Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Walk with my Grandma

This morning, I went for a walk.  A very special guest was invited to this walk and while I didn't see her, I felt her every step of the way.

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, my grandmother was like a second mother to me.  In 1993, she suffered a massive stroke, she survived but was never able to speak or walk, again.  She died in 1996, after living several years trapped in a body that would no longer function.  This morning was really about her and the many others in my family that have been affected by heart disease.

My grandma was always there when I came home from school in the afternoons.  She saw the tears caused by obesity as a child.  She saw my pain and was always there to comfort and console when I felt like no one understood.  I know she would be so proud that I was finally putting an end to that which has caused me the most pain in my life.

The morning was beautiful.  The last few days have been hot and humid, but not this morning.  It was cool and the humidity seemed lower.  A peaceful sunrise was lifting as I arrived at the park starting line, covered by an oak canopy.

The 5k started right at 8am.  Nearly 11,000 people took to the streets making a statement about themselves, raising awareness about heart disease and raising money for a very worthy cause.  I went into this walk with a hope of finishing in an hour.  I started strong, actually passing many of the walkers, not that this was a competition, but I had a fear of being the very last one to finish.  Along the path signs were posted, placing a face and name with heart disease.  Small children, the middle aged and elderly - all were represented.  I couldn't help but think of my family, many who have gone home much too soon and many others that are living daily with the effects of heart disease.

The first mile seemed the hardest, after that time and distance seemed to go fast.  By the end, I felt accomplished, it felt good to finish.  Even better, it felt good to finish right at an hour!  I did it!

My next 5k will be for the Arthritis Foundation in December.  I went into this walk with a small fund-raising goal of $100, which I was extremely thankful to surpass by $25.  However, the next walk is for the love of my life.  My husband has rheumatoid arthritis and I plan to raise $500 in his honor.  I also have another goal, other than the monetary contribution.  I plan to beat my time!  Tomorrow, training starts.  I will get my time for the next 5k to under an hour. 

I know my grandmother was with me every step of the way.  I could hear her voice in my head, encouraging me to do it, telling me she was proud.  I could feel her love and I'm so glad I was able to enjoy a walk with her this morning.

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