I was sick last week, Peace Corps sick, seemingly never-ending stomach sick, call my mom and have her come over and take the kids to school 'cos I couldn't stand up sick, starting Wednesday night and not really ending until Sunday. It was total survival mode. Kids were dressed, fed, bathed, vaguely entertained, a freelance job was completed on schedule, and that was that. Five days of my life, vanished! Poof! Annoying.
But I'm well now and Maddie and Riley seem to have dodged the bullet. I think I ate something bad, actually. But who cares. It was boring and gross to actually be sick, and it's boring and gross to talk about it. So I'm stopping now.
Supposedly, I'm running a half marathon in October. I was training for a half marathon when John got diagnosed. Correction: I was OVERtraining for a half marathon when John got diagnosed. I'd managed to injure myself in the process and was totally focused on logging miles, doing speed training, and meeting a specific (quick!) goal for the finish. I'm about 12 weeks out from the half in October, so last week I started the Hal Higdon training program. Kinda. Sorta. I couldn't decide if I was novice or intermediate, and I'm still not sure how I'm going to do my longer weekend training runs since M&R can't really come with me. But I was ready to do the weekday stuff, which is all quite attainable during lunch hour workouts. Except when my schedule doesn't allow it. Like for the past two weeks. Between lunch meetings, being sick, all-day trainings, arriving late or leaving early and thus not taking a lunch, or other random interferences, I've barely worked out in over a week.
But! Despite that, tonight I ran an 8K after work, a race I signed up for a while ago to run with a college friend. Hot damn, that was one hilly course. I'm not a particularly good downhill runner; the pounding! The possibility of falling over (which I'm somehow prone to doing on downhills)! The infernal pounding, holy moly! And then the uphills, which are easier for me in terms of how my body handles them, but are nonetheless an assload of work. I earned my two free beers, served to me by an adorable boy who reminded me of John. It was a muggy-for-Oregon night, summery and glorious. Races make all the training (that training that I haven't been doing) worth it, the camaraderie and the food and the music and the drinks. Races are fun.
I'm still working on my liminal state, on many levels. I'm working on it through running, not timing myself, not caring when I finish, not checking the clock. I'm working on it by breathing, by stepping back, by reminding myself that this is the life I have, and that it's good. I'm pretty successful some of the time, less successful at other times.
I miss people lately, certain people, people from my past, some distant past, some more recent. Not John so much. I find that lately, for some reason, it's hard for me to recall the intensity of my feelings for John, but that intense feelings I had for people I haven't seen since high school are very present. I've dreamed about people from grad school, recalled people from my teens that were not a part of my active memory for the past twenty years, longed for old boyfriends, felt the thrill of old crushes.
Maybe it's that my twenty year high school reunion looms on the horizon in August. I have not been to any of my reunions. I'm in touch with a few people from high school, and that's been enough for me, especially since I've found a few more through Facebook. I certainly would never have traveled many miles to be at my reunion, but my thinking had changed since moving back to Portland; it's just a dinner in town: why not go? I RSVP'd yes when I got the initial invite, but have yet to actually pay for my ticket.
I have a healthy, successful life. I look good for someone who graduated twenty years ago, if I do say so myself. I can talk to anyone, and I'm sure I'd enjoy reconnecting with people and seeing how we've all changed, for better or for worse. Here's the thing, though: I don't want to talk about being a widow. I don't want to have to explain, over and over, that my spouse died. I don't want the pitying looks, I don't want the I'm sorrys. I don't even want the sincere sympathy. I don't want the life that I have right now to be seen as less because of losing John, or have it seem like something is missing. I want my life to be seen as legitimate, as whole and complete, for what it is. Nothing is bringing John back, and I miss him. But that does not mean that my life has a void or that it is anything less than whole. I don't want to have to explain what happened and talk about cancer and how hard it was and what a gift the kids are and blah blah blah. But that's what you do at reunions: you talk about the past, you talk about the journey you took to get where you are now, and that is a compelling and fairly recent part of my journey, so there's no getting around it. I just don't think I have it in me.