I woke up to a beautiful morning, which is definitely not guaranteed in the Northwest in May. I also felt a little calmer and a little more at peace than I have in about a month and a half. But I found myself dragging my feet as I got ready to head over to the waterfront for the Heart Walk, thinking that no one would know if I didn't really go through with it. But I would know, and my wonderful donors committed hard-earned money for me to do this walk, not just lie and say I did.
Somehow, even with my late start, I was able to snag one of the last remaining parking spots in the small lot at the Landing (yea!). The set up was pretty much the same as last year, except they moved the start/finish line to the other side of the parking lot. I could feel the tears forming as I sat in my car taking in the scene. Finally, I took a deep breath and got out of the car.
I roamed around the crowd without any real direction. There were so many people there talking with family and friends and co-workers. And then there was me-wandering the crowd alone like a little lost puppy dog. And then I saw a familiar face-an old friend that James and I used to work with. He gave me a hug and asked how I was doing. And that's when the tears started. I told him that overall, I was doing okay; today, not so much. We chatted for a bit, and he introduced me to his wife. She works for the hospital that was sponsoring the event which is why they were walking. I saw him there last year too, but it was in passing and by the time my brain registered it, he was lost in the crowd. After we finished chatting, I walked over to the railing overlooking the river and just let the tears come while watching six ducks lazily swim around.
The emcee started her announcements, the biggest one being that this year's walk raised about $460,000 to fight heart disease. After the announcements and a brief stretching session, we were off. I took my time. It was so nice out and I was not in any hurry. The walk was one of those where you go down the path and then turn around and come back. So, on the way down, I thought about what James would want for me. Not just the generic "he would want me to be happy," but what he would be doing if he was still here to cheer me on. And I know what I am currently doing is not it. So, on the way back I thought about what is important to me: what can I do to stop feeling like I am just going through the motions and start finding joy in my life again. Right now, I don't know the answer to that but I know I have to stop letting the fear that this is how it is always going to be overwhelm me. I refuse to let this be the rest of my life. I have way too much to offer to let it go to waste.