Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Grief Marathon

Sometimes I think running a marathon would be easier.

Before setting out on the 26.2 mile race, one hopefully trains extensively...body and mind. The big day comes, and if well-trained, the race is no doubt difficult, but possible! Just when you think you can't run another step, you see the sign along the path that says 14 miles! You've done it...you've run over half the journey! You're in the last part now. You can do this!

Somewhere around mile 22, your body wants to cave again. You begin the self-talk, "You're almost there. Four more miles." But, even with every optimistic word you share with yourself, your body wants to cave...until...

You pass a crowd of cheering onlookers. Strangers...urging you on, clapping loudly, screaming shouts of encouragement. It's just what you needed, you press forward and four miles later...you collapse with tears of joy! You did it! You completed the 26.2 mile race! It may have been the hardest, most grueling thing your body's ever endured, but you did it! It's over! Let the celebration begin!

And such is my grief "race" on many levels.

I'm racing through each grief mile...some quite successfully...others find me barely hanging on. And...then I see the "signpost" showing me how far I've come, and I start to think "I can do this...I can do this...".

I continue to run; even walk sometimes. The grief miles become even more difficult this time. My body is so exhausted from the long endurance of this "race". Suddenly, a crowd of onlookers start to cheer me on. I hear the applause, the words of encouragement, the whistles, and the shouts of praise. It's just enough to get me through the next set of miles.

And yet, there are two distinct differences I've discovered on my grief marathon that don't exist in a regular race. In my case, there was no preparation...no training of mind or body. I just suddenly found myself on the racetrack, and the whistle suddenly blew, signaling the start...whether I was ready or not.

But, the biggest difference? It doesn't have a definitive end. There aren't just 26.2 miles of grief to endure. There is no celebratory finish line. Will it get easier? Yes - I trust that it will, in time. But, as for ending...I'm not sure that will ever happen. So, for me, I have to adjust...to learn how to cope on this lengthy race that I was not prepared for even remotely. But, right now...I'm just soooo tired.


  1. Praying for you, sweet friend. Love, from one of your cheerleaders! :~)

  2. I've called mine a journey instead of a race, although there is no destination in site, except I guess HOME where she is.

  3. Leah, I am so grateful for your story. Your bravery to share. What a blessing we are to have your voice.