Wednesday, August 1, 2012

From the Mouths of Babes

Since Sherry’s death, a couple of new themes have emerged frequently on this blog:

  • Safety for women, particularly while running
  • Living life fully and never taking one moment for granted

I wrote an article this week for the Athleta Chi blog about these subjects. It was published yesterday and you can read it HERE. This article was similar to a post I wrote a couple of months ago after Sarah Hart was murdered while running. I have to say that writing about Sherry again brings so much to the surface and even now my eyes fill with tears that escape and run down my cheeks.

Some of you have asked how Sherry’s family is doing. I know it has been rough going, but they are trying to take care of each other and get the help that they need. A hearing in the case was to have happened in July, but was moved to January 2013. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

As for Sarah Hart, her community has rallied and organized “Run with Your Hart,” a run that will take place in Sarah’s honor on August 11, 2012. A scholarship fund has also been set up. See details HERE.

Today I re-read a story that my eleven year old daughter, Emma, wrote after Sherry was killed. I find it fascinating to learn how children perceive traumatic events that go on.  It really is  a different, enlightening and sometimes disturbing perspective. She talks about the day we learned that Sherry was not coming home.

“Then the worst day came. Never will I forget it. I was cheery as usual, when my dad picked me up from school on Friday. But, when I got home, that cheeriness faded. I walked through the door, and in the other room I saw my mom on the couch crying. I came and sat down next to her and asked why she was sad. She said, “Sherry is dead.” No one knows why those men would have done that to such a strong and caring woman who had a family and friends who loved her, and relied on her to put a smile on their faces in even the saddest of times.

But, I know when I see the sun shining, I see her beautiful smile and when I see thousands of millions of stars in the night, I think of her gleaming brown eyes.

Just remember, when you say goodbye to someone or even just a simple goodnight, treasure that wonderful time and never forget it, because life's a mystery, and you never, EVER know what’s going to come next.”

P1120825

I share her writing with you because the lesson in the last line is invaluable and one we need to be reminded of every.single.day. I know for a fact I didn’t understand that lesson at her age. Sometimes I still don’t apply it like I should.

I sometimes have to catch myself with how caught up I get caught up in the insignificant details and worries:  Did I get in enough miles this week? What’s for dinner? The credit card bill is how much? But, when something really big happens, it jolts you out of that world. Suddenly, all the little stuff falls away and the really important stuff moves into front and center, where it should be.

One of our greatest challenges in life is learning how to keep things in perspective. To not sweat the small stuff, and to keep an eye and focus on the things that truly matter. I ask myself all the time: If this was my last day, am I living, acting and doing as I should? I think the single best way to not take people and life for granted is to find gratitude in every single moment, no matter how challenging.

Do you get caught up in small stuff, or are you usually able to be relaxed and find perspective?

What’s your best tip for staying present and focusing on what is really important?

SUAR

PS: The winner of the Champion sports bra is Lindsey from Run Because You Love It. In response to what advice she would give a newborn, she said,  “Lots of people will try and tell you what you "*should* do. Try and learn at a young age to be in touch with your deepest desires. Cultivate that skill, follow your heart and ignore the *shoud-ers*.” 

Great, sound advice for living a full and passionate life. Email me at beth@shutupandrun.net to claim your prize!

37 comments:

  1. oh boy, did i need this reminder. coming down the home stretch with the kiddos home for the summer, i find my patience lacking (okay, it's gone). rather than focus on the negative, i should be grateful for the opportunity to spend time with three fantastic young ladies. because the important people in life are everything. you can't take the rest of the stuff with you!

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  2. My father passed away last July & the last 12 years of his life were spent in a wheelchair due to left side paralysis brought on by a stroke. One of the things he said often that sticks with me is, "Don't make mountains out of molehills." I try to remember that as I move through my days with a very active 3 year old boy - things always feel bigger in the moment. I try really hard to take a step back, breathe deep & truly check out the size of the molehill!

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  3. One of my best friends lost her husband yesterday in a bicycle accident. We are stunned, shocked, saddened, sick, everything under the sun. We always try to keep things in perspective, but we're just having a hard time right now trying to make sense of it all. I don't think it will ever happen. :( As for the small stuff, I had a 7 mile tempo to do this morning, but I just couldn't do it. Not today. I'm doing my first marathon this October, and a week ago I would have never thought about skipping a run unless my legs were broken, and now, quite frankly, I just don't give a shit.

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    1. I am so sorry for the loss of your friends husband. Sometimes running can be the cure all and sometimes the burden of feeling like we must do certain runs in certain amounts of time etc. Please give yourself time to work this out and hold each other's hands. Running will be there for you when you are ready.

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  4. I absolutely love this....crying right now...

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  5. Very profound words from your daughter. She understands things well beyond her years. A sure sign of good parents.

    I do tend to get caught up in the small things, and try hard to snap out of it without having to rely on a major event. Thankfully my wife is there to reality-check me when I start to get the blinders on.

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  6. So well written...Your comment on mileage strikes a chord with me. I am an early morning runner and my focus at night is getting to bed on time so I can get that mileage in come morning. But, my teen daughter is a night owl and often that is when she opens up and wants to talk. My youngest loves to have me lay with her at night, too, and that's when she tells me about her day. Yet, so often, I tell them both "Okay, for just a minute, because I need to get to bed so I can run in the morning." In fact, I say that almost every night. I often wonder if I'll regret missing those times when they aren't living with us anymore and I have every night to go to bed early...and many hours to run and run. I read something that is starting to sink in with me. "Listen to the little things your kids tell you; if you don't, they won't tell you the big things when they are older. Because, to them, ALL of those things were big things." Thanks for making me think again. Yes, we need to keep running, but we also need balance.

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  7. For the first time in 20+ years of running, I went out and bought myself some pepper spray after reading about Sherry and Sarah. I did it for the people who care about me!

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  8. Great post (and story by Emma). I do struggle with keeping perspective and have a habit of sweating the small stuff. I am working on it.

    When I came home from work yesterday, there were several police cars parked in the vicinity of my house. We later learned that our neighbour, a seemingly healthy 45 year old woman, had a heart attack and passed away. It breaks my heart to think of how her husband and family are coping... life is certainly precious and we need to appreciate every moment.

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  9. Very nice! I just lost a close friend a couple of weeks ago (he crashed his motorcycle). There was an entire weekend of drinking, music and catching up with everyone that knew him. It was a nice, but very hard weekend!

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  10. What great insight from your daughter. What a great post to stop and think of what really is important!!

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  11. Our community just lost a 40 yr old mother of two young children. She was a science teacher and avid triathlete. She was killed Sunday morning riding get bike by two drunk individuals one on a motorcycle and one in a car. 3 weeks after completing her first 70.3 she is gone and because of two idiots, neither have valid licenses and one was released early from prison for DWI three weeks ago. Senseless!

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    1. yes I heard about this tragedy. It is so awful I can't wrap my head around it.Thinking about you and all of those in your community, especially her family.

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  12. I'm struggling with this right now. I am so caught up in the discomfort I feel from my job and money stress that I'm forgetting about the things that bring me joy. I feel like I'm going through the motions.

    Thank you for the reminder.

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  13. I started reading your blog because you wrote about these topics. Thank you!

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  14. Your daughter is very wise. As an RN that has been involved in critical and transport nursing for 9 years I see how life really is a mystery. Patients that should have lived, didn't - patients that should have died, didn't. Everyone's lives can change in just a millisecond. I feel lucky that it keeps my life in perspective. Anytime I think I'm having a bad day I think of the person who just found out they had a brain tumor, or was in a major accident or lost a loved one. I have patient and family faces to those thoughts and it makes it very real.
    This whole thing has me re-evaluating where and when I run alone.
    Hugs to those who hurt!

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  15. What a statement from your daughter. You never EVER know what is coming next.

    I get caught up in the small details. And I need to be better about not doing that.

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  16. Wow--Emma is amazing. What introspect.

    I will admit I get too caught up in the minutia of daily life. Thanks for the reminder to shake out of that and focus on what's important.

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  17. Thank you for sharing your daughter's writing. And for the reminder. I really shouldn't care so much if my weight-loss is coming out of my bra and not from my muffin-top.
    Now I just need the workday to be over so that I can get home to enjoy the time being a mom to my 2 year old. And I'll hug her a little tighter today.

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  18. What a beautiful paper written by your daughter. So very insightful for such a young girl. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Thank you for the courage to share your pain from this experience. I hope it is as good for you to share as it is contributing to the greater good of those who hear.

    I too have my MSW, and worked as a clinical therapist for a while-- hearing those stories have helped me learn to focus on what is important, and while I sometimes fall into the trap of stressing about the insignificant things, I routinely redirect myself toward what really matters.

    Again-- thank you.

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  20. I've read your blog off and on for awhile but I just began following it more recently. I didn't realize that Sherry Arnold was your cousin until this post. I did not know her but I followed her story very closely. I live in Montana and although it is a huge state geographically, it is very tight knit and "small community". There are days it seems like everybody knows everybody. My husband is a teacher and a coach, and it makes the state seem that much smaller most days. Sherry's story touched my heart and my husband's - it could happen to anyone at anytime. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Your daughter is an amazing young woman. :) As the mother of two young girls (ages 2 and 3), I try very hard to stay focused on what is important and not let the little things bother me (because I can repaint the hallway that they drew all over, right?). A little perspective goes a long way.

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  21. Your daughter is a very smart girl. Thanks for sharing what she wrote. We all could use a little reminder to cherish and never take things or people for granted.

    P.S.: On a lighter note, I wrote a post and thought about you while doing so.

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  22. I love this Beth.

    Emma is one awesome girl.

    I WAY too often get caught up in the small crap.
    WAY TOO often. Silly.

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  23. your daughter is a wise young lady. So wise.

    The best way I stay present is to spend time with the computer off. Computer free weekends, days, whatever. Also, never checking work email from home, because my job is not so important that I need to let it into my home life, too.

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  24. Life IS a mystery. How insightful. During my track run tonight some strange fellas came onto the track that didn't fit in and seemed sketchy. I decided to jog with a woman the last .5 miles and chat - and grab my car keys and strategically place them in between my fingers.

    May have been overkill - but I felt unsafe - better safe than sorry.

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  25. Life really can change in a heartbeat. The course you think you're on can be altered in the uttering of just a few words or one simple action. Never take anything for granted. You never know when you hug someone or kiss them or make love to them or whatever if it will be the last time. Savor each moment as best you can. I am learning this still.

    Emma has such a beautiful heart and spirit.

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  26. What a wise little girl! Life is a mystery. I saw an old co-worker today who just lost his 47 year old brother to liver cancer and another relative has brain cancer. A mutual friend of ours was almost beaten to death by a serial raper. Life is so precious. It's when you hear of these things that make you not sweat the small things, like finding matching socks and yelling at my kids in the morning to get ready. Makes me want to hug my kids more and living more in the moment.

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  27. I have a really hard time being present and not getting caught up in the minutia of life. I would live to enjoy my kids more. I just wish it were as easy as flipping a switch. With all things though, it is a choice. I make the choice to run or workout almost everyday, I could also make the choice to be more present when I'm with my kids. Thanks to your delightful babe for the reminder!

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  28. Thank for the post and reminder! I agree, there is a powerful lesson in the last line of her writing. That's awesome!

    Look at my story on my blog- mykeystroke.blogspot.com
    The blog has been updated. Check out brain injury page. Please share this address with others.

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  29. When my husband left on a motorcycle ride on October 15, 2011, the weather was perfect , the sky was blue, life was good. Then as your daughter said, I should have said goodbye as if it was the last goodbye. But it was just another day and another ride.

    So as I tell everyone, kiss your husband, tell him that you love him, ask him the questions that you have been meaning to ask, because, you may not get another chance.

    Once again, you say things in your blog that I feel. I thank you for that.

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  30. Wow, your daughter said it so perfectly!

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