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One Step at a Time

There's a cliché that goes something like "Every journey starts with a single step" and I think it's not been said enough. Thanks to the messages of encouragement and support I've received from friends and family from all parts of the world my journey towards better coping and moving on is well under way. Before I go any further I would like to say thank you to everyone who prayed and sent their well wishes for us. I am humbled and grateful for the support I have received from all those who took the time to help me feel better.

The first step for me was trying to figure out how I really felt. I couldn't do this while there were a lot of things going on around me. I needed to step away -- literally, took myself out alone for a long run -- and clear my mind. I had a lot of questions but not many answers. This journey I took alone for a couple of hours allowed me to breathe, get tired, feel pain, and identify how I really felt. I couldn't write about how I felt right away after that run as I needed to be able to exhaust myself of the grief I was carrying around.

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Now though I feel a little more at ease with sharing how I felt and what I still feel at times. Surprisingly thought it came to me while I was on the run that I felt tired.

I was tired of not being fully exhausted. I didn't let myself be completely spent both physically and emotionally for a long time. I realized that I always tried to hold everything in. My emotions were getting away from me the more I tried to not show them. I always wanted to maintain a facade of strength, of invulnerability -- more appropriately of invincibility -- that was not healthy. I realized in that run that I was hiding behind a face of an undaunted warrior when I really was a broken fighter. I didn't know it until that point of no return where I suddenly realize that I was defeated.

Half-way through that run I ran out of questions. I kept asking God "what do I do? where should I go? what should I say? what should I think? when should I stop? why am I here? why did this happen to us? why now?" but the answers aren't immediately obvious. I was thinking about what could have gone wrong, what could we have done, what could have been the reason, and all the uncertainty made me feel powerless. I was not in control and I was being reminded of it.

Then it hit me. Suddenly I felt exhausted and relieved at the same time. It was like the answer was staring me in the face all along -- and tears fell down my face as I began to return home.

Just keep moving.

It was so simple and so powerful. I may never know the reasons why this happened to Jeni and I and even if I do they'd largely be irrelevant. Even if I knew what I should think and how I should feel and how I should act, that knowledge doesn't do me good. Whether it happens now or later is also irrelevant. In any case I should just keep moving.

I then let myself feel anger. I was angry that I wasn't able to do anything -- that I was helpless. I became angry that I wasn't running fast enough. I felt anger at my legs for not being able to keep moving as efficiently as I wanted. I developed an anger for being too heavy for my own good. I embraced my anger for not being able to affect the situation.

I then let myself feel pain. I was hurt because our baby is gone -- and it felt like our baby was taken away. I soaked up the pain that came from trying to run away from the reality of what happened. I felt the pain on my thighs and hamstrings as I lifted my feet and knees on every stride. I embraced the pain I felt because I wanted to feel something.

Then I felt hopeful. Before this run I didn't feel anything but here I was going through all the deep rooted anger and pain and going through the suffering. I am starting to feel again which gave me hope that at someday I was going to feel alive again. I embraced this hope because it made me want to keep moving.

I then get home and I was calm. I saw my wife and daughter at home and this gave me peace. I felt peace for reaching my destination safe and sound although battered and sore. I embraced this calm as my daughter calls to me and beckons me to play.

I am home and I feel I can be whole again.

"Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." -- Jesus Christ in Matthew 11:28

I'm positive that if I just keep moving that it will all be clear soon and that whatever has happened would be something I definitely will learn from. If not anything else I'm really learning more about myself, my faith, my limits, and how I can grow as a better person.

One step at a time.


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