Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Sad Irony

Sometimes life takes a strange, sad, twist. In 2005 I started running as a method to do something "with" my brothers and sisters who all lived in different states. Several of us trained for the same 5K race and got together to run that race. That event reignited my love of running. I used to run when I was a kid. I would tease the boys so I could have an excuse to outrun them on the playground. In any case, that 5K race got me hooked again.

I wanted to run further but couldn't seem to make myself run more than 3 miles alone. So, I joined Team in Training (TNT) to train to run a marathon. TNT raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. LLS sponsors research and services for patients, survivors and families of people with blood cancers. Training for a marathon with TNT let me do something for myself, run, while helping others, fundraising for TNT. I ran with Team in Training for 5 years. I started as a participant and became volunteer staff as mentor, then "web captain" for many seasons and finally "run captain". I did eventually "retire" from Team in Training, but I kept with me some of the closest and most enduring friendships of my adult life.

Orion was not amused by my flying addiction.
Fast forward to last week. My daughter's cat, Orion, was diagnosed with lymphoma after being ill for about a month and a half. I won't go into the gory details but in the end my daughter, husband and I were keeping him alive for a couple weeks by force feeding him food with a syringe and giving him fluid via IV under his skin.  Finally, on Monday, Orion let us know he was done. He no longer wanted to live that way. We said our goodbyes and put him to sleep.

I posted some pictures of him on Facebook as a eulogy of sorts. Sharing with my friends the family's sorrow. Immediately friends started commenting with their condolences and support. Looking at those comments I see the amazing spectrum of friendships I have today. Family, of course. Friends from high school. Friends from auto racing. Work colleagues become friends. Random friends gained on the way. Friends I've gained recently as a result of my flying. Friends from Team in Training. The organization that raises money to support people who have blood cancers and one day cure blood cancers. The same blood cancer that took our Orion from us. That stuck me as sadly ironic. The same cancer that kills a small, furry, part of my family is one that I raised money for so many years to fight.

This very sad event reminds me of the wonderful, broad, varied, amazing life I've lived.  The people, including furry people, who's lives I touched and who've touched mine. It also reminds me of the Team in Training honorees, people who have been diagnosed with blood cancers and survived, at least for a while. It reminds me of other friends and family I've lost to cancers over the years. Other people and pets touched by cancers of all sorts. Touched by the end of life.. by death.

Life is for the living. I am grateful to have a wealth of human and furry friendships and family to share the joys and sorrows of life with me. To help me live, fly, run, mother, friend, work, wife, love to the best of my ability. Thank you, my friends and my anonymous readers, for enriching my life. Life is truly a wonderful gift. Waste it not.

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