Thursday, 27 March 2014

My New Running Tattoo

Before I begin this installment, I want to just take a moment to say that today, March 27th, 2014, is the 2 year anniversary of Abi's passing.

I never knew the true meaning of the word bittersweet until 2 years ago today.  I was so heartbroken at the news, but happy that she was no longer suffering.  When my father asked Abi's niece at the funeral if she knew where Abi was, her response was so simple and so beautiful.  "She's in a place where she's not hurting anymore"

Man, I am so glad I am writing these at home where no one can see me.

So many people ask me, "Is it OK to ask about Abi?" or "Are you OK talking about it?"

The answer to that is a resounding "I will gladly tell you everything I know about Abi"

I am reminded of a conversation between Danny Hillis and the great Richard Feynman (who also died of cancer) toward the end of Feynman's life.

Feynman, basically says that he has told so many stories, and there are so many stories about him, that he lives on in those stories.

So please, ask me about Abi! Although it can be painful at times, I will gladly tell you about her. The more I can tell you about her life, her love, her compassion, he humor, and just her, the longer she is with us. 

When I run races with TNT, I wear the trademark Purple TNT Jersey (and always with a picture of Abi on the back).  People will see this and ask me about her.  I get to share her story with strangers on a marathon course.  A part of me always envisions them going home and telling someone else, "Hey I met this guy today at the X Marathon, and he starting running because of Abi and I want to tell you about the things he said about her."

When I am not running with TNT I am usually just in regular running gear and no stories are told.  I wanted a symbol that would be with me forever to show others how much she meant to me.  In November of 2013, I got a tattoo that serves as both a reminder, a tribute, a memorial, and a conversation starter.

Abi adopted the Superman symbol while battling cancer.  It was her way of saying that she was stronger than the disease.  Although mentally and spiritually she was leagues beyond what cancer could do to her, her physical strength was not.  But Superman was not just about physical strength.  He was the embodiment of right.  Batman's nickname for Superman was "The Boy Scout."  He always strived to do the right thing.

The design for the tattoo I chose was very simple.  A Superman symbol with a purple cancer ribbon hanging from it.

Now when I run, or am at the gym, or just wearing shorts, people ask me about my tattoo.  And I can tell them Abi's ongoing story.  

Recently a good friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The first think I did was to make it very clear that if she needed anything to call me.  She soon realized that she could come to me for anything.  I helped her through some very trying physical and mental struggles.

One day she called me and apologized.  She said that she had been so wrapped up in what she was going through that she never gave any thought to how I was handing it.  She knew what we all went through with Abi, and was worried that helping her was bringing up those memories.

I assured her that my offer to help her was beneficial to me as well.  When Abi was going through her battle, I felt helpless.  I was in Los Angeles and she was in Indiana.  I felt like I couldn't do anything to help.  The opportunity to be able to help a friend through something as insidious as cancer, meant I could do something for her. 

So if you talk to me, never feel like you cannot ask about Abi.  As long as we continue to share her stories, she will live on with us.  This has been the main purpose for this blog.  To share Abi's (ongoing) story and use it to inspire others to do great things. 

As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and share in Abi's ongoing stories.

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