Thursday, July 17, 2014

Remembering Why We Do Some of the Things We Do Which Are Not Always Fun

Today marks the five year anniversary of the passing of James Conlon. He was a good friend. The best from a time when I had many good friends. There for me when I most needed one. I've made a point to try to contemplate James every day since I got the phone call.

I was just home from work, assisting with our newborn deep into "witching hour" howling. James and I hadn't seen each other much since Roman was born. A few quick post-work drinks and one (now) very important visit so he could hold my little guy. We spoke on the phone occasionally and emailed frequently. I knew he was feeling some sort of sickness but couldn't work out what it was. He was back and forth with his doctors but ultimately couldn't find the cause. Then it was over.

This is meant to be a running blog. Stories of my troubles and travails on the road and trail. Challenges around managing goals, training, family, work. It feels weird to write about James here now.

Running is not straightforward for me. It is not always enjoyable. Occasionally I find a moment of success. Every so often I run into an epiphany (though I'm not really fond of the term), but rarely does it come easy. In the act of running I find that I am continually searching. Rarely do I discover anything. When I do happen to stumble upon something of meaning in the run, I can usually point to the moment and say "there was where I discovered something about myself"... but I probably couldn't tell you any more than that. So I go back out again. It is a cycling, never ending exploration.

It was James' death that ultimately sent me down this path.

His passing scared the shit out of me. It was too unexpected. He was too healthy and important to too many people. Me with a new baby boy and all I could think about was that I wasn't a piece of the man he was. I was not healthy. I knew that I had wasted years on nonsense. It took a little while before I started to let the fears creep in that something was lurking below the surface. Out of my control. Some illness, an impending breakdown. Questions about purpose. I could not push it away.

So I started running again. Running hard at something off in the distance, away from things in the past.

When James died I found it easy to pull away from anything that included him. I regret it now. I wasn't moving on, more moving away. Searching. Now after five years, I'm happy that the act of remembering James can continue to inspire me to endure and go on with my exploration. To keep at it.

Keep running.