Thursday, September 22, 2011

Running for Granddad Mills

My sweet granddad passed away very early Wednesday morning.

I woke up to a text message that relayed the news. I had known that message would be coming at any moment. Luckily, my uncle alerted my family on Tuesday that his time was near, and I was able to say my goodbyes to him over the phone as he slept peacefully at his home in California.

I told him that I loved him. That I would take care of our family. That I would travel and see the world, like I told him I would. That I hoped, as his only granddaughter, that I had made him proud.

Who knows if he actually heard me, but I like to believe that he did.

So yesterday morning, I cried in my bed. I cried in the shower. I even cried a little at my desk, when no one at work could see my crumpled face. I was a very sad girl all day.

The six-mile run on my marathon training plan was just about the last thing I wanted to do last night. I intended, instead, on crawling into bed and attempting to sleep for about three days straight.

But when I got off the bus and walked the few blocks back to my house, I realized what a beautiful evening it was, and thought that maybe a good run would make me feel better. A few minutes later, I quickly changed into my running clothes, grabbed my fuel belt and slammed a chocolate Clif Shot before I could change my mind.

It turned out to be one of the best runs I’ve had in a long time.

Although I started out feeling sluggish, my pace picked up… and up… and up… and I achieved negative splits for each mile. It was one of those super-sweaty, soul-cleansing runs.

When I returned home, I thought about the choice I had made. One of my options was to mourn my granddad’s death by crawling into bed and crying, which would have made me feel very sad and small. The other option was to throw down six miles in celebration of his life, which made me feel strong and happy.

I’m very glad I chose to be strong and happy.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s perfectly fine to mourn, and I’ve spent my fair share of time feeling sick with sadness as I watched my granddad’s health decline over the past few years. I’m sad as I write this, and I’ll be sad about his passing for a long time.

But while his life ended yesterday morning, mine goes on. He would want me to enjoy living it.

My granddad rocked his one wild and precious life for 92 years. I intend to keep on rocking mine in honor of him.


Originally posted on Dev on Running.


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  1. Devon,
    Just discovered your site today - and what a touching piece this is. Life IS precious - and choosing to really live that life - what a wonderful thing that is. It sure sounds like your grandfather did just that...and that you're continuing that today.

    Nice job on the run!!

    And much peace to you and your whole family...

  2. Thanks so much, Lance, for your kind words and for stopping by! My granddad definitely lived a wonderful, long, happy life, and I plan to do the same.


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