I’m 50 years old and I admit, I still don’t know how to really handle grief, but I won’t hide from it.
Last weekend, I lost a dear friend. He died suddenly at the age of 49, leaving behind a wife, and three children. He is truly a loss to his family, friends and community and was one of the finest people I ever knew and I was lucky to be his friend.
I’m still processing his loss and dealing with my own grief and hoping I can help his family in any way I can. I am doing my best to get down some thoughts about him and some memories I have to at least pass on to his family. I admit it is difficult and not a quick process. There’s a lot there and I get mixed up on things and times and it gets hard to keep things straight.
That’s part of grief, at least as I’ve experienced it in the past. I used to deal with loss by finding some release with a drink, or holding up in my room for a couple days in the dark, before actually trying to deal with it.
I’ve decided that I need to run with my grief, instead of hiding away from it, because sitting around just makes me feel trapped by it, like being snowed in. I dive into food and eat out of sheer nervousness. I feel like I can’t do anything, even thought there’s really not much I can do. The rooms I’m in seem to be smaller and tighter and the light is dimmer than I remember.
I’ve hit the road and it seems to be helping.
Running lets me stay inside my head and kind of work things out slowly as the road stretches on. I’m no longer trapped in my feelings when I’m out there. The sun is out and shinning. Even the cold wind is welcome.
And these runs aren’t about hitting mileage or times, they’re really just about moving. I’ve walked more and stopped more on these last few runs than I have on any run in the last two years and I felt no disappointment.
I stopped and watched the Truckee River flow by on one run. Walked up a hill and let the smells of dirt and sagebrush fill my senses. I stopped running to stand and look out over the valley and at the mountains in the distance and slowed down to watch a rabbit skip off in front of me one morning.
I think getting outside and walking, running, hiking and sweating helps remind me that I have a life to live and need to carry on, just as my friend would want me too.
For those who are dealing with grief, from any source, loss of a loved one, loss of routines or anything, the CDC has information on things to look out for and information on where to get help.
Locally, in the Reno Sparks area, The Solace Tree, has information to help process grief and offers programs to help families and especially children deal with it.
Keep writing, keep running.