After my husband’s brother passed away last week after a tough fight with cancer, the burden of grief surrounds us. Ben’s the closest person I’ve ever lost, and he’s not even my own brother. But the loss has been profound. Even though I watch my husband every day ride the waves of grief, I still can’t truly imagine what he’s going through & what my in-laws trudge through each day. When I have those three second videos I’ve imprinted to memory of his laugh or still shots of summer memories on the Cape, my face starts to flush and my eyes well. It’s still hard to believe he’s gone, especially when memories feel so close. In those moments of quiet when I think of my husband losing his only brother, I ache with his pain.
But then there’s clarity, distraction, and life. From the weeks leading up to Ben’s death and the days since, a lot has become more clear. Life has never felt more fragile. The unimportant has never felt so trivial, and what and whom I love has never felt more urgent. I’m overwhelmed thinking that it’s taken the death of a loved one to come to this with such depth and clarity. But maybe that’s what it takes.
As I’ve been enveloped by memories of Ben in these last weeks, I constantly think of time. People always say how quickly it passes, but I never felt it in my core until now. I’ve asked myself, what can I do to stop time so that I’m so present that the notion of time doesn’t even exist. If I can get into that I am grounded and I can find my way. So I run. I run to freeze time. It’s the gift I do that brings me closest to home. Right now, in mourning, all I want to do is let what I love guide me. Besides our friends who’ve helped hold all our broken pieces together, running has been the ultimate comfort.
In the wake of this tender loss, I’ve never felt so clear about where I am. Less push, more flow. Less hustle, more faith. I feel deeply connected to the people of my inner circle who have emerged so generously to give to our family. I am confident in the momentum that this gift of running continues to give. As loss sheathes our days, I’m learning that you can live with that while experiencing so much that is good. As this trauma continues to unravel, at the same time beauty surfaces. I’m excited to announce that my longtime runner friend, Melissa, and I are launching a women’s running team here in Santa Cruz, with overwhelming positive feedback. I continue to plant the framework for my summer running camp. And my personal running has never been more necessary.
If there’s a silver lining in such a profound loss, it’s that I feel so alive. I wish I could tell Ben what an honor it was to know him. That I loved him. Instead, I’ll go on living with my whole heart, knowing that’s the very best thing I can do.
Above: Summer 2010 — Ben up front after a water fight with young Kieran (Andy’s son). We rode in his Jeep that whole evening, blasting country music, no seat belts, free as can be.
Above: I found this picture while we were cleaning out Ben’s home last week. Summer 2011. Pregnant with Lucia. It was the summer I ran in humid Cape Cod and dove in the perfect water. Ben made us lobster on his deck and entertained us during warm, slow nights.
Above: February 2016, three days after Ben passed away. Lucia and Oliver take turns on the idyllic swing on Ben’s trail.
Above: February 2016. Sunset run, just leaving my in-laws home. I ran every evening into this sunset. I drank these colors each night and let this remind me how grateful I am for this little life of mine.