Monday, June 8, 2009

A bit more about my mom

My "goofy" mom. At all races my mom would ensure to completely embarrass my sister and I by wearing things that really stand out. Her favorite was her "goofy" hat which was a constant at all the Disney Marathons. She was easy to spot in the crowds. And she loved how kids were so amused by her hat. She had a larger than life personality and her goofy hat really showcased this. As a kid I definitely cringed when she would be so vibrant and different than many other parents, but as I grew older I think I took on some of the goofiness (at least as per my sister and husband who apparently "cannot take me anywhere!")

My mom really enjoyed so many things in life. She was a big fan of "down to earth" people who were really encouraging. One activity we did together after her first stroke was go to Delaware and Philadelphia to participate in the 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days with Dean Karnazes. She volunteered at both events and was a great hit with the staff. And she just loved everyone who participated, organized and were involved in this event. She really believed in the message Dean was sending which was to believe in yourself and to go out and "Just do it!". My mom like Dean was a pioneer, visionary and trailblazer in so many ways. She just was always so encouraging and supportive to everyone. And she led by example, living out her dreams and seeing and doing so much.

This is a picture of my mom and Tristan as we all walked back to the car after the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in 2007 (I think). My mom was a regular spectator at the MCM. Our yearly ritual involved me going in by metro alone or with her. Then Tristan would drive in for some spectating as well. After I finished, we would all meet up about mile 25.5 by the Arlington Bridge to cheer on the runners who were finishing in 6-7 hours. We then would walk to the car which invariable was by the State Department.

This is my mom with her cowbell. She got a cowbell my first MCM (and would resupply when needed). She used her cowbell with gusto! And she needed no extra encouragement such as runners calling out, "I need more cowbell" because she was ringing it as loud as possible. In fact I might still have some ringing in my ear from some race we hung out after I finished and cheered on later runners.
She was a big fan of everyone in a race from the elites who clearly have so much talent and determination to the back of the packers who are using every ounce of their being to finish. My mom supported everyone on the course and in life.

With my mom after the Delaware Marathon from Dean Karnazes 50/50 event in 2007. This picture of my mom was taken just 2 weeks after her first stroke. She really recovered quite quickly and successfully from her first stroke which sadly gave me a false sense that she would be able to recover from anything. Her first stroke led to signficant confusion but within 1 month she was able to function completely independently and I would say stabilized to nearly her pre-stroke abilities.

This past weekend we had an informal memorial service and tree dedication for my mom at Pocohontas State Park in Virginia. I will write more later and include a separate post. Pocohontas was her favorite park (although virtually every other state and national park she visited came in a close second!)

One of her best friends, Louise (a park manager) arranged for a tree to be planted including a small ceremony. The 30+ people from the park who arrived for this event were a bit suprising initially, but after a few moments, I was able to realize this is the type of person my mom was. She had a big heart and knew lots of people!

My sister, Cindy, husband, Tristan, father-in-law "Dad" and Cindy's boyfriend were all in attendance and representing her family (although a family event is scheduled for later this summer hopefully complete with our cousins, aunts and uncles). At the next event we should have some remains and a chair to dedicate. My mom was a HUGE procrastinator so this evolution of a memorial probably would make her happy.

I guess I continue to have trouble to coming to grips with her not being here anymore. She was such a vibrant and active person. Back in Feb when I saw her, she was the same "goofy" mom I grew up with.

Trying to corral her at Rocky Raccoon 50/100 was just as difficult as every previous event. In fact back in 2005 I ran Marine Corps Marathon, at our predetermined mile marker (7) I saw my mom along the course chatting with a person; I waved wildly at her...but, having no luck in catching her attention I continued running trying to get to off the course, which was filled with spectators. Finally I made it to the side, I then called my mom on her cell phone and explained I would be walking upstream through spectators to give her a hug.

You have no idea how challenging this "salmon-like" experience was. Luckily time was not of great concern to me, although in fact even with this challenge and several "running water bathroom breaks at the monuments I did PR during the race with a 4:40.

No comments: