Yesterday was the last day of what we hope is the worst year we ever have. I know things can always be worse than what we have at present, and here's to hoping that this is the worst pain we'll ever know.
I am excited about the new year. Can you believe it? I'm excited about something for the first time in 5 months. I am adopting a new way of looking at things, I'm trying anyway.
About a month ago, I got in touch with this somewhat local athlete, Brian Boyle, to see if he could come to Fleet Feet for a fun run. He just released a book and I wanted him to come for a book signing and then run with us. He is coming, this Thursday, January 7th.
Brian is a young guy, only 23, and he's seen more sadness, pain and despair than most people do in their entire lives. When he was 18 he was in a horrific car accident that should have killed him. It did kill him, he was pronounced dead 8 times, but he fought and came back, literally, from the dead. I won't go into the details of his accident and his injuries, you can read his amazing book, but I will touch upon his recovery because I feel very connected to his story.
His accident occurred in July, and in addition to that he had some other family hardships that occurred in subsequent Julys. In fact, one chapter of his book is called, "July is the Cruelest Month." Well, I can relate to that. Our lives changed forever this past July. Anyway, Brian spent years working tirelessly to overcome his injuries. His accident occurred 5 years ago. And he was told he probably would never walk again. But he somehow found the strength, through the love, support, and courage from his family and friends, to fight on and work. And he did work. Three years after his accident Brian finished a half Ironman triathlon (70.3 miles of swimming, biking and running). Then 45 days after that he completed the granddaddy of triathlons: the Ironman World Championship at Kona, Hawaii. This is 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running. And he did it. He's still doing it too. This past fall he ran 5 marathons in 5 weeks. He's a Rock Star.
I'm writing about this because I feel completely connected to him and his story. He overcame tremendous sadness and pain to live the life he always wanted. He talked about his hopes and dreams for himself, the plans he had for himself, and how they were dashed because of his accident. But he found the courage to make those dreams happen anyway. While I could never imagine what he went through, I know what it's like to have plans and dreams dashed. I know what it's like to have dreams that will never come true through no fault of my own. We can't control everything that happens to us. Our loss was something out of our hands.
I read his book in less than 24 hours. It is an amazing story. I really relate to his parents. They are really great people and I feel connected to them for some reason. It's weird to feel connected to people you've never met.
There's a quote Brian uses in his book that really resonates with me: "A person hasn't lived until he has almost died, and for those who have fought for life, the world has a flavor the protected will never know." I feel like I have been fighting for life for the past 5 months. No, my story is not the same as Brian's. I didn't almost die. But part of me did die on July 24th when we lost our son. We have been trying to come back from the dead ever since.
So I look to 2010 as a year of coming back from the dead. I'm using my races as a way to leave the pain and sorrow behind us. We will never forget our baby, we will always be sad about our loss. But we have to move forward. We have to be happy again.
That's my New Year's resolution: to find a place of happiness in each and every day. I may have sadness in that same day. I may cry and scream and ask "why" but I will also laugh and smile and find a piece of happiness. I deserve it.
Happy New Year.
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