The day after my last post, my family experienced a horrible tragedy. My niece, Melissa Marsh passed away unexpectedly from complications of diabetes. Melissa was only 31 years old, and leaves behind a 7 year old son and his father. Of course, Melissa was loved by all of us in the family. I felt a special kinship with her because we both were the youngest girls in our family and also had two older brothers who always gave us a hard time. We are still in shock at the loss of someone so young. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that her father, Rick Marsh, passed away from kidney cancer two years ago. Her funeral was the two year anniversary of his passing.
I had planned to run the Austin 3M half marathon, and as in dealing with past losses, I turned to running for stress relief. However, this time around, it was more difficult to get motivated for today’s race. Some days, since Melissa’s passing, I have felt like all the energy was drained from me. As someone who promotes health and fitness, it was a cruel irony that diabetes would be the cause of my own niece’s death. It’s only been in the last few days that I have been able to even contemplate the thought of how Melissa might want us to go forward without her. Over the last few days, I had been uncertain how I would feel come race morning. And yet, as I crossed the starting line a single word came to mind: Love. I realized that this is what gives us resilience during these very difficult times — love of family, and knowing that the love of those we have lost is always with us. I wore the grey ribbon that was made for Melissa’s funeral as I ran the 13.1 miles today. This one was for her, and all those who ran with me in spirit today. I will miss her terribly, particularly her wonderful hugs but I will go on today and watch her beloved Seahawks hopefully beat the 49ers in the NFC football championship. I know she is with the whole family today as we cheer on our team.