We were about 2 miles into the Galloping Gobbler race on Thursday. I ran with Britni (who you might recognize from my half marathon posts) and my friend Jackie, who happens to be a nurse. We were coming up to a turn when we heard, “Get to your left! Stay to your left! To the left, folks! Keep to the left!” There was a group of people, likely some of them family, standing around and a bit of motion near the ground caught my eye. A gentleman, probably in his 40s, was down on the ground and another person was performing chest compressions. I’ve never seen someone in such a severe situation; teetering on the edge of life. Jackie calmly explained that there were already plenty of people assisting and as we made the turn she thought she saw his arm move. Shortly after, the ambulance and fire truck arrived. The rest of that day and each day since, I’ve thought about that man. I’ve thought about this stranger and imagined a scenario, not knowing whether it’s his truth. I imagine his family signing up for a fun race, maybe it was even their Thanksgiving tradition. I imagine them coming out on that beautiful, unseasonably warm morning, taking a group photo and smiling. And then the unimaginable just struck through them. I’ve asked around and heard he is alright, which is a huge relief, but I just can’t get the image out of my mind. Hundreds of people running around one man’s tragedy; A constant motion while one family’s life stood completely, startlingly still.
But like I said, the weight of life has been on my mind a lot lately. Researching a story, I recently visited a needleworking group. These women contribute intricate, hand-crafted blankets, hats and shawls to perfect strangers and want nothing more than the feeling of being needed and valued in return. I spoke with several of them one on one. I asked questions like, “How long have you been crocheting?” “Who taught you?” and “What’s the one piece you treasure most?” I looked into their eyes, the nucleus of their worn, wonderful faces, and I watched them relive the facts as they searched for answers. They recalled grandmothers and aunts, moments spent crafting precious blankets for first grandchildren, and time spent in the meditation of their craft after the passing of partners. I spoke about my girls and each lit up like they’d held each one of them in their arms. They would say, “Enjoy it, dear.” and “It just goes so fast.” and “Ah, bless you.” And I felt it. I felt how fast it is going to go.