Friday, November 13, 2009

Race for the Cure

I lost my mom in August of '96 to breast cancer complications.

She was 53 years old.

Her mother also died at 53 of cancer complications.

Because of that I have walked the Race for the Cure several years in their memory. Two years ago I felt led to run the race. I had tried running before. Okay, twice. Now I had a reason and a cause. I followed the Couch to 5k 9-week program and ended the final day by running the race without stopping. A huge personal accomplishment for a truly lazy person like myself.

This year I couldn't find anyone to run it with. (Insert Stephanie's pouty face here.) Our church had the first of what will become a traditional 5k and my running friends were doing that race. I love my church but my loyalties lie with breast cancer research and not wells in Africa. Sorry. Shawn did run it but that hilarious story is going to have to be another post. This is all about me.

My Bible Study leaders are both breast cancer survivors. They, and also sisters of each one, walk it every year as survivors. A group of other family members and friends join them. This year I joined their group.

The morning of the festivities started out at 38 degrees. You can tell by looking at Rhonda that it was down right chilly.

Here's part of our group. We look cold, don't we? As we were standing around waiting to start this man walked up. These three ladies got all misty eyed and started hugging him. He was their oncologist. It was put in perspective when Brenda said, "This is the man who saved our lives." He runs the race every year with his sons. How amazing is that?After some warm up exercises and the National Anthem white doves were released to honor those who had lost the battle. I of course started crying as the flew away into the sunset. I'm crying now as I type this. 13 years later it is still hard.As the gun shot we were off and my feet were itching to run. I really wished I'd had the confidence to run it by myself. Instead I watched the runners set off as I started the walk with my camera ready for whatever may happen.This is such a fun event because of the firefighters,cheerleaders,characters, and a completely different type of characters.As always I love to find fun t-shirts. Someday I'm designing my own. Hold me to that, will you?And the signs. Oh the signs. As a walker I took the time to read as many as I could. Needless to say, I cried the entire one mile walk. As we approached the finish line the finishers of the 5k were heading in. Do you see the thighs on that guy?Even though I hadn't run it I still had done my little tiny part to find a cure. In my little part of So that was the happy side of my day.

Now for the other side.

My Bible Study leader is a wonderful teacher. I look forward to our Tuesday mornings together. But after we leave the church our relationship is different. She is good friends with some of my good friends but we're not close. Does that make sense? I always feel on the outside.


Two of the ladies knew my mom, and know what I've gone through. One of them was one of my mom's best mom wasn't mentioned at all. Is that selfish of me? I don't know if they were trying to keep me happy, or if they didn't even think about it.

I struggle every day with questions as to why they were healed and my mom wasn't. That is between God and me though. I felt like the whole reason for me being there was forgotten and instead we focused on the survivors. Don't get me wrong, I celebrate their life. But I also mourn a death.

So, both sides of my day. Think I'm crazy?? It's okay, I can handle the truth:c)

And just for fun...we've discussed before how I am soooo not a crowd person. This was the view around me. I have no idea how I didn't freak out and hyperventilate.

Could someone hand me a paper bag please??


Tollya said...

You're not crazy. I completely understand! It's hard to watch life keep moving on when a part of you is gone -- I miss my dad everyday!

I wish I would have known you needed a running partner for this--I signed up, paid my money and then ended up not running because Beth's dad passed away right around that time and obviously she didn't feel much like running. It's definitely more fun to run with a partner!

miruspeg said...

Thanks for sharing your inner most craziness there.
It is horrible to feel alienated and ignored. :(

Keep on wearing your heart on your sleeve Steph. I guess there are a few unlucky individuals who haven't taken the time to get to know the lovely Steph!

You know you are LOVED and held in high regard by so many....don't ever forget that.

Big hugs
Peggy xxxx

Anonymous said...

I lost my Mom at age 56. It's been 10 years now, and I still struggle Some days, I feel like I am the only person who remembers her. I am so sorry you had to feel that way today. Thinking of you Steph!

Joann in AL

Anonymous said...

I ran in this race last year. I lost two of my dearest friends in Nashville to cancer. It has been hard but I have tried to live every day rather than simply exist because of them. Great blog!

Jason Z.

Anonymous said...

Let me know ahead of time next year and you won't have to walk alone. I can listen any time you need an ear.

Debbie said...

Sorry, I was the last anonymous.

Jennifer Chronicles ( said...

absolutely my most favorite post you've ever written. these photographs are wonderful. from my favorite poem, which i quote often. 53 is always looming, so we must live as if "death were nowhere in the background." li young le. you're amazing, stef.

Anonymous said...

I loved your Mom, Stephanie, and I think of her often!

Cindy Kietzman

Carol............. said...

Thank you so much for your wonderful heartfelt post. You will make a difference.