Here is Donna's letter:
March 4 will mark the one year anniversary of the day I had dreaded for so long. The day that I knew would break my heart, and it did. Dad lost his hard fought earthly battle and won his heavenly home. I am happy that he will never suffer again, but I miss him so.
On March 3 I will run my first ½ marathon in his honor. This was not a goal I set for myself, it happened in kind of an unusual and natural way. After dad died, I would have been content to sit on the couch and watch TV. It seemed I had a lot of time on my hands and I didn’t really know how to fill it. But I also knew that sitting on the couch was a bad direction to take, so I started walking. I would listen to books on tape or music. Before too long, I was walking 5 miles a day. So I decided to run a little and before long I was running a lot. I had always hated running, but this time I did not hate it. Every time I entertained the thought “I hate to run”, I replaced it with “I love to run, this feels great”. The mind is a powerful thing and I do believe controlling our thoughts is very helpful.
I did struggle with knee pain at first, and ultimately had knee surgery, which fixed me up! Where usually that would have been the end to the running, I could not wait to start back up. My surgeon was very supportive, saying my knees were in fine shape to run. So while rehab tested my tendency to be impatient, I endured it and was running again before too long. Aches and pains and little injuries along the way have been annoyances but I haven’t wanted to quit. My doctor says “that’s great, although unusual at your age” – now that’s funny right there, I don’t care who you are!
This is all I know about grieving:
1. Everyone does it in their own way.
2. There is no right or wrong way.
So many people have been supportive during this journey and I am so thankful. My running buddies have made it so much fun, and have been great encouragement. Jane Reneau has been a great coach. And Gary has supported me every step of the way – he has always known there was an active person hiding in there.
But I am also thankful to the non-runners who have supported me. You see, when family or friends say “I think you’re crazy but I’ll support you because it’s important to you”, that is the true expression of love. There are so many people among my family and friends who have shown that kind of support. I am very blessed.
So as I get ready to head to Seaside, I realize as I do every single day, that I am among all women very blessed. If you have received this email, I count you as one of those blessings, and I love you!