A running friend of mine passed away earlier this week. For a few days it didn’t really seem real. For a few days I could pretend she was still out of sight but in the hospital fighting the cancer. Today running in a neighborhood we had run in together many times reality settled in. It settled in my chest hard and heavy.
I kept running and filled my mind with happy memories. She was a person like no other person I ever knew. She was sweet and kind and gentle in a way no one else is. She held herself to high standards in all she did at work, at school, at the gym. She gave of herself to her family, her friends, and her running buddies. Putting her into words doesn’t do her justice but I attempt it anyway because now that she is gone I want to honor all that she was and all that she inspired in those who knew and loved her.
We worked out in the early morning together for many years and slowly came to know each other. Her smile made those early morning classes much more bearable and the support, advice and encouragement she gave me as I began a scary new business venture will never be forgotten. She had a way of putting other peoples stuff first, even as she became more and more sick.
During her treatments a few of us were still able to fit a walk in now and then when she was feeling up for it. She managed to keep us from worrying about her too much and distracted us with comfortable casual conversation. That was her way. She lived with ease and grace even when things were far from easy. I can still hear her beautiful laugh and see her sparkly blue eyes. I miss you Heather. But I will think of you often as I run the streets we trained on together.