It’s May. Beautiful, warm, green May. School years are coming to a close, engagements are turning into “I Do’s”, ice is melting faster, sunscreen sales are up and dormant plants are blooming once again. We received a healthy serving of rain recently. The land around us drank it in and rewarded the skies with a burst of color. One sunny afternoon, when the rain had ceased, I was in the backyard, listening. I knelt down closer to the grass below my feet and I could hear it. The sound of the rain water seeping into the soil. It sounded alive…it sounded simple and amazing.
May. This is the month Audrey’s 81 days began. As her birthday approaches, there is a part of me that wants time to slow down again. This time last year, we felt so much uncertainty, we were unsure what each passing day might bring. We wondered if we would get the chance to hear her cry or if she would know our touch. This year, life is just as uncertain, the difference is that I’ve come to appreciate feeling unsure. It is when I think I feel sure that I quickly doubt myself. I doubt my faith, my intention to trust.
On the very last day of 2014, I was challenged. Of course the entire year had been one of new and different challenges, but this one required a commitment I wasn’t sure I was willing to make. The challenge came from my Debbie. She’s my friend, my sister and my accountability partner. Debbie challenged me to run the OKC Memorial Half Marathon with her. Now, I live with a runner. This year, Chris completed his third marathon in 4 years. So I am well aware of the commitment it requires. Chris really is a runner, I’ve watched what it takes, even flirting with the idea of doing half of a marathon caused my face to do one of these…
I’m definitely NOT a runner. I’ve always claimed to loathe the sport. Last year, the most exercise I did consisted of ascending the occasional flight of stairs at Children’s Hospital or taking a barre class once every six-to-eight weeks. When Debbie presented this idea to me, I chuckled at first. I told her I would need to think about it, knowing I would find some lame excuse why I couldn’t, or rather didn’t want to, do it. We hung up and, as promised, I thought about it. And thought about it and thought about it. For the life of me, I couldn’t think of one valid reason why I should say no. Believe me, I tried.
With a smidge of hesitation and an overwhelming amount of doubt, I accepted this challenge. “Okay Deb,” I said, “I’ll do it.”
Fast forward to last Sunday. Debbie and Carrie, both more experienced runners, gracefully flanked my sides as we ran 13 miles…forgive me, 13.1 miles.
At about mile 10, guess who appeared on my shoulder wearing her devilish horns? The Ninety-Percenter. But I wasn’t about to let her get the best of me.
I wanted to be done in the worst way. Everything hurt, I was using muscles I didn’t know I had. My girls were right there with me. Encouraging me, supporting me, pushing me in the most gentle of ways. They would have stopped right then and there if I really needed to. But I was determined. I wanted to make them proud, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this well, I wanted all the hard work and training to have purpose.
It was brutal, but we kept going. I thought often during those miles about the adults and children who lost their lives on April 19, 1995. I thought about the families who were and still are left behind. And I ached for them. Literally, I ached FOR them. This run was to remember. We honored Audrey as well by wearing wings on our backs.
Training for the half marathon gave me something to focus on this year. It provided a goal for me to chase after…quite literally. I felt healthier and happier these months of training than all of last fall. In part, this was because time really does play a role in the healing process, but I am utterly convinced that running helped me turn a corner in my journey through life after Audrey. I look back and my only regret is not starting earlier.
And now, it’s just…over. We did it, we finished, it is done. All week I’ve been missing the training and the feeling of being a part of something so big with thousands of others.
So, on to the next. I looked at the calendar. May. Oh yeah…May.
On May 27th, all four seasons will have passed since our Audrey took her first breath. Instead of slowing time and dreading that day, we’ve decided to celebrate in a big way. This year, we’ll honor her birth along with many others. Businesses are partnering with us for Wings for Audrey Day 2015. They are giving a portion of their proceeds from that day, Wednesday, May 27th, to help reach the lofty $100,000 goal. The number of businesses is growing and has even extended into Texas! What a day it will be, family, friends and even people we don’t know will honor Audrey while giving hope to future babies at Children’s Hospital. Isn’t that amazing?
If you own or work for a business and want to get involved, it would be quite an honor. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
As this, the first day of May, comes to a close, we inch closer to the beginning of those 81 days Audrey stole our hearts. There will be hard, tearful moments but I choose to believe there will also be incredibly heart-warming ones that help dry the tears as quickly as they formed. Emotions will run high over the next few months, but I will do my best to honor her, we will keep her story alive through Wings for Audrey. Running for a couple of hours is one thing, but raising $100,000 is an incredible goal in and of itself. As of today, $54,478 has been raised! We can and will make $45,522 more happen. Let’s partner together and go the distance.
Happy May Day everyone!
Love + Hugs, R