Yesterday, I completed a mud based obstacle race; Mudd, Sweat and Tears. A course comprised of a mud, strength and endurance obstacles, a gruelling mountain ascent and a test of physical and mental will.
It was something that I signed up for 2 and a half months ago when I had a 10km road race fast approaching as well that I had set as a goal for myself. My idea was that, as I was coming off of my anti-depressants, it would be good to have some goals and something to train for.
The underlying impetus is one that goes deeper for me though and means much more to me than completing a race or two.
When Willie died, he left behind notes. Notes that tried to explain in some way what he was feeling and why he was choosing to end his life. Notes that said goodbye and conveyed his hopes for the rest of us left behind. These were personal and private and I consider us lucky to be able to have them to hold on to and to look back to.
While I keep his words to me close and personal, one of the sentiments of his note to me was that he wanted, more than anything, for me to continue on the journey of self awareness and growth that I had really undertaken after my last divorce. We had, as a family spent time talking about life choices and decisions and how we affect and direct our own lives…how important it is to live true to each of our own values and beliefs and needs. To be who we are and to love and live how we want… without compromise to our own truth in self. This was something that him and I talked about, a lot, as we spent those last few months. My tattoo of “Truth Freedom Joy” was something we discussed and picked apart… he knew the significance of my wanting to be who I am and to living abundantly and openly. His final note to me embraced that wish that I go on and be true to myself and finish what I had started with that direction.
I have, many times in the last 2 and a half years, felt like I am letting him down and like I am not honouring his memory … depression and grief have clouded my ability for a long time to live my life and to have that joy and feel again. Laughter and joy and sheer fun have been fleeting and sparse. The vast expanse between the ups and downs has narrowed these last few months though and I am starting to see that the journey I was on when he died is still ongoing… that my truth is still there… with an edge that hurts, yes, but still there.
The race was gruelling and more challenging than I thought I could handle at times – but not once did I think I wouldn’t finish – exactly how I have always been in life… confident and sure of my abilities… a feeling that has been hard to grasp since he died. Many times that it was a matter of one foot in front of the other and just going on…but there were times that the race was also fun and full of unexpected laughter… smiles and high fives and feelings of sheer joy at accomplishments and just the experience of doing things that I never thought I would, or could, do.
The race yesterday was completed with his bracelet attached to the strap of my tank top, tucked in next to my heart (lots of mud and crawling – not risking losing it on my wrist!)…Willie, and his wish for me to go on… very much with me every step of the way.. as he will be for the rest of my life. One foot in front of the other, sometimes impossible feeling to go on and other times full of laughter and joy. Life.