When I sat down to write this entry, I wasn’t quite sure how to get out what I wanted to say. I knew the story that I wanted to tell, but I wasn’t quite sure how to form the message and to do the experience justice. A lot of times when I am feeling anxious, my thoughts get jumbled. It is hard for me to focus and my heart starts racing. That being said, I am going to do my best.
My grandma passed away almost two years ago. She died of bone cancer and it was a really difficult thing to watch happen to someone so full of life and laughter. It was painful and is something I think about often. Working for an organization that is trying to find a cure for blood cancer, I often think about those who have experienced losses like mine—some of cancer’s victims being so much younger than my grandma. It is something that weighs heavy on me.
My dad and I have decided to run a half marathon and raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We have raised over 5 thousand dollars. It is something that I am so incredibly proud of and a time I will remember forever. The training is hard. It is physically draining and mentally exhausting.
Some of you know this story I am about to tell.
On one particular run, I was struggling. My dad and I were running 8 miles and we were only two in. My dad has often talked about the Blue Heron he saw out in the lake many moons ago and how it gives him a peaceful, easy feeling. He told me he wished I would be able to see it one day.
As we were running along the lake, my dad yelled to me. “Jord!!” I panicked, thinking someone was about to hit me with their car. Once I realized I was safe, my dad pointed out the Blue Heron to me. He had a lot of emotion in his eyes as he told me about the night before. He had said a small prayer to my grandma, his mom, to let us see the Blue Heron on our run the next day. As I stared at the bird, I said to my dad, “I wish I could see him fly.”
We started running again, this time with a conversation that was focused on my grandma and her final days. We talked about our final words to her and how our entire family was sitting around her for three days straight before she passed—something that would make her so happy. As we rounded the bend, there was the Blue Heron again—sitting out so we could see him perfectly. Just as my dad called my name to look over, it took off--spreading its wings for me to see. At that moment, I was never so sure in my life that she was there and that she is proud.
Now, I have no idea what is waiting for us on the other side of this life, but I know for the first time, in a very long time, I felt my grandma’s presence. It was a feeling I will never forget in my life. The Blue Heron has been around every single time my dad and I have run the lake since that day. Every time we see it, it makes us smile. It reminds us of someone who was, and always will be, one of the most important people in our lives. Someone who taught us so much and helped formed our morals and values. Someone that we are remembering as we take on this half marathon. GramZ.
Losing someone is always difficult. Every once in a while we are lucky enough to feel like that person is near again. If you find something that gives you that peaceful, easy feeling—hold on tight.