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Three years ago…

It occurred to me while dusting my bedroom dresser today that three years ago on this very Saturday, my marriage officially ended. I know this because tomorrow is the Nike Women’s Marathon and three years ago I was a participant. It was my first event with Team in Training (TNT). My then husband sat across from me in the living room and told me it was over. He had been living away from home due to his job and had already planned to come home for my race.

The end of a 20-year marriage doesn’t happen overnight, nor is there any one person to blame. There were ups and downs aplenty, but we had weathered storms in the past. I was in denial. He had met someone, but still I thought he would say, just kidding. Well, not really that, but something that would derail the speeding train that I was on.

Needless to say, he didn’t go to the race. I drove to San Francisco and went through the motions. I was staying in a hotel that night one block from the starting line. I met my son, Jarrod and his wife to be, Amanda, at the hotel. I cancelled their room and made them stay with me because I didn’t want to be alone. Jarrod wanted to know where his stepfather was. I said he couldn’t make it. It wasn’t the right time to tell them. We were on our way to the big TNT event.

Afterward, we went to a little bar near the hotel. I broke the news to them. I put on a good show and told them I would be fine. They wanted details. What happened? Who is she? Amanda was angry. Jarrod wasn’t surprised.

The following morning, I ran the race and afterward Amanda snapped this picture.

We appear to be happy. I know different. We went back to the hotel and I asked for a late check-out. Amanda went to nap. Jarrod and I went to get some food. We sat across from each other and talked about everything. We both wept.

It took me almost five months to feel normal again.

I remember a few times where I did not get out of bed for the entire day, except to pee.

I remember a dismal week of rain where I never left my house and put together 12 different 1000 piece puzzles.

I remember waking up once on my bathroom floor and wasn’t sure how I got there.

I remember running hard, until it hurt, and then forgetting to eat.

I remember standing naked in front of the mirror and realizing I could not afford to lose another pound.

I remember my mother calling me one month after he left to ask me what the hell was going on. She had received a Thanksgiving card from my mother-in-law filled with sad sentiments, saying that she was continuing to pray for us. I had not told my parents because I didn’t want to break their hearts or have them worry about me. My irrational mind thought he would change his mind, come home, and they would never have to know.

I got through it. I’m not going to say that I don’t know how I got through it, because I know exactly how I got through it. A very close-knit group of friends got me through it. They were all within shouting distance from my house and they were all checking on me. They were calling, they were inviting me over, they were listening and quite simply, they were there. They fed me, they cried with me, and they told me over and over that I was going to be fine. I don’t have to wonder if they know how much they did for me because I have told them all.

The people that got me through it.

I suppose this has given me the chance to reflect on these past three years. Is everything wonderful? No. Is this what I thought my life would be at this age? No. But it’s okay. I’m in a good space. I’m a different person. I’m better. I’m still alone and I don’t much like it, but I’m learning to live with it. I certainly know how to keep myself busy. I have a full life with great friends. Occasionally, I go in a bad place and wonder what the hell is wrong with me? Deep down, I know there is nothing wrong with me. One day at a time.

Tomorrow I am heading back to the Nike Women’s Marathon. I’m not running this year, but my daughter-in-law is and I plan to be there to watch her cross the finish line, just as she has been there to watch me at all three of my TNT events. It’s going to be a happy day.

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