Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Longest Mile

On Saturday, I walked the longest mile of my life. Well, it took the longest amount of time, I should say, as I think we all know that a mile is a mile. My mom and Madalyn and me (is it I or me in this instance? - heck, I don't remember) went to the Birmingham Race for the Cure. It was kind of a last minute decision to go. I would have loved to have walked the 5K, but I knew my mom would not be up to that, so we opted for the one mile walk instead. David had baseball practice that morning (imagine that - my son had practice), so I dropped him off with his coach and we headed to the walk. Us three. Just the girls.

I didn't really know what to expect as I had never been to anything like this. I had been told by a fellow baseball/football mom that had been several times that it was an amazing experience. And she was right. There were so many people. Thousands. Those who had signed up for the race as a survivor wore pink shirts, so you could clearly differentiate them. It was amazing to see all the different women of all ages, shapes, and types that had all survived breast cancer. And then there were those who walked in honor of someone. Many had bright pink paper pinned to the back of their shirt that said "In Celebration of..." and they would write in the name of their loved one who had lost their battle. I saw several women who listed their mother and grandmother. What a tragedy to lose both strong female influences on your life. The coolest celebration tag I saw said, "In Celebration of: ME!"

One that touched me the most was a little girl who appeared to be about eight or nine years old. She had a large sign on her back, and it was a picture of she and her grandmother at a Race for the Cure a few years ago. You could tell as the little girl was visibly younger in the picture. Then at the bottom it said something to the effect, "In honor of my Grandmother who is in heaven now." It was touching as I sat there with my mother and my daughter realizing how fragile life really is. How no matter how hard we try to control the human body and fix its problems, we will never be fully successful. And how no matter what we do or say or how many dollars we raise or miles we walk, not everyone will be cured. There are just some things in life we will never understand and never be able to cure.

Saturday night, after I had bathed Madalyn, she was sitting in my lap before bed. And I asked if she had fun that day. Of course she said she did. Madalyn always has fun no matter what we do. And I told her that the day had been very special. She didn't understand it now, but one day she would know what a special day it was. Special in so many ways. To be in a group that large who are recognizing the significance of breast cancer was amazing. To walk amidst that many survivors was amazing. And to enjoy a day being grateful that my mother survived was the most amazing of all.


RunnerMom said...

I would have cried for the entire way. Your post made me cry!

Erika said...

That's so neat. Saturday on our way to the beach, we saw a similar walk. I wish I would have known about it sooner.

Terri said...

i agree with runnermom, I likely would have had tears in my eyes seeing that little girl. i basically almost started crying while running the tufts 10K and that wasn't even about cancer, so you can only imagine.

You're such a good writer, Tamara, I hope you are enjoying the time with your mom.