by a car and flattened like a pancake by all the traffic. I laugh because you really instilled some solid fear of pedestrian vs car in me. Multi-lane roads still freak me out to this day.
I keep running. Right past the shopping center where we’d frequently been together shopping long ago. I remember it like yesterday.
I keep running. This time turning on 34 th Ave. (no I didn’t cross that street, it’s 6 lanes 😳).
I was trying to run to the bus stop that the man with few teeth and a casted arm cheered Dennis and me on during a marathon. ‘Only Five More to Go!!’ He chants over and over with his arm in the air and all 5 fingers spread out high above his head. ‘Five more to go!!’
I needed that man now to cheer me on. Tell me how much farther to the finish line. ‘Five more to go’ I’m sure he has no idea the impact of how that moment and his cheers has stuck with me. The last 6.2 miles of a marathon always supposed to be the most grueling. ‘Five more to go’ man kindly helped us through. Never miss out on a chance to cheer someone on I think to myself.
I turn around at the five mile mark, afraid of the way I was starting to feel that I may not make it all the way back to the hospital.
The five mile mark being where ‘the graffiti’ wall is. The one message on The wall ever present is the memorial for the college students killed by a serial killer in the early 90’s. I lived at home with you in Miami back then. I remember being in your living room watching the news and the reports of students frantic and packing up to go home out of fear . Never knowing at that time we’d all be moving to Gainesville and that I’d be running by the wall while you were dying in the hospital. It seems so long ago.
5 more to go. I pass the same dead crow on the sidewalk. This time noticing the smell of death. You mom, always loved the crows. Throwing them old bread to eat and watching them walk around the yard with giant pieces of bread in their beaks.
The teacher teacher bird. The butterflies on your plants, the fruit on the trees. Always in the moment when sharing your yard.
Loving and fun, always positive right to the very end. Trying to make jokes with the nurses despite the pain and confusion you felt.
I wonder if at that time the five more to go guy would have said seven more to go! Seven days later you were gone. No more terrible suffering. Seven day ultra-marathon. I am confident I can endure anything now after watching you suffer like that for over a week.
Hospice was a godsend to provide you relief from the pain. It took a lot to make you comfortable.
I’m so glad you were in such a place of kindness and care. Seven days later
Your defiant, stubborn heart finally let you go.
Miss you mom, you left one terribly lonely man behind !