I should really consider changing the standing date of my Hilton Head vacation every year. For five years, we have ventured down roughly the same week in early June. Death of friends and family have marked three of the five trips.
And you would think I would come to resent the island. But I don’t. In fact, it’s my place. Like Meredith Grey has her person, I have my place. It’s this island, at Mile Marker 62a. Only instead of “dancing out” my tragedies, I run.
Something powerful occurs when you run next to the water’s edge in the morning when the calm pervades. When you push your speed just a little bit faster to nudge your heart rate to that pace just below breathless, where it physiologically mimics fight or flight and either makes you cry or sprint.
Either choice might work to drain the dread that sticks like glue to your lungs, otherwise preventing you from sobbing uncontrollably. The kind of cry when your chest is heaving so strongly that for a second you feel like you might just die. And that death may bring peace.
But this week, running isn’t bringing me to that place. Maybe because in a sense I am running already. I just couldn’t fathom flying up to New York from a strange airport, by myself, grasping for enough emotional stability to find the rental car booth and navigate my way up to the desperately lonely town where my family was preparing to lay her soulless body in the ground. I needed to allow myself to cry when it arose, and remember her in a way that was helpful for me. I knew I couldn’t shoulder the grief of 9 children whose mother no longer existed on this earth. Not that they would expect me to.
Last night, my daughters and I said a prayer to Grandma Dot as we tossed geodes into the Atlantic after sunset. A modest dedication to a wonderful woman who endured so much joy and pain in her life. Our own little funeral for her on the island.
This morning I ran a few miles again, attempting to force the pain out. In due time, I suppose. Instead I finish out with some triangle poses, watching the horizon flip to perpendicular. Feeling my muscles relax slightly after 3 miles of pounding on the hard packed sand after the recession of high tide. Everything happens as it should. Tomorrow is another day. I will play it by ear.Share This: