Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Measuring Time

"Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves." ~ Jawaharial Nehru

Time....when you time about it, really think about it, it is a funny thing.

What is time?  

We waste it, we set our day by it, we let time make decisions for us.

But today....today is a day that marks time for me and my family.

August 20, 2004...one of those days that changed our lives.

A day we refer back to....the before and after date.

I have a few others of those in my life - August 21, 1987, June 10, 1989, February 21, 1995, February 19, 1998, August 21, 2003 being others....the day I met Brian, the day we married, and each day another one of my children entered our lives.

Each one of these milestones is used as a point of reference - what life was life before and after we married, any of the kids were born.  We all do it, don't we?

Well today marks the anniversary of one of those days.  August 20, 2004...the day Brian passed away.

Just as the day I met Brian changed everything for me, the day he passed away changed everything too.  

I am a much different version of me since that date.

Just as Brian made me a better person when he entered my life, he made me a different better person when he left my life.

It is strange thinking about how different we all would be if he were still alive. How different our life as a family would be.

Since August 20, 2004, I have taken up running.  Something I had not done since high school.  I have raced in over 20 half marathons, 5 marathons, and countless others.

I have risen from bed at 4:30 am to meet new friends (after Brian friends) to train in the dark.at 5 am.

This is a version of me that Brian never knew.  Running a marathon was never in my bucket list before Brian passed.  It was after.

What else?

I took up cycling.  Yes, I knew how to ride a bike but never cycled.  Since then I have cycled across Iowa twice (while camping), ridden numerous times in the Texas Hill Country and tackled the hills of Philadelphia with my LIVESTRONG pals.

And the LIVESTRONG connection.  Well all those friends I have made through this wonderful organization, the community I have become a part of.....none of that existed before August 20, 2004.

I parachuted out of a plane.

I have traveled more.

I decided not to put life on hold anymore.

One of the things Brian and I talked about when he was in the hospital those last few days was all the things we had "planned" to do when the kids were older.

Well, August 20, 2004 changed all those plans.

I vowed afterward never to "put off" anything that really didn't need to be put off.  I have lots of dreams, we all do.  Many can't be accomplished right now.....but many can.  So I began ticking those off my list.

Am I a better version of me?  I don't necessarily think so.  Just different.  

It hasn't been easy these past 9 years.  And I certainly could have made better decisions about a lot of things.  

So today is a day of reflection....of a man we all miss and a life that has changed forever.

But this is also a week filled with new beginnings....our oldest is heading off to college.

He is ready to move on.....and I think so because since August 20, 2004, independence became a way of life for all of us....and helped prepare my son for life.

This milestone in his life reminds me that his dad and I met when we were just a few years older than he.....and that this chapter in his life is beginning......

.....a new "the day everything changed" is just around the corner for him.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wait.....What Day is Today? Life Really Does Go On.....

It finally happened.

It only took 9 years.

And it took my 9 year old to make me realize it.

Today I went on a bike ride with my daughter, as we so often do.

A short 5 mile ride to grab lunch and hit the library.

Nothing out of the ordinary.

Along the way, we chatted....as we so often do.

I am always amused by the thoughts running through my 9 year old's head......especially while she is riding a bike (although I wish she would concentrate a bit more on keeping her line!).

About halfway through our ride, she advised me that it is only 10 days until her birthday. She is incredibly excited to be DOUBLE DIGITS!

Woo Whoo!!!

Wait a second.....

My mind began doing the math.....

If it was 10 days until her birthday, it was only 9 days until the anniversary of her dad's passing.

And that meant that the anniversary of his being diagnosed with cancer, had come and gone.....without a thought by me.

And the days from that terrible afternoon until this day, which were filled with just as terrible news and emotions, had also come and gone.....without a thought by me.

This was a first.

Each year since that terrible Friday afternoon on August 6, 2004 (The Day My World Began Moving in Slow Motion) and all the days leading up to the day Brian passed away on Friday, August 20, 2004, the first two weeks of August have been an awful walk down memory lane.  And not a lane I'd want anyone else to ever have to visit.

Suddenly, for whatever reason, on the 9th anniversary of my husband's passing, I didn't remember the day he was suddenly admitted to the hospital.  I didn't relive the moments the surgeon changed our lives from one filled with hope for a lifetime of memories to a panic of just days of survival.  The sudden realization that I would have to make phone calls to share the news with his mother, his father, his brother, my family.....and worst of all, our children.

(see my past blogs that describe how I was feeling in previous years) 

I am not sure what is different about this year than the past 8 years, but this year feels different.

And although I doubt I'll ever forget ever minute of those two weeks, at least this year, I get to remember them on my own terms.

I never believed this day would come.

I thought if it this day did ever come. I would feel guilty.....as though I had turned my back on Brian.

But honestly, it is an incredible relief.

I am sure the actual anniversary of his passing will come with a heavy heart - especially since this year we will not be spending it at the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Philadelphia surrounded by fantastic friends as we have the past three years.

Instead, it will be a regular day...driving kids around town, attending meetings at work, helping my oldest pack for college, getting out for a run or ride, and I am certain, finding time to fittingly honor Brian.

I live every day honoring this amazing man....the love of my life and the incredible father of our three equally amazing and unique children.

Thankfully I am able to finally do it without laboring over all the terrible minutes of those two weeks of pain.

Live really does go on....