I ran nine miles this morning. One mile for every year that my dad has been gone.

I wasn’t a runner, not really, before my dad passed. My sister and I had been training for our first 10K, which I believe was actually Iron Girl, and he passed the weekend prior to our race. Neither one of us wanted to race so we skipped it and training for anything went by the wayside for a while. I took two weeks off of work and when I went back I’d go cry in the bathroom on and off for months. The crying eventually subsided but the sadness never really did.

I feel like grief, at least in the terms of losing a loved one, is similar to running in some ways. Like grief, it never really gets easier – you just get better at dealing with the pain.

I’m not sure I’ll ever stop posting about my dad’s passing on either his birthday or the anniversary of his accident. And I don’t really care if I continue posting about it until I’m a little old lady. I know it’s a pain that will never go away and I will always want to talk about it. Again, similar to running, except joyless.

And, like running, it will make you stronger and change your perspective in a lot of ways.

Now I know my dad wasn’t perfect, no one is, but he was a good father and a great man. He apologized for his mistakes and took responsibility for his actions. I try very hard to follow in his footsteps every day.

In nine years so much has happened. I think about all of the things he missed. Some big, like the births of my nephews, and some small like the release of The Hobbit films. (Ironically enough, today is also Tolkien Reading Day, he was a big fan and passed that love on to me.) He didn’t see me finish an ironman or walk my sister down the aisle and man, that just completely fucking sucks. But as they say, life goes on.

I know that I am still so fortunate. I have everything I need, and I have so many around me that I love: my mom, my stepmom, my sister, my brother-in-law, my nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, my grandmother, the S.O., and of course, my chosen family, my friends.

As I always like to remind you all on this day, remember to hug your loved ones and live in the moment. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. I know my dad knew he was loved and I know he loved us back and there is comfort in that.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)