Pacifiers and runners

Campbell started taking a pacifier when she was only a few weeks old. Out of 4 children she was the only one to ever want a pacifier. I promised myself, her and everyone around us that by her 2nd birthday we were going to be rid of it. As we approached that day I began to summon my strength and dig my heels in as I prepared for what certainly would be a battle. And then, well, you all know what happened on Campbell’s 2nd birthday….it was that cold, gray, Friday…January 13th.

So, as we began an entirely different battle, I granted everyone to cling to their current coping devices. Caitlin was allowed to continue to suck her thumb and take puppy anywhere she wanted, and Campbell was permitted to keep a paci for her mouth and one for each hand. We decided eating carbs was a smart decision again. Courtney was allowed to go to the gym almost without question to tumble and Cole was given more leniency when it came to playing video games.

About half way through our journey over the last year, I decided to start running again. It had been a long time; but I needed an outlet for some challenging emotions, and the idea of going to a gym was entirely too claustrophobic a feeling. So I started running. I’m not a runner though. I know that may sound like a contradiction, but I run, I’m not a runner. The difference is this: runners are good at running, do it often and they enjoy running. I run because I need the physical release and exercise. I run because it makes me stronger physically, and that gives me strength mentally in some deformed line of thinking. Running also gives me a chance to jam my earbuds deep in my ears and turn the music up loud. (I know it isn’t good for my ears….)

It has been 2 1/2 weeks since I last went for a run. Well, that is, until last night. Last night I went for a run. It was so very UGLY. The night air was cold and wet with a faint drizzle. It was slow, like a turtle-slow. It was clumsy and awkward; I felt like I was tripping instead of running. It was painful; my ears hurt, my chest hurt, my legs hurt and my head hurt. I cried almost the whole time; and that doesn’t make for easy running either. I stopped half way thru when a good friend drove by and slowed down to say hi. And then, THEN…

I FINISHED! I finished that run.

Maybe that’s how healing from the loss of a child will be; painful, slow, clumsy and ugly. But maybe, with time, patience and a lot of love, I’ll finish…

After a shower and some cuddle time, I took Campbell to bed. I stayed with her for a while as she fell asleep. I lifted my head in the dark and was shocked as my heart took a leap. Her pacifier was glowing in the dark. I haven’t seen this paci in a long time; months actually.

It quickly reminded me of the incredible and beautiful candles and luminaries from Sunday night. It brought (good) tears to my eyes as I slowly backed out of Campbell’s bedroom. I paused in the hallway for a minute…

Maybe Campbell can hang on to that pacifier a little while longer. I like its glow.

With a lot of love, d

This morning started out sad as we let go of the last physical part of Caitlin. Today, Jeff and I met Pastor Roberts at the cemetery at St. Luke’s and placed what was left of Caitlin’s body in a quiet, peaceful and simple ceremony. It was immensely difficult to part with her, and say a final goodbye. I know it is only a “shell” and she is no longer with us, but the finality and permanency of the act again brought me to my knees. Treasure those you love, hug them tight and make sure they know… much they mean to you.

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