With just a couple hours left in 2012 I sit here with my thoughts and heart heavy over the implications of a ‘new year’. Midnight marks a massive change to our lives, 2012 is now just memories, 2013 will be upon us. The one second change from year to year is arguably one of the biggest changes…
What a day! It started with the article in the Citizen getting a spot on the front page…which blew me away. The article then took up an entire page in the Sports section. Gord Holder did a beautiful job handling my story and wrote a great piece.
The first stop was St. Marks(my old high school) to talk to two classes of 14-15 year olds…I was taken aback by the intelligence and quality of the questions they asked! Kids sure are growing up fast these days. It was also great to have one of the teachers share a question with me that really made himself quite vulnerable in front of his students. That was so brave and I know his students really appreciated it.
Then we were off to St.Pius to speak to two more(bigger) classes. Again, some really heavy questions after my talk. I really couldn’t believe how much they paid attention and how much they wanted to know about this issue and what they can do to help both themselves and others. It was also quite special to have Mr. O’Connor there at Pius. He’s now the VP at Pius, but he was one of my high school teachers, and easily my favorite. The one teacher that definitely made me feel like I mattered in a sea of 2000 kids at St. Marks.
The last stop was St. Pete’s to talk to two grade 12 classes. These students were great and being the closest to me in age, I could really feel the respect and the desire to talk and ask questions…it turned into a great open forum where the students really went deep into this issue.
The day still hasn’t sunk in, but when I reflect back on it, I’m truly amazed at everything that happened. A big thanks to Dave Ibit for arranging this and taking me around the city to introduce me to the classes.
The biggest thank you goes out to the students. To the nearly 120 students, you all were amazing. Your respect, attention, and desire to talk blew me away. You all helped me get through the nerves and anxiety of the day and really made me feel like I mattered and that I wasn’t alone in this. If I could pass on that same sentiment and feeling of worth to but one of you yesterday, it was totally worth it!
i feel sad more than i feel happy.
i feel stuck more than i feel free.
i feel defeated more than i feel accomplished.
i feel i should have found love by now.
i think about it every single day.
i confuse girls with God.
Because it seems easier to know a girl than a God.
Seems easier to…
Fear & Excitement
I find myself sitting here reflecting a little on my journey of the past 16 months and those are the two emotions that are bouncing around in my gut as I type this…
Why? Well I have an interview with The Ottawa Citizen in 30 min to chat about my story, and the journey of andrewruns.com. I’m extremely excited but also quite anxious about having my story get out beyond the safe confines of this blog and the small group of readers I have. The thought of this going public across my city certainly excites, but also scares the shit out me! I’m scared to have more people know about my dark period and how I could be viewed or treated.
I’m fighting that fear with the excitement that maybe my story and my continued journey into health could inspire someone who was in my shoes when things looked bleak. Thankfully, that emotion is propelling me into the uncertainty of doing this interview and it’s reception to readers.
Even more, I’ll be chatting with some high schools here in Ottawa in a two weeks! I’ll be sitting down with students to share my story and try to pass on some encouragement, hope, and inspiration that things can and will get better. Again, it somewhat freaks me out to go back to high school for this reason. My depression and darker times were extremely pronounced in high school, and to return for this reason is quite surreal.
Wish me luck, pray that I may find the words to say, and that my story of health and recovery may touch but 1 person who is in desperate need of some light.
Here we go…
One Year, that’s exactly where I found myself this past Tuesday. One year removed from my admission to the hospital for my attempt at suicide. It was a heavy day to say the least…heavy with emotions of fear, joy, shame, pride, pain, hope, sickness, and health. Today actually marks, one year from when I was released from the hospital into my parents watch.
I didn’t really spend Tuesday dwelling or reminiscing too much, but I certainly couldn’t escape the reality of what happened that day and what has happened in the year that has passed since.
One thing that made the day a little more difficult: it was the beginning of the funeral process for my late Grandma. On Tuesday we had two viewings for her before Wednesday’s funeral…it was extremely bittersweet and emotional. During the second viewing, I broke down and had to flee from the funeral room. The emotion was just too strong and overwhelming. The reality of what could have been on that fateful Sunday October 16th, 2011 hit me hard when going through the necessary steps of grieving the loss of my Grandma and all the steps of the funeral “process”.
Seeing this mass of people gather to mourn the loss of a loved one really hit me…it felt so eerie to think that if I wasn’t so lucky last year, it would have been me my friends and family would be saying goodbye to. That was a tough pill to swallow.
Shame. Disappointment. Anger. Fears. Pain.
These emotions rushed through my body so fast that I couldn’t handle it. Thankfully, they were immediately countered by feelings of
Joy. Relief. Happiness. Hope. Dreams
I’m extremely lucky to have survived that ordeal last year, and even more lucky to be standing on such solid ground a year later!
A combination of many things happening in my life have got me to this place one year later. I can’t really pinpoint one thing being more influential than another but I can certainly say that friends and family support has been the oil keeping this machine running so smoothly.
Those same friends and family that would have been mourning my death last year are the ones that are helping me continue my journey into a life of health and recovery. I’m a very very fortunate man, thankful for each and every one of them.
I was going to get a tattoo on Tuesday, to mark one year of health since my time in the hospital. Obviously with the funeral and all the time I was spending with my family grieving and celebrating my grandma’s life, the tattoo became less of a priority. I’ll be getting one in the coming weeks to remind myself that it’s been a year since I was saved, and also to remind myself of what has helped me heal this past year and to keep on that journey moving forward.
I’ll leave you with one last thing as I look back over this year:
My year of healing and recovery has seemed to be a journey of strength to strength, hilltop to hilltop, but there were some valleys there, not many, but they were there.
The most difficult thing about this year is the fact my Grandma is no longer with me to see me living so healthy now. I gave her and the rest of my family a massive scar last year, and I got to silently celebrate a year of ‘safety’ with them all on Tuesday, except with my Grandma, and that hurt me, hurt me so very much.
So even as life seems to move from victory to victory, it’s still hard. Thankfully I’ve learned how to deal with the pain so much better now. I can look the pain square in the face now and no longer want to remove myself from the equation to make the pain go away. That, I’m sure makes my Grandma look down and smile on me.
I’ll miss her so damn much, but I know she’ll be there every step of the way as I continue to grow into the man she knew I’d become.
These two words couldn’t better describe the circumstances of where I’m at.
With the Waterfront Half one week away, I have some sad news to report: I won’t be running the race…but I’m not disappointed about this turn of events.
Yesterday I was given word from my Mom that my Grandma, who’s been battling some serious illness in recent months, was given her last rights. My Grandma is likely to pass away in the coming hours, maybe days. My entire family is waiting for the news that nobody can ever prepare for. I had booked off some time from work late next week to fully give my body the proper rest and preparation for Sundays run…now I’ll be using that time to go back home to Ottawa to be there for my Mom and family as we likely begin to grieve the loss of my Grandma.
Suddenly, running a race and crossing a finish line (as symbolic a victory it may be), pails in comparison to the reality of what is happening back home in Ottawa.
I’ve been ignoring my Grandma’s health for months, pretending that if I don’t acknowledge it, the inevitable wouldn’t happen. Quite honestly, when things started getting bleak I avoided it for fear that I couldn’t handle seeing my Grandma dying or my Grandpa hurting. I didn’t think I was strong enough to handle that pain, I was afraid at what I may do…So I avoided it. I’m not upset about that, I’m glad I did. Time needed to pass for me to gain the strength to deal with pain in a healthy manner. I’m there now. I can handle this pain and be strong for my family.
As this relates to andrewruns.com, I’ve realized that the race wasn’t the destination or end of my healing and recovery. The training, the journey, the story was, and still is. I’ve overcome my demons, I know how to handle pain in a healthy way, I can take the high road, I can push through the dark times.
It didn’t take crossing any finish line for that to happen.
Since February when this thing started, I’ve used running and blogging as my outlet to recovery. It’s worked. I still don’t think I’m fully on the ‘other side’, but I’m a year removed from my last attempt to end my life and boy do I feel miles from that place! I still have a road to walk ahead of me towards healing, I think it will be a life long journey to be honest, but I’ll keep going.
There will be other races to run, and I will accomplish the goal of a half marathon. This I know. But right now, goals mean nothing, family means everything, and that’s where I’ll be.
I’ll keep running. I’ll just run to enjoy the outdoors, reap the health benefits, and probably run when things are feeling heavy…but this training will be pushed aside as I face a hard fact of life back home in Ottawa.
Please pray for my Grandma, that she may go in peace, that the Lord will welcome her with open arms as they recount the great story she’s lived and the amazing legacy she’s left behind.
I’m fresh off crossing the finish line in my second ‘career’ race this morning…I’m happy to have accomplished another race and cross off another goal along my path to a half marathon! I ran in 54:09 today.
I’m not very happy about how my focus was out on the pavement today. Running is supposed to be a fun and freeing thing for me. Today, it wasn’t. I got way too caught up in achieving my goal time(sub 50min) that I totally lost sight of WHY I run. I was pushing hard early in the cold cold morning, always looking at my watch…that was a mistake.
Today’s run was reminiscent of how I sometimes lose my focus on the golf course. I forget WHY I golf and get too caught up in performing. Golf is a blast, I love the game, I need to remind myself of that often to keep my head calm throughout some tournament rounds.
Today, I forgot to tell myself that. I forgot to maintain the great perspective I’ve had all summer training and especially during my race in April. I made a perfect playlist for today’s run, climaxing with a two very emotional song towards the end of my run… songs that have meant a lot to me on this road to health and recovery. Unfortunately, I didn’t even notice the song as I was too concerned about the time I had lost around the 7-7.5km mark when I cramped up and had to walk.
I’m not beating myself up or am I upset with myself, I’m just identifying where things went array today and how I didn’t really appreciate the run, the atmosphere, or the symbolism of this whole andrewruns thing.
It’s all good though! I crossed the finish line and that’s what matters…I’m still running. Running into my future, and boy does it look great!
I have the waterfront half on Oct 14th, two days prior to the year anniversary of my time in the hospital. This run will be intensely emotional. I wont have my watch on, I’ll just run and take it all in, all that life has given me in the year since going to the hospital on that scary October night.
I have a week of rest from training thanks to a golf tournament, but by next weekend I’ll jump back into my training to best prepare my body for the gruelling 21.1km it will be faced with in 3 weeks…