Since 2013, I have had the opportunity to run in remembrance of over 600 people who have passed away. It has been a humbling experience, and one that I do not take lightly. In some ways it feels like I have been doing this my entire life, and I cherish the possibly that I may do these run dedications until my legs do not work anymore. The dedications have been an opportunity for people to relive the good from their loved ones and to help keep their memories alive. Below I share three lessons that I have learned from the many run dedications completed.
1. We don't want our loved ones to be forgotten
Anyone who has ever had a loved one pass away will agree with me here…the thought of the loved one being forgotten can be haunting. People have constantly shared with me how grateful they are that their mom, dad, brother, sister, son, daughter, friend, or distant relative’s story (and memory) can continue to live on…even if it is through digital format shared on social media.
2. Everyone grieves differently
When my mother passed away in January 2000…I seemed to grieve on a short timeframe mostly because I took comfort in the fact that she did not have to hurt anymore. My sister on the other hand, still struggles with birthdays and holidays with the fact that mom is no longer with us. Everyone grieves differently. I have run for families who were angry, sad, calm, happy, and everything in between. There is no wrong or right way to grieve. So, be kind to yourself and don’t compare yourself to other people during the grieving process.
3. Small acts make a big difference
My run dedications are really just a small token of condolence…a symbolic gesture if you will. BUT they mean the world to those who are grieving. If you know someone who has recently lost a loved one and you don’t know what to say to them…try something small. It can make the biggest difference. Even some baked spaghetti, a greeting card, or a random call just to let them know you are thinking of them can make things an once more tolerable.
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