Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The 36 Things Project: Item 19 - Run for my Mom

This year I set a goal of 36 things to do for my 36th year.  Some are meaningful, some are mundane, some are silly.  Follow along as I check things off my list. 

19.  Run for my Mom - This year I want to participate in a run in honor of my mom.   I know participating in a run won't cure cancer, but it will feel like I'm doing something in the fight to end cancer.
Cancer is a thief.   I have said it over and over again, and it's true.  I miss my mom and I just can't sit by and let Cancer win.  I know my actions are a raindrop in a vast ocean when it comes to fighting cancer, but at least I'm trying.  This year our family joined the American Cancer Society to participate on a team for "Relay for Life".   It's a 24 hour walk that raises funds for Cancer Research and Patient Services.  My family volunteered to take the "Stars Wars Lap" and walked for an hour and then passed the baton to other members of our team who took over.  We dressed in costume and it was a great thing to involve the kids in.  
We wore signs on our backs to show that we were doing this for Nana. 
Earlier in the month as a family we decorated a "Luminaria" that would be placed along the path in memory of my mom. 
 I wanted my mom's personality to shine through, she was such a vibrant person. 
I also volunteered to walk the 9-11pm time slot alone for our team and would be walking along a path lit by luminaries.  Each luminaria represents someone who has either survived or lost their life to cancer.  I knew it would be hard, but I just couldn't fathom how many luminaries there would be.  It is just too many people.... way too many people.   My heart ached for each one of these families. 
The first time I walked the path at night, I kept looking for my mom's Luminaria.  I wanted to shout out, "Marco" just to hear her say, "Polo" which was my families signature call.  I knew the Luminaria was just a paper bag, but in some ways it felt like it was her.   Finally, I found her at the end of my first lap.  It still shocks me how overwhelming grief can be at times.
I am glad that I was able to do this even though it was hard, even though I cried a lot, because I realized I am not alone in this journey.   Cinnamon walked with me for several laps, even though she would be walking her time slot later that evening.  People shared their stories with me and freely talked about their losses.  I met a lady who had lost her mom when she was my age and she told me her story.  She hugged me, even though she didn't know me and said, "Losing my mom was hard, but it made me a more compassionate person.  You are going to be okay, I promise."   

Those are the words I needed to hear, and the words I miss most.  I used to call my mom and say, "Oh, Mr. Boy is driving me bonkers right now, he won't listen to me."  Or  "Ugh! Who invented toddlers?"  I called my mom for reassurance and encouragement and I miss that. This walk made me remember that there is a whole host of people that surround me and give me love and encouragement.  I am not alone and I am doing okay, and this was a great way to be reminded of that.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post and true for so many of us.

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