Happy Birthday Billy Shayne.
January 16th 2017 and its Shayne’s 39th birthday.
The first one since his existence he will not be here celebrating.
Its unreal. Bewildering. Depressing.
He should be here.
This is his day, he should be here.
And I’m torn to pieces that he is not here.
He should be here.
His sisters are here, we are just grasping each other and sitting in this pain, this discomfort. But he deserves to be remembered, loved, and most of all.. celebrated.
And here we are. Gathered around, around each other and leaning into this.
So I went out for a run yesterday morning, left the little ladies with the sisters and took a moment.
I woke up thinking, “I don’t want to do today, this morning… ” and felt like I needed a moment to myself, moments I don’t ever get and certainly haven’t gotten enough of since April. This week has been like I’m staring down a collision, I can’t stop it, theres nothing I can do but grip the wheel and head straight on into the crash. Its this build up thats happened before any big day since he’s been gone. This one feels worse than the others.
So I hit the trails, my usual trail… for the first time since November.
My running journey began in October, after I had registered for a 10K held Thanksgiving Day.
The first race I had ever submitted my (willing) participation in.
I began training for it, created a schedule (which I never ended up following) and as wobbly and amateur as I felt starting something I had no experience with, I just… began.
Its kind of a theme of my life, don’t think too much or know too much about it…. just DO.
I hit pavement, and after receiving some new shoes and advice on where to run from a local runner’s store, I began connecting my heels and heart to the trails.
I never, ever thought I would ever be a trail runner, long distance runner, or training for a race.. but there I was.
Expecting nothing. But start and finish something.
But every time I went out to improve my stamina and my time… I was uncovering a part of myself, and taking a step onward in my healing. Because you can’t hate yourself through 2, 3… 6 miles. You can’t shit talk yourself to the done line. It’s an exercise in self-care, motivation and patience. A gift from you to you. You’re showing up and leaning in to the physical challenge and have all hands on deck for the mental trial, too. Troupe is all here, and on alert.
I showed up and leaned in.
My first day running on the trails I ran into a clearing and just stood there. Staring out into the shrubs and trees. My brain was frantic, absolutely frantic.
What am I doing out here, why am I doing this, HOW am I doing this… and I just stood there, so confused and bewildered at what I was doing and I began crying.
Just sobbing, standing there in the middle of the quiet forest and just letting my frustration and confusion come to the surface.
I began asking for Shayne. Demanding it from my surroundings.
“Where are you??” I kept turning around and around and around in a circle, my eyes flickering, thinking… he must be out here. Why wouldn’t he be? He’s a horticulture guy, my nature boy, he would definitely be out here. I tried visioning him, his silhouette, the way he would walk, his face coming out of the trees and finally meeting me with a reassuring gaze.. like, “Calm down, its me, I’ve been here all along.”
No, I just kept feeling panicked and disappointed. He wasn’t going to appear. He wasn’t there, not where I thought he was.
I cried as much as I thought I could and needed to and continued alone, along the trail. Stuck my headphones in my ear, focused and slid into my runner’s mode.
The times I have spent out on this trail always leave me feeling a little closer to him and farther away.
If theres anywhere I can feel most connected and in a place I know he’d love, its out in the forest, among trees, shrubs and nature. This place I found, not by accident but definitely on my own. Its him. Its Shayne. But since he can’t be there, won’t show up… I feel like its there where I drift a little farther from him. I feel guilty for being there, without him.
Sunday morning, I could barely get my feet moving. I felt slow and heavy and sluggish, nearly 2 months since Ive been out there.
I got about a mile in and just collapsed right in the middle of the trail.
I sat there, with a stick in my hand, carving his name into the damp ground. Crying. Pleading. Talking. And as uncomfortable as that moment was, I couldn’t come out of it. I was paralyzed there. But it felt okay to settle into it.
I kept asking, “Where are you?”
And right as I was settling into this defeat, tears, snotty nose and all… a biker came barreling down the path and startled me. A millisecond of embarrassment, but I came to my feet and met his gaze behind my sunglasses. I honestly barely remember what he looked like other than curly hair pulled back in a ponytail, because I kept my eyes on the ground in shame and I knew if I looked at him and took him up on his offer to help, I would have probably spilled all kinds of details on the why I was there and what I was doing stationed on the ground like that. He was more alarmed than I was, “Oh my god! You scared me! Are you okay? Can I help you? Darling, are you ok?”
My head hanging low, mud and pine straw stuck to my leg, tears streaming down my face, I said, “No. I’m okay. I’m so sorry.” I was so sorry I might have scared and startled him, I certainly had come to know this state I was in.. it doesn’t alarm me anymore. I’ll cry, breakdown or have a moment anywhere.
I can imagine, Sunday bikers aren’t used to seeing weepy widows huddled on the ground, falling apart.
I wanted to word vomit all over him, tell him “Listen, I’m having a weepy moment.. my husband will have been gone 9 months tomorrow.. I just don’t feel like I can take one more step. Thanks for discovering me in my most vulnerable state here.”
I was hoping that his assumption was that I fell and maybe hurt my ankle and was taking a moment to recover. Thats what I’m hoping was going through his mind while he pedaled away.
But I just kept my head down, said, “Thank you, I am so sorry” with earnest again, and started smiling. Laughing even. Thank you, Shayne. For consistently sending people into my life, into my path… exactly when I need them.
I started walking along the trail thinking and smiling, “Ok, honey, I know… lets keep going.”
Lets have our moment, but lets keep going.
I’m not ready to do this, I’m not ready to celebrate a birthday without him here, but I’m going to have my moment of resistance, anger and depression and… just keep going.
He would want me to.
I wouldn’t ever want him to feel this hurt or this pain, so I’ll absorb it all. I’ll do this, for him. I’d truly hate for him to be alone, spending any of mine without me. So I’ll lean in and love him and do this.
I love him very much and so honored to call him mine and so thankful he was ever born. No matter what happened in his life, our life and come what may… Shayne’s birthday is a day to be celebrated.
I’m not ready, but I’m loving you.