The nature of my husband’s job required him to travel overseas frequently and because of this he was able to visit so much of the world, and he made many friends along the way. He was extremely dedicated to everything he did whether it was earning his MBA, training for a marathon, hiking the Appalachian Trail or preparing a presentation for an upcoming trip to Korea. I have no idea how he managed to have such a full life within a short 31 (almost 32) years but I believe it is because he said “Yes!” to new experiences, and embraced his existence with an enthusiasm that I’ve never encountered in another person. He was amazing and I’m not just saying that because he was mine.
I worried constantly about him when he was away and would track all of his flights, asking him to send me texts when he landed and another text once he arrived safely at his hotel halfway across the planet. I would see the dark circles hanging under his eyes when we used FaceTime and launch into the negative effects of sleep deprivation. I would hide snacks in his luggage so he wouldn’t be hungry. I made sure he filled his prescriptions before he left and packed his vitamins. My overprotectiveness drove him a little crazy but I’m a risk manager, so I get paid to think in “worst-case scenario” terms all of the time. Whenever I would hear about a plane crash I would immediately try to put myself into the shoes of the families huddled together at the airport waiting for news of their loved ones. I just knew for a fact I would crumple like a piece of tissue paper if something happened to my husband. The thought of an existence without him was unfathomable to me. How could I possibly live when he was all that I lived for? I never once imagined that I’d lose him during a half-marathon only miles from where I was. But I did. So now I know that anything is possible. Anything. And sometimes no amount of worrying or protecting or obsessing can change the outcome. Shit happens.
I am faced with the same decision every morning. Stay in bed and feel sorry for myself or get up and plow painfully ahead. Although it takes a tremendous amount of energy (and prescription drugs) I keep dragging myself forward one slow inch at a time, and it has paid off in so many ways. The experience of losing Jason has rekindled old friendships that had been neglected and has also forged new ones that have brought light into my life. It’s strange to think of how many positive and wonderful things have occurred in the darkest period of my 37 years. It’s as if Jason knew I wouldn’t be able do this alone and although I’m still unsure about my ideology, I do believe there is a much bigger force at work. I’m not saying I believe in some ethereal puppet-master playing us like marionettes but there are magical coincidences that seem to occur at such deliberate moments, and with great frequency.
Perhaps there is a reason for the unfair and unforeseen things that happen to us without our consent. All I know for now is that I want to live more like Jason. I want to say “Yes!” to those new experiences and not be afraid. I want to embrace the unknown as he did and see where it leads me. Some of his family, along with myself, have signed up for the Savannah Rock N Roll Marathon in November because we want to honor another man who passed away under similar circumstances. I’m dreading it because it will be emotional and difficult…but Jason wouldn’t have given up just because he was faced with a challenge. He would have faced his fear head on and he would have prevailed.