Thursday, May 20, 2004

And The Beat Goes On

Isn't it amazing how when tragedy strikes the world keeps moving? It seems both cruel and comforting all at once. I found out today that our best friends, whom we were posted away from last July, are facing Cancer and death. The husband, Monty, has been told he should have been dead some time ago and that he's on borrowed time. They can still carry on with some treatment but it's a crap shoot in terms of possible success. I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach.

So what did I do first thing? You guessed it, bandaged my foot, laced up and hit the trail. My angels must have helped me with the bandages because I didn't feel a thing. I ran and remembered his cheerful, goofy smile. He loves to run...and jump of course. He's Airborne. As the kilometers melted underneath my feet I began to feel so grateful for Monty & Pegs' presence in our lives again, the way I had given thanks for them many previous times. Somehow they are 'just like us' and they seem to know what we are, who we are and why. Likewise we are the same for them, like kindred families if you will?

The sun was shining in a bright, vibrant blue sky as I stretched into my full stride and let the tears once again splash from my cheeks onto the path. At that moment, a group of F-16s came flying in out of my NW field; almost like a harbinger of good faith and painful memory. It was Monty's company that had been accidentally bombed in Afghanistan on his and Mark's last tour...I guess the last tour for Monty ever now of course. As the Americans danced in the air above me I remembered how many times Monty have cheated death in uniform. Why would I think that he wouldn't plan to be utterly magnificent in his defiance and skill once again? I remember he and my Husband, when someone uses the phrase: "I'd die for my country," would respond: "Well I sure as hell won't. Let the other guy die for his country 'cause I'm living for mine!" Absolutely, foolishly sure we are, each of us, that we will not be the one to fall.

I kept running and the fighter games continued on in the sky. I halted and ran on the spot for awhile as a group of school children crossed my path on their way to swim lessons. I nodded greetings to a couple groups of foreign flight crews as I was warming into my 4th km. Life just carried on as I ran. I was calmed and soothed by that and yet at the same moment I wanted to yell up to all the magnificent metal birds who were weaving in the sky: "can you go give Monty a fly by? I think he would like that. He's dying and I don't know what to tell him. I just want him to be better."

I sent my wishes and heartache up into the sky and the rhythm of my running, my long strides, created a strong current that I knew would send them straight to heaven. As I breathed in my precious clean air and turned my face to the sky I just knew that whatever it is life gives me to work with, I was going to wrap it up in a beautiful, giant, running bow.

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