I Never Question Feelings

I never question feelings and two days ago my BFF from ages 5-26 yrs old crossed my mind. We had a long friendship that went as some do when we marry, have children and one or the other of us moves quite a distance away.

We sporadically kept in touch and the last time I saw her was in 1992. We did so much together as we grew up I could probably fill a book. We were together all the time. We played, we read books while sitting in her tree, we ice skated, we swam, we played kickball with the entire neighborhood, we double dated, we fell in love and we were in each other’s weddings. She wanted to be a marine biologist and when her husband was offered a position near the shores of the Atlantic; we thought maybe she would.

The last time we were together as families, my youngest was 9 months old. We lived too far apart, and our families were young. Their parents had passed away and they didn’t come home to Cleveland any longer.

I went to visit them one more time when I lived nearer to them. We had lunch and we laughed a lot about our younger days.

Now and then I would Google her name and I read in 1997 her husband had a heart attack and had died. The doctors at Brooks AFB had told us when he was transferred here from Vietnam that his injuries were so severe that it would affect his life span. He was only 51.

I have no clue why she crossed my mind. I put her name in Google and was shocked to the core to read that she had been stabbed to death last year by her youngest daughter. I am in shock; I am sad. This friend whom I always thought would be the brightest of her other 5 siblings did not have the life and marriage we had daydreamed about.

All the news articles said was that they were arguing and I feel that they probably had been arguing for a long time considering her daughter was 29.

It’s terrifying to think your own child would kill you, but we know it happens. This is what she said at the scene: This happened during an argument the two had had over two days regarding her mother “doing as (she) asked her to do.”

2 days of arguing, 2 adults living under the same roof and one just broke picked up a chef’s knife poking and threatening her mother and then…

Sometimes I wish I was making a story like this up and writing it here as fiction, but you all know I am not a fiction writer.

I am not sure if my friend ever found happiness.

I am not sure if she ever found happiness. The life she had dreamed about was drastically altered when her husband was burned and wounded so badly in Vietnama. He was a walking poster boy for burn wounds that could not be fixed. Children were afraid of him. To me he was my friend’s husband a man I had known for years and I didn’t see his scars.

Her scars were on the inside. She cringed when she saw the way people looked at their family. There were other problems with their oldest son, and then the 3rd child was born challenged. I think it was more than she could take and more than anyone ever deserved. To die at the hands of your child holding a knife is a nightmare.

Rest in peace, at least you are both together again and I remember fondly how much you loved each other when you both first met, how wonderful your wedding was (even though I did not look good in a lime green bridemaid’s dress.)

We had so much fun over the years, and I wish your life had turned out better, but who knows, maybe she just accepted what she was given and turned lemons into lemonade.

Goodbye Brooks Running Shoes

It was in the spring of 2010 when I gave a talk to a group about the importance of having an annual mammogram.  As I reached the end of my talk and took questions a woman asked me if I had ever considered walking in the 60 mile 3-Day walk.

She caught me off guard with her question because they had asked me to take part in this walk in the past and I had always said no.

Now I was in front of someone face-to-face and saying no became an impossibility.  I said I would give it serious consideration. 

I turned to look at Larry, and the look he gave me back was one I could read well.  It was the look that said, “What the hell are you thinking?”  He knew me well, and in knowing me that well he knew the rigors of training were not something I wanted to do because I don’t like to sweat.  Training throughout the summer to walk 60 miles would mean sweating, a lot of sweating.

Sweating is not me.

Naturally my phone rang several days later, and it was that woman who wanted to know if I had reached a decision.  I felt myself taking a deep breath, and I heard myself saying I would do it.

Larry’s face was saying “Oh, no you didn’t.”  My scrunched-up face had a look saying “Oh, yes I did.”

Now came the work.

The work began with shopping for the correct footwear including sox and shorts and shirts made for sweating (there was that word again.)

Choosing the correct shoes is vital in training.  Our training schedule had us walking 3 days a week in increasing distances.  I had registered online and the chief complaint of other walkers was blisters. 

I had no idea that the bulk of my research from the get-go would be about avoiding blisters, but it was.  I went right to marathon runner’s pages to see what they do to take care of their feet and I bought every item that they suggested.

I had:

  • Bandaids
  • Moleskin
  • Corn patches
  • Tincture of Benzoin
  • Duct tape
  • Gold Bond Powder
  • Body Glide
  • Petroleum jelly

And undoubtedly other things, however the most important would be my shoes.

I drove an hour away to a shoe store that specialized in walkers and runners.  This store measured my feet and showed me 3 shoes that would be the best ones for me.

I chose the Brooks running shoes.  There were even lessons in the proper way to put the shoes on, the proper way to lace the laces, and the right sox.

10 years have passed since I embarked on this journey.

I raised $6800.00.

I had blisters.

I had minor podiatric surgery to remove a callous under a blister.

I would sweat so much that I showered in my shorts and shirt just to peel them off after every training walk.

With all the supplies I had purchased Larry and I got it narrowed down to painting my feet with Tincture of Benzoin (it helps the tape stick), then taping my feet in duct tape being careful to leave no spaces between the edges of the tape and also not tape over other tape.  The Gold Bond powder was next, then the sox, and my shoes.

I still have those shoes.  I still walk in those shoes.  They represent the fact that I raised a helluva lot of money for breast cancer research, and I walked those goddam 60 miles (plus all the miles in training) and I sweated my ass off.

More than that though, they are a link to my terrific husband, and a link to how proud he was of me.

The photos of me along the way, the dance I performed on the finish line, and the pride I had in myself knowing that the sweating was worth it are all an enormous part of the glorious summer of 2010.

I put those shoes on for the last time this morning.  I know it’s time to retire them.  They have more than served their purpose, and now a hole has started in the top of one shoe, so yes, I will wash them and dry them and put them in a special place in my closet.  You see every time I look at them I see my handsome Larry down on one knee helping me put my shoes on and reminding me to hit the back of the shoe against the floor to make sure my heel was in the proper alignment. Then he would lace them up for me and send me on my way with a kiss.

Here’s to my Brooks running shoes. You earned your retirement after serving me so well for 10 years. Goodbye.

A great 10 year relationship between my feet and my Brooks running shoes.