So. This is a training blog. Through which I will share my journey from here to Copley Square.
This is week one of eighteen leading up to the Marathon. For the next 18 weeks, I will obsess over every twinge, sniffle, hill repeat and sprint. I’m currently watching a finger, both IT bands, and a hip, for those keeping score.
However, as I lay out my training plans for the next few months, this week reminded me that this marathon, like last year’s, is about something more important than how much I'll be running.
My community has suffered another loss, another teenager who, like her friend in whose honor I have been running, fought depression hard. At the funeral, her Rabbi made a point of describing her parents as good parents. Her family read poems and talked about the child’s love of all life aquatic and appetite for adventure. Her curiosity. Her ability to draw connections that most of the rest of us would never get to on our own. Her brother said goodbye. What felt like ten thousand people from our community almost immediately surrounded the family (both families) with hugs and food and memories.
And I’m thinking to myself, I’m running only a marathon. Only 26 miles. Not nearly enough to measure out my grief or the empathy I carry for families who’ve lost children, especially this way.
I have two really important reasons to run this marathon in support of suicide prevention and grief support services, but really I have about 4500 just counting the kids in my town. I know I cannot stop every suicide, but I can do my part (with your help) to make sure that support is out there for people at their most vulnerable, and for those who have to learn to live with loss.
Hug them hard. Make sure they know that there are people out there who will reach back, without judgment, if they need to reach out. And make sure that they know they can volunteer, too, to answer calls, chats and texts from kids like them. Every one of them has more to offer than they know.