New Years is an exciting time and gives me a feeling of starting over with a clean slate, increased focus on goals I want to accomplish in life, and a view of the possibilities of what the year could be. 2016 was a great year filled with family, friends, meeting new people, and several personal and professional accomplishments. On January 1st, I sat at my computer and made a new document titled 2017 GOALS- in a big font, underlined, and in bold. I began typing the goals I wanted for this new year quickly, and as my fingers tapped away on the keys, I felt that instead of labeling the list 2017 GOALS a much better fit would be 2017 WILL DO'S. There is one goal in particular that has been a goal on that list for several years. This is the last year I will ever see it written out under a goal list, because I finally will have it completed! There are reasons I am sure that this goal was not completed years ago, believing that we are directed to do something at specific times for specific reasons. I am very happy to say though that this is the year my book -Last Words, will be sent to the publisher and published! After losing my husband and daughter almost 14 years ago, I found an enormous amount of free time on my hands. The time I had once spent holding, feeding, and playing with my beautiful chubby-cheeked daughter was no more. I despised this free time. My mind-still healing from a traumatic brain injury-wasn't ready to be put to use again at a job. This free time was my new constant- constant companion, constant enemy, and a constant reminder of this loss. I had to find something I could do. After tearfully venting to my older sister, she suggested I write a book about this experience. I began putting words to this agonizing and horrific event that changed my life dramatically. Rewrites and new drafts continued as the years went on. Writing proved therapeutic and was a connection to my husband and daughter as my mind replayed the events with them like a tiny movie theater in my head. My memories of the short time we had with each other became special and sacred, and I strove to find the right words that would illuminate these memories for not only myself, but for those whom I hope these experiences touch. If I wasn't writing in my free time, I was running. Running was cathartic for me and allowed me a release from feeling anger, hatred, and worthlessness. As my miles became lengthier, I decided to train to run a 13.1 mile half marathon. The half marathon course would be really difficult, but with continued training, I knew I would make it to the end.
Most sport activities have teams, coaches, captains, and of course cheerleaders. The cheerleaders are appreciated as they act as the number one fans. Their cheering, clapping, yelling, and smiling faces set a positive atmosphere at the games and make the goal of winning seem a reality. My husband and daughter were my cheerleaders. I could feel them near me and I could feel how proud they were of me. As the miles became longer and tougher, their influence was stronger. Training for a marathon is painful. I needed motivation and support to keep going and I put small signs I wrote on my mirrors to remind me that Sage is watching me and is proud of me. Seeing those signs daily made it easier to get my running shoes on and continue training each day. The day I had been training and looking forward to finally came. This was it. I hoped my longest run of 10 miles would be enough to help me push across the finish-line after running an extra 3.1 miles. My shoes were tied tight, I was stretched, my water bottles were full and strapped to my sides, and I could feel Shawn and Sage with me at the starting line. After 13.1 miles, crossing the finish-line was a physical and emotional triumph! My sweet sister-in-law gave me a necklace with the words, "Run Mommy Run" inscribed on it with Sage's name after it. She gave this to me as a reminder that Sage is cheering for me always, not just when I am running a race. I love wearing it and having her near my heart. The support and love of family and friends is essential for success and happiness in life. Who or what is your inspiration and helps you accomplish your goals?