Running is so many things to me and provides so much in my life. One of those things is Peace. I find a great sense of peace on my runs alone….sometimes more than others.
Friday was one of those peace filled runs. I did not want to run long nor did I want to go fast. I had just rediscovered my passion for running and did not want to to dwindle with a cruddy run. I knew I had a long run planned with some girls for Saturday morning so this was about getting out and not wasting a beautiful day.
I started out and really did not have a set loop or route planned. I was just moving forward. Somehow I found myself in one of my favorite running spots….and one I have not visited in a LONG while. Destiny, perhaps. My subconscious driving my run, perhaps. A higher power in charge and guiding my feet, perhaps. Whatever way it happened I found myself crossing the street and heading into the cemetery.
Yes, I run in the cemetery. I used to go there once a week but have not run there in a long time. I live near a very large cemetery (actually 2 that are connected) and it has wonderful paved pathways which I can runs miles and miles of loops or one giant loop. Ok…I know what you are thinking….isn’t that disrespectful/sac religious/creepy/morbid/icky/scary/odd/weird/……the list goes on and on. I have heard it all….mostly from my kids….about how I am nuts.
I run through the cemetery and feel an overwhelming sense of peace. It is quiet and really safe. There are not a lot of cars and I can run in the middle of the road! I love to look at the beautiful and unique headstones and monuments, many of which are very old (1800’s) and very ornate. There is a mausoleum where many priests are laid to rest and other family mausoleums dating back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I have past Dr. Fortune and the Bad/Day family plot (FOR REAL!). I do not feel it is my place to take a photo of these but they are real! The newer section of the cemetery had very contemporary monuments made of beautiful black and grey granite. It is quite a contrast to the older sections. But as I run, I do not feel lonely at all. I feel enveloped by love and life. I try to imagine the lives and loves of these people that surround me. I wonder how many people visit them and how often. I wonder if those they left behind miss them and honor their memory. I wonder if people will visit me when I die. I wonder what their legacy is and what mine will be.
I am so often lost in thought I rarely notice those people that are visiting others. During one run some time ago, a woman stopped me. She startled me at first as I thought something was wrong. She was crying as she stepped in front of me. I stopped and asked if everything was ok. She cried a bit more and said that it was. She told me she was visiting her daughter (and proceeded take me arm and guide me to her headstone!). She then told me I reminded her of her daughter. She said I was sent by her husband and daughter (freaking out? YUP…I was too!) to remind her not to cry but to live….. that her daughter didn’t want her to visit and be sad but visit and be reminded to live. I began to cry….see I have always believed that things happen for a reason. I believe that we are surrounded by angels …..this was no coincidence. We spoke for a few more minutes as she told me about her daughter (who died at 31 after a long illness never having married nor having children.) and that her husband was buried right next to her. She was alone….except for friends. We soon parted ways and I finished my run. I have not seen that woman again since but I do stop at that site each time I run through the cemetery and say a prayer…..for the girl, her father and especially her mother. I wonder if she ever came back. I wonder where she is and how she is doing. I know she is still alive as there is still one vacant plot next to her husband.
Peace can be found in the strangest places and oddest times. I choose to find my peace surrounded by beauty. I choose to find my peace enveloped in love and life. I choose to find my peace in my running. Peace.