Eight months ago my life changed in a way I never thought possible or imaginable. My husband of 17 years, my best friend of 22 years and father to my three children, passed away suddenly. The shock, devastation, and despair emotionally, mentally and physically were feelings I didn’t think existed. It was as if someone ripped out my heart and shredded it into a million pieces, never to be put back again.
There is only one pain worse than that, and it is to tell your children that their Dad (or Mom) has passed away. To be unable to protect your children (Cam 13, Regan 9, and Coryn 6) from such pain is excruciating in itself. A nightmare come true. I couldn’t believe this was my life. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or think. I was a body just existing. Everyday tasks, from brushing my teeth, to showering, and just getting out of bed, were exhausting and unbearable. My children couldn’t understand how they could go from playing with their friends to in an instant losing their father. Forever altering their lives, our lives. I couldn’t see a future, didn’t want to.
Yet, here I am eight months later training for the Boston Marathon, and my children are all doing well in school, playing sports, laughing, smiling, and being kids. We still desperately miss and love Sean, we always will. He was, is and will always be a huge part of our lives. My husband always amazed me by his general goodness, a deep sincere general goodness. He was unselfish, kind, thoughtful, loving, and always willing to help others. He was known as the “go to guy.” He was whatever you needed him to be. He was our world, the only world I have known for half of my life.
Through the last few months, I have gradually starting picking up those shredded pieces. The metaphor (one that I use) is its like when you break a glass and you glue it together. It’s whole, but there will always be leaks and cracks. But during this time we have seen such goodness. We have been blessed with unbelievable support, love, kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness from friends, family, teachers, and our community as a whole. My children have learned what true friendships are about, finding comfort in those who love us, who loved Sean.
I read a quote once, “If you see someone drowning, do you ask them if they need help or do you just jump in?” So, for all those who jumped and saved me from drowning, I would like to pay it forward. The best way for me to do that is to run the Boston Marathon for The Children’s Room.
Unfortunately, there are many other families dealing with a life-altering loss like ours. If I can raise awareness among other families who have lost a significant person in their lives, if I can offer more support to those who may not be blessed with the support that I have been given, and if I can help others know they are not alone, then I feel I am living my life as my husband lived his, and my children will see that strength comes from within oneself. They will see that sometimes we cannot control the situation we are in, but we can control how we handle it, to give just to give, and to love with an unconditional love, as their father did. They can learn not to concentrate on the past or worry about the future, but truly live in the moment, even if that moment is not the best. For we truly do not know how a day, an hour, or a minute may change our lives.
So, I will run the Boston Marathon, and every stride of those 26.2 miles I will be thinking of who will be at the other end of the finish line and what pain they have endured at such an early age, my three children. I will run remembering my husband and how amazing he was, and how proud I know he would be of me running. I will run so others may get the support we have been given. I will run to show my children, friends and family that no matter how hard things are, anything can be accomplished with love and support. My three children will see me cross the finish line and know that their father was with me the whole 26.2 miles.