I did it! WE did it! Last weekend was the 3-day. I feel like I have been preparing for this FOREVER. And now that it is over I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the emotions of the weekend.
First I want to say a big, huge THANK YOU to every body who supported me and the rest of Linda’s Ladies with your donations, your love, and your cheers. We could not have done it without you. And because of you Linda’s Ladies raised $19,500.
We were so proud to be able to contribute to the $3.8 million that was raised by the Washington D.C. 3-day!
And I couldn’t have asked to share this journey with a better group of women. Did I mention three of them were pregnant??!?! That’s dedication!
I won’t say the weekend was easy. In fact it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But surprisingly it was not the physical challenge that almost broke me, it was the emotional one.
The last year, I have poured my anger and grief into preparing for this walk. And while I was walking and fundraising and blogging I worked through a lot of my pain. The pain is still there but it has faded into background noise. Something that is always there but something I have learned to live along side of. A quiet imissmymomimissmymomimissmymom. Sometimes it bubbles up to the surface and breaks through IMISSMYMOM! But it soon returns to the hum that just kind of simmers as the rest of life takes center stage.
But not last weekend. Last weekend that low hum became a scream I FUCKING MISS MY MOM! I HATE THIS WALK. I WANT HER HERE. WHY ME. WHY HER. WHY? And with every foot step I was washed over with grief. I had ugly moments that were full of jealousy. Jealousy over the women who got to walk side by side with their moms. Jealousy over the mom’s who were waiting at the finish line to hug their daughters. And loneliness. Even while surrounded by people who have their own stories, I felt lonely.
Saturday afternoon just about broke me. Overtired. Fighting a cold. Racing to stay ahead of the sweep van. I was physically exhausted and emotionally drained.
There were four miles that I think summarized my whole three day experience. It was during that low point on Saturday. My teammates and I separated and I ended up walking this four mile stretch alone. I think I spent the first two miles feeling completely sorry for myself. I know the tears were flowing and the thing that propelled me forward was anger. My thighs were throbbing, my calves were tight and my heart was broken. The thought that I might just not be emotionally strong enough for this kept running through my head.
And then someone slipped their arm through mine. The woman said “you got this. You got it! Let’s go.” And for the next couple of minutes I walked like that. Arm and arm with this stranger that I had never met before. Her mom took my other side and we shared our stories. We shared some tears. And they kept me between them for a while. The anger faded a little bit and the tears turned to laughter. It wouldn’t be the last time that I cried but it would be the last time I would question my emotional strength. During those steps I found an inner strength I did not think I had and that strength is what carried me through to the finish line.
I think I falsely convinced myself that I would find some big answers this weekend. That somehow conquering the 3-day would make losing my mom a little bit easier. That somehow, magically that constant hum would stop nagging me. During those four miles I think I accepted that would never be the case. I accepted that I would always be a little bit broken and nothing would ever be able to fix that. No amount of money. No amount of walking. Nothing. It was a freeing moment. Acceptance.
I accept that I will always hurt. I accept that I will be jealous of what others still have. I accept that I will get angry. I accept that there will be times I’m lonely. I accept that the tears will come. And I accept that I will forever live along side this constant hum “imissmymomimissmymomimissmymom.”
On Sunday I crossed the finish line arm and arm with Linda’s Ladies joined by Sam and Will. Looking at those women, my friends and my boys it all came together. The link between the past the present and the future was right there. My mom, my friends and my boys. I did this for all of them. And you know what. I just might do it again!