Saturday, June 2, 2012

Silent for Ann and Faith

This morning was the Team in Training Silent Mile ceremony.  I am always inspired by this - always!  About eight or nine of us survivors spoke, relaying tales of courage and endurance.  In particular, Robin's tale of fighting back after the loss of her right leg two years ago to cancer and Ed's story of his continuing fight with melanoma (after dealing with leukemia at 19 and two other cancers since) were moving.  As Ed put it, tongue in cheek, "cancer can be the gift that keeps on giving!"  My talk was easy, for 10 years ago today, I was preparing for my first day of chemo the next day.  I tried to prepare mentally that June 2, that beautiful Sunday 10 years ago.  I took a little hike in the mountains, knowing it would be the last time for a while, and wondering just a bit if it might be my last one ever.  There is no certainty or guarantee when dealing with cancer.

We also paid tribute to the Tahoe cycle team and the San Diego Marathon team, in action this weekend on the west coast.  After the talks, we walked, ran, or biked the first mile in silence.  It is a time to reflect on why we do Team in Training, and those who have fought the good fight but are no longer with us.  As I walked, I thought of my sister Ann, dead from cancer one year this past Wednesday.  I listened to the wood thrushes singing in the woods along the road.  She loved this bird's song, as do I, and I felt the connection to her.  I miss her so much!  There are days I feel as if we just haven't talked in a while - after all, we had lived nearly 500 miles apart.  And then the reality hits, and hits hard.  The reality that as much as I wish, I will never see her again, at least not in the flesh.  All because of cancer, something that started with a single cell gone haywire that could not be supressed.  It sucks.

I also thought of my friend, Faith, who died in February.  She was so young, 42 or 43.  She died from Hodgkin's lymphoma, the same thing I had 10 years ago.  She should have survived.  She should still be here.  90% of Americans with Hodgkin's survive 5 years.  I've lived for 10, so far, and hope to keep going.  Faith lived only for three years.  Faith came to one of our Silent Mile celebrations two years ago, and she did a mission moment for me on a bitter winter day's training in 2010.  She was a special person, so gentle and caring, and missed by many.  One more grieving family.  One more too many.  So for the last part of that mile, walking along with a little running for the first time since the 10K two months ago - when I wore Faith's photo on my shirt - I thought of Faith and how badly she wanted to keep living and enjoying life.  It is so unfair.

In the afternoon, Faith's dad and sister came up from North Carolina and had a memorial get-together for Faith's Richmond friends.  While I was there, I learned that they will have a Light the Night team on October 27 in memory of Faith.  Faith was so proud of the awesome job she did with her LTN team "Faith's Hope" in 2009.  I walked with her on that team, and I walked with her the next year with Light the Night.  So I plan on walking on Faith's memorial team this fall.

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