2018. Part 1.

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You can’t make this shit up (and why 2018 is a Bitch).

Usually my blog is dedicated to running adventures and training experiences.  However, I have been known to stray in order to share some nitty gritty stuff that impacts my running.  This is one of those posts. I haven’t blogged since the beginning of the year because I simply lost my voice.  I adore writing, but I simply haven’t had the words. In an effort to return to blogging and make an effort to heal, I am writing again.  Consider this post Part I in my return to creative writing and running….

Being thirty nine has not been a pleasant experience.  In fact it’s been a year of once in a lifetime experiences that are not the good kind.  Let’s start with the worst one… losing my Dad. My father was one of those types of people who was incredibly reserved, didn’t talk much, was terrible at expressing emotion and communicating but somehow passed on some pretty cool traits.  For instance… he always went “big.” Motorhomes, motorcycles, rental properties… big. I now understand where my all in, 110% mentality came from. It’s a dangerous trait and led to some big financial debts for him. I go the other way, in that I am fiscally conservative but big in experience.

Dad was also a hard worker.  When I was a child, I remember his alarm going off around 4:00 AM everyday and he often wouldn’t get home until after my brother and I finished dinner.  My mother was a classic housewife and Dad was a workaholic. I knew how to work from an early age, because despite given a horse at seven years old, I was warned the horse could be sold if I didn’t want to commit to feeding and mucking stalls each day… as a first grader.  I bought in, dressing to feed each morning, then heading to school. I didn’t play sports like other kids. Instead, I came home to ride, clean the barn and do my homework. My horses were my first job. I love that job to this day…

Dad taught me to drive and haul trailers at sixteen years old so I could take my horses out to whatever event I pleased.  I never understood at the time the gravity of that responsibility. I learned how to back a trailer in empty parking lots and I wasn’t set free on my own until I could get that trailer into any space it would fit in.  

My Dad never missed a milestone over the course of my career.  My police academy graduation, my swearing in at each agency, award ceremonies, agency changes and promotions.  I know he was incredibly uncomfortable in crowds like that but he came anyway. I learned near his death how proud he was of me.  Everytime I met a new doctor or nurse, they referred to me as “the captain” and told me how “proud” my dad was. He never told me that.

Dad was tough to be close to because he didn’t let people “in.”  He never remarried, nor dated to my knowledge. If I didn’t call, I often wouldn’t hear from him.  When I did call, he was happy to hear from me. He wasn’t a talker. It was rare to get him to engage in a conversation.  His life was incredibly predictable… wake up, have coffee, go to work, come home to the dog and TV, go to bed late. Rinse and repeat.  Sure… he lived… boats, motorcycles, RV, race car teams, a year living on the bay… but he also felt incredible financial hardship which I believe broke his soul.

In February, Dad had a heart attack followed by two more cardiac events (which he kept from us).  He suffered from the flu in March, and while doing diagnostics for unexplained pain, they found lung and brain cancer.  In fact, they found bowel cancer too but he didn’t tell us about that. I spent months taking him to appointments, helping him get insurance coverage, sorting through the information.  My brother handled the day to day care. Dad wanted to “do the treatments” but the treatments took away his ability to walk, his will to eat and eventually he succumbed to a massive stroke.  I didn’t get to say goodbye through conversation, but said my peace by his bedside. In fact, I didn’t get to talk to him about a lot of things still on my mind because he wasn’t a talker. I knew he loved me, but I wish he knew how much.  My dad was a kind person, missed by those who understood him, and alive inside of me. I still look for his distinctive truck in the grocery store parking lot. He would go every night for his dinner. I still think I see him out in public, then realize it’s not him.  May 29th was a day that changed me.

It took me exactly two months to stop crying.  I came home from a run a week and a half ago and told Eric “I don’t feel sad anymore”.  I had an incredibly moment of clarity and happiness on that run. I was able to push my physical limits without breaking down in tears.  

Forty eight hours later, our house caught on fire.  The sadness is back. We can no longer live in our home.


2018 truly is a bitch.


Stay tuned for Part 2.  I have no idea what is next….


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vttrailgirl
    Aug 10, 2018 @ 16:59:43

    Thanks for sharing your dad with us.
    Crap. I had no idea about your house. I hope we can catch up in Tahoe.


  2. Jeff
    Aug 10, 2018 @ 20:08:05

    Life sucks with its seemingly two steps forward, one step back approach, but these steps backwards make us more resilient. I know exactly what you are going to do. You will keep moving forward with a strong mind, strong heart and an undying urge to succeed. I have seen the drive in you and I know you will keep going and making great things happen for you, your family and others! 💕 Keep smiling!


  3. vtrunnermom
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 01:38:15

    I’m so sorry Heather…..your dad must have been so proud of you..you are such a strong woman with a huge heart! I’m so sorry to hear about your home …let me know if there is anything I can do ❤️


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