Thursday, December 28, 2006

Birmingham, Alabama

I went for a run Wednesday morning in Arkansas; it was nice with lots of hills. Not a long run, but I would go charging up those hills until I couldn't breathe. I just picked a couple at random and usually ran until I saw a "no trespassing" sign. I felt heavy and slow. Heavy is a lot of what I've felt the last few days. The countryside was beautiful. I didn't really think about anything, and I wasn't going particularly fast. I just went. I'd run until my lungs started burning.

After I was done, I was tired, but the muscle spasm in my back, which I suspect was pent-up emotion, is gone. As I was coming back to the hotel I met up with Sweet Babo, coming in from his long ride. He was glowing. He absorbs some of my emotions sometimes, too, and he'd been a little down. The run made a huge difference in how I feel. I felt really heavy before, but I feel much lighter now.

I went for a run this morning in Birmingham. It was short, only about 40 minutes, because by the time the sixth dog started chasing me I remembered why I'd left Alabama. Don't get me wrong; Alabama is a lovely place, beautiful scenery and warm, friendly people. But they don't support an active outdoor multisport lifestyle. You may waterski and you may hunt and you may fish. You may not run outside and cycling is difficult. There are no shoulders on most roads, and the roads drop off or rise so steeply on either side that, as Sweet Baboo says, "even the white line is nervous." They love to drive here. All roads go straight up or down the large hills, no switchbacks. And I'm assuming leash laws are non-existant where I'm at.

For myself, the queen of why-I-can't-exercise-today, its just too many potential excuses. I could never live here again.

I have to believe that Bama'ns love their cars. At the funeral home we went over to a section about 20 yards away. It was beautiful day, about sixty degrees. I walked. The people I was with drove. Did you read that? They DROVE. TWO PEOPLE. DROVE TWO CARS TWENTY YARDS ON A BEAUTIFUL DAY.

When we got back to my sister's, there were counters full of food from my sister's church. You can argue, but I will insist to you that you will never be better fed in your life than during a mourning period in the south.

My sister found some really cool pictures of our dad. They were taken in the early 1950's, of him on a bike. They are, like, my favorite pictures of him in the whole world now. I'm going to scan them and I'll show you what I mean. I read his DD-214 and found out that he won a couple of medals in Korea. I never knew that. I also read lots of clippings about his younger years as a champion bowler. I never knew that, either. I just thought he liked to bowl. I also foundout that my grandfather was a decorated WWII veteran. I never knew that, either.

BariLynn found a place that cleans up crime scenes and suicides. We got that information from several sources. They are going to take care of everything. Thanks so much!

We had the services tonight, and I was so pleased to see again old friends of my parents that I had known when I was a child, but I was dismayed to find out that all the "old guys" my dad had known for decades met regularly for lunch and golf--weekly, in fact. My father knew, but didn't join them. He must have been depressed for some time, but we didn't realize.

How sad, to lose your wife of 43 years and then to spend your retirement alone, shut up on your apartment watching cable. I would hope that would never happen to me, or to Sweet Baboo. It shouldn't happen to anyone. Nobody should be alone. I guess 8 years of it was enough for Dad.

Tomorrow after my run, Sweet Baboo and I are going to check out a local bike shop as a nice diversion and have lunch somewhere,. The services will be in the afternoon.

...

13 comments:

  1. Stay strong and keep running. It will get you through these tough times.

    Lean on your family, especially your husband, it's what he's there for...

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  2. Glad to hear you are taking care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. It's funny all the things we never know about our parents...

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  3. Just a little comment love for yuo during a terrible time.

    Keep hanging in there.

    p.s. your comments on southern culture make me laugh.

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  4. Hang in there, hon. It sounds like you're doing all right. Run, eat, sleep, accept the help that's offered, and above all be patient with yourself. Do for yourself what you would for your very best friend, because that's what you are!

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  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I was interested in hearing that your father was a veteran. Many, many of us are so very appreciative of his service.

    You may want to check with the local VA. Perhaps there is help in the form of small reimbursements for funeral expenses. Make sure you have the DD 214 available when you inquire.

    Again, my best to you during this difficult time.

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  6. my thoughts are with you.

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  7. Sorry to hear about your loss. Why is it a good run can make it all better?

    I love runs or bikes in rural areas but I do hate the dogs. I have the same problem when I travel to Wisconsin to see my in-laws.

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  8. Hey, Al, et al: Thanks so much for all your sentiments. Sweet Baboo works for the VA, so we're all over that. Also, we found out in 98 after my mom died that all veterans are entitled to a free grave space, although you still have to pay for the vault and casket or cremation. Since both my parents were cremated, they were allowed to be interred side by side. :..-) There are a lot of benefits available to veterans, particularly combat veterans, so if you ever know of any make sure to get them down there to see what help they can get.

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  9. Sounds like you are feeling a little more at peace. Glad to hear it. Amazing how important exercising is to our overall health, not just physical health. It sounds like you know exactly what to do to keep it all together. Just keep at it. Travel safely.

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  10. Take care in this difficult time

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  11. So sorry to hear about the recent death of your dad. It has to be especially hard around this time of year and that he chose to go. I apologize for not knwoing sooner, but I haven't been able to get on-line at home for quite some time now.
    Keep finding time for yourself and keep exercising/training. It will help you keep things in perspecitve and keep you away from hurting yourself in this time of grieving.
    I am thinking of you and your family-glad you told us-we are here for you in case you need us, no matter how "virtual" we are....

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  12. Just checking in to see how you're doing. I'm glad that you were able to get a run in and again, that Sweet Baboo is with you.

    I learned a lot about my dad after he died too. Isn't it odd that you can go your whole life and not know so much about a person?

    Your sister's church sounds very supportive. Southern cooking, yummy...

    I hope you had fun at the LBS.

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  13. Just catching up, my condolences on the loss, and please continue to take good care of yourself. It sounds like SB is doing a good job of assisting on that one.

    Hugs to you, lady.

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