It was three days of burst and spilled emotions as I traveled home with my son in tow for the 4th annual Meaghan's Run 5k this past weekend. Meaghan wasn't there. She really wasn't there. I tried to catch her in the wind against my face as I stepped half lively for 3.1 miles with forty pounds of little boy on my shoulder.
I tried to feel her spirit hovering above the hundreds of sweaty strangers sucking down orange slices after a brisk morning run to support local research for early detection of lung cancer.
I was so thankful for the hundreds of people who came and partook in support, without ever having the pleasure of spending one afternoon, one discussion, one moment in the clutches of her charms and charisma, grounded and glorious.
But I was distracted. I was sure I would be able to be close to her in her home town, her only town. My home town of Rochester. Since her death in 2008, we have avoided each other, distracted by speed trials of life and protecting the ones we love. It will be her 40th birthday on May 5th. This year, we have needed each other more than ever. With my broken marriage pummeling me like a prize fighter, almost every day is a tired twelfth round. And in her home town, there are divided lives, grief that has left her seeds of wisdom abandoned in a weedy field. The voices of her children are only recalled in memory by those she had asked to protect them and enrich half of a heritage with the stories she left and the lessons she could not.
I wish I knew where she was. I suspect she is riding a storm that twists clouds, wreaks havok and moves on far above the earth, the town, the houses where those storms touch down, cutting an angry swatch of damage through fragile threads that keep families and neighborhoods bound among whispers, lies and silence.
Recovery from one of these storms is lengthy, laborious You heal, rebuild the roads and bridges, replace the windows, just in time for the next one to throw a punch from behind the stirring ,silent clouds.
When those clouds break, I will find her.