My blog is back. Last May 17th was my late wife Jinky's birthday. As you may know, she is the inspiration for the Praying Runner and this blog.
It's been a few years since my last entry simply because I stopped writing. But I continued to run and do races. I'm actually now at 62 marathons.
I'm confident to share with you that running (and any exercise) and writing can help you heal and recover from sadness and grief.
However, some events in my life lately have just brought me back to some level of grieving over losing Jinky 11 years ago. Inevitably, that is just but the nature of grief - it ebbs and flows.
To help me cope, I decided to return to writing in my blog. This comeback entry is nothing about running but all about my reflections during the first few days after Jinky died. These are actually excerpts from my eulogy delivered on March 24, 2011.
Allow me to share my thoughts about grief with you. And allow me to share some more in my succeeding blog entries. I might be able to help one or two people out there who are grieving over a loved one. For sure, writing this entry is helping me process my current grief feelings; thus the title - The Grieving Runner.
So here are some excerpts...
On our wedding day, standing at the foot of the altar for our photo ops, Jinky and I were standing side by side, with her arms around me lovingly, and smiling in front of the camera and everyone in church. I could still remember Jinky soaking in the moment. While me, my mind was floating and thinking and worrying about the details of the wedding reception. When the photographer told us to kiss each other, she turned to me right away, prepared to give me her sweetest kiss. But here I was, still running in my head details I might have overlooked about the reception. So I turned to her but only halfway with my mouth twisted towards her lips while my eyes looking the opposite way towards the direction of the reception place. But then, Jinky calmly and tenderly turned my face straight facing her and she told me, "Joey, be in the moment. I love you, and I am here. Now, come on, and give me a big kiss."
What Are You Praying For?
During the last few months of her life, Jinky stayed in bed most of the time, resting and praying. And one night I asked her, "Love, what are you praying for?" And she said, "I'm praying that God gives me a longer life. I still want to see my future grand kids. I still want to go out and travel the world with you. I still want to get stronger so I can go running with you. I still want to spend more time with you and care for you." She stopped talking and gave a big sigh. "But look how sick I am. I think I'm asking for a miracle."
One day, Jinky started talking incoherently and was responding gibberish to my questions. She was having a seizure. Though it lasted a few minutes, it felt like she wasn't coming out of it. And I said to myself, "Oh no! She's the only one who knows the PIN to our one and only ATM card." I panicked because she might lose her memory completely before she could pass the PIN to me. When she recovered from that seizure, she started turning over to me a lot of the things that she did for the household. Honestly I was very afraid to lose her because she was my pillar, my rock. I depended on her on a lot of things. I can't run a household without her. I can't raise a family without her. But most of all, I can't lose my wife and partner for life.
Crying My Goodbye
It was just a matter of time. A few days before she died. I laid down next to her in bed. She was very weak she could only turn her head partially towards me. She made a barely audible sound as if she wanted to say something. She tried to move her arm up as if to embrace me, but her arm just dropped back to her side. So I gently put my arm around her and turned my face to her ear. And before I could say a word, I just broke down in tears. I was crying trying to say goodbye.
Every Moment is God's
It's been only a few days since she died, and I miss her terribly. I have been reflecting on her death and how early and young God took her. So I prayed for wisdom to understand. Then two days ago (before her funeral), I went to the barber shop for my haircut and shave. It was one of Jinky's bedside wish to make sure I look handsome during the funeral. So there I was sitting on the barber's chair, grieving and praying for an answer. And of all places, God talked to me at the barber shop. I was in deep grief over losing Jinky, but God talked to me in prayer, "Joey,...Jinky was mine. And I loved her all this time." And immediately I remembered our wedding day. How bubbly and joyful she was, savoring the time, being in the moment, giving love and accepting love. Never letting a moment slip away to smile at everyone, and never letting worries bother her or stop her from giving the best of herself to others, especially to me. Jinky was always present in the moment.
What can I pray for you today? How can I be reminded every day to love every moment and make it my purpose to live life to the full?