** WARNING: This is a sentimental post**
Reflect back with me, to April. I had just succumbed to some intense brainwashing from Leticia and agreed to participate in a half-marathon with her. Sure, I thought, why not? I've done this before and I need to make myself work out every day. This will be good! Besides, the race is in July so it's just a few months and then it'll be over.
... And then the race filled up before we registered. But it was okay-- we just decided to do the Philly Half Marathon instead on September 18th. Awesome-- this meant we got to take a couple weeks off and then RE-START our training. My favorite. But we worked hard and dedicated each Sunday to running those long runs, bum knees, blisters, and all, and we were ready on race week to conquer the 13.1 miles! (And get those t-shirts.. let's be real, it's all about the t-shirts).
Back in Texas, my sweet grandma fell down on her knee at the beginning of September and had to be admitted into the hospital. It seemed pretty low-key and she was going to be released in a couple of days after having a procedure to rehabilitate the knee and she would be good to go. Unfortunately, her body wasn't exactly on board with this plan and her various systems started reacting badly and before we knew it, she was in pretty bad shape. Five days before the race, I received a devastating phone call from Mom and Dad stating Grandma was just given 24-48 hours to live. She had been given the choice to either undergo a grueling surgery that she most likely would not survive and if she did the recovery would be extremely difficult, or she could refuse the surgery and be moved into hospice care for her last few days. My Grandma has always been a strong, independent woman who is wise with her words and steadfast in her faith. During those terrifying few weeks, she dazzled the staff with her optimism and determination while receiving bad news after bad news. When she had to make her choice, she was wearing a breathing mask and could not talk. My mom wrote out the alphabet and asked her to point out the letters as to what her decision would be.
She pointed to T-I-M-E T-O G-O.
Grandma knew she had lived a life dedicated to the Lord and she was ready to be with Him. While it was heartbreaking to receive this news, and difficult to even write this post, I was once again amazed at the steadfast faith and wise words of my grandmother. Josh and I flew home immediately and Stacy drove in from school and we gathered with the rest of the family in Temple to say our goodbyes. It was an unexpected but beautiful time together as a family and we were there together as she went to be with our Savior.
So.. I didn't run the half-marathon. But I'm thankful I was able to be there as Grandma faithfully finished her race. She fought the good fight, she finished the race, and she kept the faith. And I know Christ was there to say to her "Well done, my good and faithful servant", as she ran into His arms-- wheelchair, cane, and artificial knee-free.
Grandma will always have a special place in my heart and I will never be able to open presents at Christmas, sing "In the Garden" or watch Dancing with the Stars without thinking of her quiet, consistent support and faith throughout the years. Thank you, Grandma, for leaving such a strong legacy of faith and for showing me what it means to be dedicated to going where the Lord calls, each day. No matter how difficult.
Leticia ran the half-marathon like a rock-star in record time and like a true friend, brought back the coveted t-shirt! She said we should run another one... to which I replied, "NEVER AGAIN!" :) Words that have been said before, I know...
Thank you for those of you who have offered up your prayers, encouragement, and casseroles during my family's time of grief. Your words and hugs have meant more than I can express. I am beyond blessed to have such supportive friends and family.