In Memoriam, A Blog Post from Marlene Farrell
I am confronted and confounded, as an individual, and we are confronted and confounded, as a community, with the sudden deaths of three beautiful people who embodied the courage to live life to the fullest and pursue their joy in our beloved mountains.
The more I think about it, the more ineffable it is. My mind lacks the ability to comprehend. We grasp at the details of the what, how, when and where while the why and what’s next slip forever beyond our reach. An unanswerable question is how can our happiness break our hearts?
Anyone drawn to outdoor pursuits knows deep down the feeling of being cradled in the palm of creation. The aching beauty and the sense of being a part of a larger unadorned reality. There are foreseeable risks whenever one strays from home. The miracle of being on high in the mountains requires preparation, knowledge of risks and dogged unflinching determination. There are, of course, all sorts of threats that lurk much closer to home and unbridled fear will send us all huddling in our closets. That is a tragedy of a different type altogether.
This new grief stirs up past grief that will always be in my heart. I lost my sister, Rebecca, almost fourteen years ago. Running, which was drawing us closer together in our twenties, has helped Rebecca return to me when she feels a long way off. When I lace up, her feet slip into my running shoes and she guides my feet and holds my healed heart gently in her hands. Rebecca, who may or may not have become a marathoner herself, is nonetheless with me on my long runs. It’s just different than I would have liked. Unlike my children, who were me and grow further and further from me, Rebecca returns, with time, living and breathing through me.
I believe that when someone is no longer among the living they are still with us. Physically so, in the DNA of their relations, in the way a daughter laughs or a father walks. Also, our loved ones have left indelible imprints on us from our years of shared experience and close proximity. We will never be the same, and we can thank them for that.
There is a time to be still and grieve. And there is also a time to move and seek that larger life that is out there waiting for us, moment by precious moment, before it’s gone forever. I think of Johnny Brenan, Jim Jack and Chris Rudolph and know they are inviting us all to play in the mountains with our friends and with our kids. We will feel them there too, and honor their memory.