Saturday, April 30, 2011

I was talking with someone I work with who had an in-law that was possibly at the end of his life. Hospitalized, with things failing, the responsibility of what actions and how aggressive the measures would be fell with this person's spouse. Listening closely to what was being said I was vividly reminded of similar discussions I sat in on with my extended family just weeks before. I had done some research on the possible measures that might have had to be taken and was able to share that same information again for the benefit of someone else.

How many times have we been able to share experiences with someone going through rough and sometimes unusual stretches.

Having experience with brain injuries and what it is like to have someone close in an ICU and then go through rehab; then years later be able to capture the essence and feeling of the experience to comfort and support someone else. Long periods of time maneuvering hospitals with family members or for work and again years later being asked to visit people who need spiritual support because of that comfort level. Lying in an MRI in absolute physical agony and ready to pass out from the pain and being able to share my recovery experience with a colleague in similar pain and worrying about his own recovery. While our experiences are different, he knows how physically active I am and that this is also a potential outcome. Having been professionally "downsized" years ago, but able to recall in a split second, the pain and fear of that long job search I also know the optimism I felt when someone offered me a lead. So when I heard of a friend having to now do a search, I went looking for some leads I could share and mentioned it to colleague for theirs as well.

I know when I hear of the experiences of others I often take something away from it. The outlook, the determination, the options. I also become a sponge for the details of practices and options and have the ability to recall them later.

Of course it is how we share those experience and which we share and which we keep private and which would be unkind to share. Sometimes knowing less about an process or outcome, especially when there is nothing that can be done, is the kind way to do.

So, as I was thinking about the people I have come in contact with the past few weeks, working with end of life, physical recoveries, someone looking for work, someone who has lost a family member or friend- I am so reminded that we are in this life together; to be guides and well as to be guided; to teach as well as to learn; to comfort as well as to be comforted.

......and this again makes me optimistic about people.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I have written often about a certain running route that I have that runs along fields and the ridge line. It's a 3 or 4 mile loop depending on how far I go out and much of it is not someone's front yard. I have often thought I needed to bring a bag sometime to pick up the trash that has been tossed by the side of the road and in the woods, but I usually remember this when I am already running.

A friend posted on facebook last week that she was doing clean up for earth week and a facebook friend commented yesterday on trash she had seen on the road and this morning I was not going to work and it is Earth Day.

So as it was 37, but sunny, this morning at 7 AM I had my trash bag and work gloves and bright orange jersey and headed out for a run. I figured I'd sprint between trash and still get a workout.

What I quickly discovered after the first half mile was that I was sprinting much shorter distances and bounding in and out of the brush. By mile one my bag was near full and it was getting heavy and the added weight definitely adding to the workout. By mile 2 the bag was stuffed and I was thinking I have to make decisions about what more I could squeeze in before it starts to rip. Then I spotted some plastic and true enough it was a big plastic bag that someone tossed. Now crusted in ice and under leaves, with a little effort it was now available.

On I went, hopping down to the stream to pick up beer cans or tug out a disposable (not) diaper. Both bags were getting filled and heavy and I was running much less and sweating much more. Cars were going by but no one else was out.

As I got to within a half mile of home a guy in a trash truck even pulled along side and offered to take one bag off my hands but I politely declined. If I was going through this effort, I wanted to sort it out and recycle as much as I could.

So, as I neared home I actually had to leave some trash behind, both bags were filled and close to bursting and I still had a major hill to make it up.

After an hour an a half I was done, three times my normal running time but I figure I added much more of a workout in the brush and running with bags and I was beat. I must admit, I must have been a curious sight for cars going by.

In the end I am guessing there is about 30 pounds here. I have hauled so many 40 pound bags of pellets I know the feel. Half of it is recyclable and about 20 cans are returnable.

Later this afternoon as we drove the same route, I had to admire the clean that will probably be unnoticed by most but not by me as I run the route many times again.

Happy Earth day.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Last weekend, as so much else was happening, was my annual marathon volunteering at a weekend high school drama event. It is tedious, exhausting and I get to a point where I just shrug and my mantra becomes "the drama belongs on on the stage". I avoid the "drama mavens" (rarely the actors) that seem to take themselves way too serious for a volunteer high school event, but it is worthwhile and for the kids and while I have no kids involved in it this year, I consider it payback for those who did what I am doing, when my kids were first involved.

I think I could plot my annual colds on my running log based on the block of diminished mileage and entries that are usually about March or April of each year. It is very rare that it is more than once and the usual pattern is 1 1/2 weeks down. If ai push the recovery, then it's a full 2 weeks. Thinking that I will over come this annual dip in physical and mental motivation, I have yet to be triumphant. There have multiple unusual event that have been weighing in and these have seemed to zap both the time and motivation.

As I am well again and as things seemed to have resolved themselves in way that they do, this week I am back to easing in running. It is frustrating how quickly fitness deteriates as age advances, oh well. Last week the temperature was up to the 60s, I was home from work early, dinner was running late, a perfect opportunity for a short run. The breeze was mild and light soft, the sound of the peepers on the swampy wetlands was deafening. I don't mind winter, but this weather is so sweet. This morning and out early, the wind was brisk but warm enough for just a long sleeve shirt and it periodically died down to keep it from being tedious. The crocuses are up up, the daffodils are up on the south sides and tulips making there way up through the soil. Coming back a few miles out the wind shifts and the rain comes and for anyone who runs a bit, the feeling of a warm rain too cool you down as you return home can be glorious.

I got a mailing on a 5k coming up in a couple of weeks, my mind says possibly, my body not so sure.....though as I got a chance to run on an indoor track last night I could relatively fire off a couple of miles, even having done 4 miles in the morning and a bit of circuit training, so maybe.

Spring alway arrives a little later in the Berkshires than it does out of the hills. This yer it actually seems like it will be a spring and not just winter into summer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It was 8 years ago this spring when both my parents died within a couple of months of each other. I remember feeling numb for a good amount of time afterward. Going to work, doing what I needed to do and "doing life" but feeling like I was going through the motions. The paperwork and shared responsibility for the dismantling of the remains of two lives served as a distraction, but there was still a hole.

This week the last of the parents, and for my kids- grandparents, died. That hole that I thought had healed and covered over, showed how tentative and thin that cover was and that numbness that had become so familiar, has returned. I was fortunate in that my "in-laws" were good people and not too dissimilar to my own parents, whom I also liked as people and not just parents. It makes the ending all the more difficult.