My mind has been a bit of a jumble this week because on Sunday, this baby will be as old as Kate and Lucy were. Lovely, kind people keep asking how I’m feeling. Physically, that is, and the reality is, this has been an easy ride so far. No nausea, little tired, very itchy. But I don’t trust how I feel. I felt fine last time too. Until I didn’t. And by then it was too late.
I plan on training with our 2013 Team for as long as I can. I’ll probably be walking, and when I can’t walk any more, I’ll be the water girl, but it’s just too rich of an experience, as you’ll see in my mom’s words.
13.1 LA wasn’t my first half-marathon; in fact, I had done 2 full marathons, a handful
of halfs, and, with 58-year-old knees, figured I was done with longer runs. But then
one of the young adults at our church got excited about this run for clean water
with World Vision, which triggered excitement in my husband Dave and daughter
Meredith. Because both are very persuasive, and because our church got excited,
and most important, because I have known and supported World Vision’s work for
some 40 years, I wanted to join our team.
About a month after we began training, my daughter, Meredith, learned she was
pregnant. My husband and I were thrilled to become first-time grandparents.
Because Meredith was an experienced runner in good shape, she was able to
continue with her training even after learning her “baby” was twins. She and her
doctor figured that, by race time, she might need to walk, but otherwise she was
good to go. Her health and training remained strong for 5 months.
About a week before 13.1 LA, Meredith went into pre-term labor and delivered two
perfect baby girls, who couldn’t survive. During those early days of grief with her
and our son-in-law, Curtis, we quickly experienced the loving care of our church,
family, and other friends. The Lord comforted, and still comforts, with His presence
and through His people.
During the few days that remained before the race, I witnessed God’s grace working
through Meredith and Curtis and blessing those of us who would be running
for Team World Vision. They spoke of God’s goodness. They acknowledged the
suffering in the world. And, just one week after experiencing their own deep pain,
they showed up at the finish line to cheer our team and support World Vision.
I had imagined that I would at least begin this half-marathon with my daughter
and might match her pace for a while before she left me in the dust. Instead, as
team members settled into their own pace and spread out, I found myself alone
with my own thoughts, which often went to the events of the prior week. Just as I
couldn’t avoid some physical pain in the last couple of miles, I couldn’t push away
the emotional pain of our loss.
In those moments, I found God graciously reminding me of the thousands of
mothers who lose their children every day of preventable causes. Thousands of
children die daily because they lack the most basic things that would allow them to
thrive. And the most basic of all is clean water.
As Dave and I hugged Meredith and Curtis at the finish line, it struck me that we had
all done what we could so that parents and grandparents around the world would
not have to experience the grief of losing children. When I joined Team World
Vision, I knew I would be running for a great cause. What I couldn’t know was that
this race would be a small step toward my own – our own – healing.