49 Days

Yesterday I ran what used to be my usual 5k. It’s the furthest I’ve run in months.

Running used to give me joy. It was my time to just be with me and nature and music. It’s a time to push myself physically and very often mentally. But now running is just….meh.  Actually it’s more than that. It’s very difficult. It’s often impossible. And for the past two months it’s just seemed pointless.

Yet yesterday was different. I started out walking in the morning, but after only a minute I decided to try and run for at least the length of one song. I told myself it was ok if I couldn’t go far, just do what I can. But then my music kicked in and it was a different mix then my usual playlist. I let my Ipod shuffle through the thousand songs I have on it and come up with whatever. And what it came up with was my brother.

Phil made me a running cd a few years back and on it was just pure Philip. It was a mix of dance music and alternative stuff and angry songs and show tunes. It was awesome….except not to run to. I remember running to the playlist right after he gave it to me and I had to stop when I came to “Tonight” from West Side Story.

Not the easiest thing to run to.

But yesterday? Yesterday the shuffling of the music found all of Phil’s songs and it was wonderful. The dance music pushed me along, the angry music pushed me harder, and then, as I was running up a small hill I heard Maria calling out for Tony. I laughed out loud, shrugged my shoulders, and said “What the hell.” I listened to the entire song as I trudged along the road, thinking of my very unusual and eternally entertaining brother and I finished the run with a small smile on my face.

Today, though, was not like yesterday.  Missing my brother, I watched a short video I have of him because I needed to see him again. I needed to hear his voice, his laugh. I haven’t watched it since his “get together” six weeks ago. Later I took a short walk instead of a run. I thought of Phil just like I did yesterday, but ended up sobbing on the side of the road, bent over with my hands on my knees, trying to calm down and breathe.

Grief is a fickle thing. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Maybe I’ll hear about the new movie, “It,” and it will make me think of Phil. Well, I know it will but whether it makes me happy, sad or angry is anyone’s guess. Or maybe I’ll have another dream about him but it will be a good one this time. Or maybe none of those things will happen and I’ll get up, take the boy to school, go to work and just go on.

And sometimes that is the hardest thing of all.

But somehow we manage do it anyway.



2 thoughts on “49 Days

  1. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, when you were hearing Maria just as you’re going uphill and need the upbeat. I’m sure Phil planned it that way. He made you laugh, but also helped you up the hill in spite of the lack of upbeat music, because it was his music and that was enough. It’s his way of saying, we laughed together and apart before, and it’s okay to laugh together and apart now, as I’m sure he was laughing and grinning along with you. And the letting loose of grief along the pathway of living is taking one more step to getting to where, living life as you normally did, and laughing apart, doesn’t impart feelings of guilt and resentment for doing it, but can embrace that , in all you do he will be along for the ride, even when you are caught up in life the way you use to be.
    Thank you for making me remember , that Phil had made up a few CD’s of music by some band we we’re listening to, while he was cruising through the winding roads and steep hills with blind drives, at 70 miles per hour, windows open on the way to where Amber lived at the time. Normally I would have let my fears kick in , but that day, I let the sun shine in on me, the wind wildly blow my hair, the blaring beat energize me, and howled out loud like a wolf, Phil laughing and me smiling and feeling free of fear,s restraints, throwing caution to the wind and leaving it all in Phil’s devil may care hands. I need to find and play that music again. I want to feel that free, if only in imagery of the moment playing over in my mind. And then I’ll probably cry.

    • Love, love, love that image of you, Pat, sitting in Phil’s car howling. I hope you do find that music and try to relive those moments. And if you’re like me, you’ll probably cry, too. ❤

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