Run For Your Life

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 8:21 PM


Yesterday was my very first race since I started running 6 months ago. I ran a 5K, which is 3.1 miles. It's about the shortest race there is, and it probably doesn't seem like a big deal to some people, but it was a big deal for me.

I ran it in 32:59, so well under my goal of 35:00. I was delighted, but I expected to meet my goal.

What I didn't expect was the overwhelming emotions that I would experience as I ran. That's because I didn't know that 12 hours before the race began, I would receive the news that a friend in my ward - a wife, a mother of 4 children, and only 5 years older than I am - who has been fighting cancer for a year and a half, was placed in hospice care and was not expected to survive the weekend.

I didn't know Leah very well. She was already sick when we moved into this house, so I never knew her as a well person. She was often hospitalized, and when she was home she was immunocompromised and so was not able to have visitors or attend social activities. But she lived around the corner from me, and her youngest child is the same age as my oldest.

I wanted to know her.

But there is only so much you can do.

I brought meals, I prayed and fasted for her, I checked in on Facebook. I gave her a big hug when she came to church one week, even though I'm sure I wasn't supposed to because of the risk of infection. She didn't seem to mind.

She has been declining steadily for a few weeks, so it wasn't really a surprise when I found out that her time was so short. But I was angry. Cancer has taken a lot of people from my life, and the lives of people that I love.

My grandfather died of cancer, leaving my grandmother with eight children to raise, including my mom. She was 14.

Then my mom lost her brother to the same disease. It was Easter Sunday. He was 45 years old.

I would say "it's not fair", but I need something much stronger. And I don't have those words.

So I took that fire, and I ran instead.

I ran this race for Leah, who was dying while I was running.

While I saw the brilliant rays of sunlight break over the orange trees as I ran to the east, she was seeing her light, and trying to find the strength to let go and walk toward it.

While I felt my adrenaline rise and my heart pound, her breath was slowing and her heart was going quiet.

While I felt the wind rush over my face, and heard beautiful music in my ears, and saw my husband and my children waiting for me at the finish line, her family was trying to prepare to live the rest of their lives without her.

It's not fair.

But life isn't fair.

What it is, is beautiful. It's beautiful, and it's a gift, and you just never know how much you have left.

I ran with my face to the sky, and a song in my heart. And when I was done, I took that song to Leah. I sang for her and her family, and I held her hand, and I hugged her kids.

An hour later, she was gone.

* * * * *

Devlin wants to become a scientist now, so that he can cure cancer.

I'll keep running, and I'll keep living.

And maybe together, we'll figure it out.

* * * * *

Yesterday's joy: timing the music on my iPod so that I finished the race to the song I have always thought would be perfect for that moment. It was just like a movie!

Today's joy: Senior Primary actually liked the Singing Time activity I prepared! Those big kids are a tough crowd.

Comments (14)

I'm sure there were many tears behind this post. You're such a beautiful friend. I wish I could have been there when you sang. What a beautiful gift to give Leah before she left this earth. Love you.

Um, this made me cry. It was beautiful. Congrats on your race.

Yeah, tears here too. I like that you said that life isn't fair, it's beautiful. I guess we just have to remember that beautiful things aren't always perfect, rosy, and happy. There can be sad parts too. Even parts that are ugly if you're standing too close to the painting. But let's hope that the big picture is beautiful, as I'm sure it is. Thanks for this wonderful piece of writing. It's a beautiful thing in and of itself.

You're so right. Life isn't fair at all. But its beautiful. So well said.

What a beautiful, thought-provoking post. Thank you for sharing :)


what a beautiful post! And yay for your time! Great job!!! Sorry I haven't gotten back with you! I will text you today. Crazy weekend. :)

You are so wise.

Life isn't fair, but without the bad we wouldn't be able to properly appreciate the good. You illustrate that so well.

I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope Devlin does grow up to cure Cancer. You birthed a little genius there, I'm sure he can solve any problem he wants to.


So much for having a cry-free morning! Again, as I have said many times before, you rock.

Congratulations on the race, and thank you for a beautiful post. It gave me reason to pause for a moment this morning to appreciate the beauty all around, in places and people. I don't take time often enough to do such things....

And I wish I would have read this before I saw you at Sprouts so I could have asked you about your run in person. Great job!!!

Life is so strange at times and we never know when it will be our time. Stories like this always make my want to be better though. My heart breaks for Leah's family and your Grandma has to be a very special and strong lady.

♥ no words. what a beautiful post.

Tears. Beautiful.

I needed me a good weep today. Congrats to you, and love to Leah's family. I'm sure her family cherishes you.

Beautifully written. You've got me in tears too.