Is it wrong to smile just a little while standing at the window at Hospice? Probably. But the spirit of a runner is unconquerable.
Just beyond the window is a birdfeeder that Hospice volunteers keep full so that every bird in Gainesville knows to come here for lunch. Just beyond the birdfeeder is a small berm. And beyond the berm is a vast, verdant soccer field where children come to play and runners do laps around the edges.
Running is a big part of my life. And now when I am unable to run because of sitting bedside with a beloved in a tough situation, watching other runners snaps me back to sanity. With death all around me, the runners keep me mindful of the cleansing that comes from a good sweat, the heartbeat rhythm of footfall, the power of breath, the joy of freedom when your body is tuned up like a Ferrari, and thinking that Gatorade has no medical purpose; its sole raison d'etre is to hydrate an athlete after a long, hot run.
Tomorrow morning, before I come here again, I’m going to get up extra early, and no matter how exhausted I am, I’m going to run hard even if only for a little while.
The ING New York City Marathon Lottery drawing is in two days. Standing at the window at Hospice, I'm clear that someday life will go on. Someday November 7 will come. And I’ll still be here to claim it.