Sunday, April 10, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life!: On Running and Life and the Anniversary of 4/15/13

This morning my dear friend, "Coach" Reno Stirrat posted this:

It's so true isn't it?

After my nephew took his life in 2011 I stopped running at a time when I could have used it the most.

After 4/15/13, I got back on the roads with the #onerun on 5/25/13.

From my memoir, "Coming Home:A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":

“Oh look they are doing a #onerun tomorrow,” Tom said.

“I am terrified to be a part of that,” I answered.

“Then we have to register,” Tom said.

Tonight I realize there is another layer to all of this healing: the Boston Marathon bombings. It still causes the hair on the back of my neck to write those words. Tomorrow morning, Tom and I are going to walk the last mile of the Boston Marathon and to walk the part of Boylston Street that I’ve been afraid to return to....


The moving pre-race ceremony began including 30 seconds of silence for those who lost their lives in the bombings. There was music and inspirational speeches and not a dry eye in the crowd as the church choir from where 8-year-old Martin Richard who was killed in the blast, made his first communion, sang the National Anthem. Tom and I had our arms around each other. Everyone was in a spiritual embrace.

And then we were off crossing the one mile to go marker in Kenmore Square where four years ago, Tom, our daughter Ruth Anne and I ran toward the finish line. I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon for those who couldn't and for those who were told they shouldn't run or would never be able to run again. Back then I was delivering a message of healing, hope and possibility. Today I was one with the survivors knowing they have a long road ahead for them but knowing that they, like me, would be able to go the distance.

We got to Hereford Street and I took a deep breath, as I knew we were going back to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and passing The Forum where the second bomb exploded. As we passed in front of the Mandarin, we stopped for a brief moment to give our thanks to the staff who ensured our safety. The two doormen who had been there on Marathon Monday while we watched the race before going upstairs to join the Spaulding Rehab party were there. How healing and wonderful to see them, express our gratitude and be back on a part of Boylston Street I was afraid to visit.

I told Tom I was ready to sprint to the finish line. I said a prayer as we ran by The Forum. I sobbed as the crowds were cheering and we were surrounded by runners with their bib numbers from Marathon Monday and thousands of people who had been touched by the tragic events of April 15. At the finish line we shared stories with one another. We hugged. We cried. We healed...

Despite the cold and the rain, the love and energy of the community kept us warm. The event organizers did an amazing job at honoring the victims of the bombing and the survivors – “You are out there to run for those who can’t.”

That’s why I ran the marathon in ’09 – and here I was running the last mile with a deep connection to the survivors of the bombing knowing in every fiber of my being what it’s like to work to regain mobility and to recover from trauma where you face death. There were so many emotions as we listened to the pre-race ceremony speakers and then as we reclaimed Boylston Street as our own.

And there is that word reclaim again that was used repeatedly throughout my poetry and in my memoir!

I didn't think that I would ever be able to reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life after my nephew's suicide but after 4/15/13, I experienced a wake up call and a renewed commitment to my healing path.

The third time was the charm with finally finding my way to Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy after two rather unsatisfactory experiences with massage therapists. Partnering with Jeffrey I am able to experience the healing power of positive touch. I dug deep and decided that it was time for me to go the distance and heal the effects of paralytic polio and violence and the trauma of my nephew's suicide and 4/15/13. How blessed am I to have found my way to Jeffrey who ignited my inner strength and helped me to realize that I am capable of so much more than I thought.

Life, after all, is a marathon and to quote El Zorro Plata,

To your health and wellness!

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