RemembrancePosted on January 12th, 2014 No comments
I rarely thought about life or death, and never worry or fear about how close death can be until last Oct. Especially my parents are healthy and live a very active lifestyle, and they travel much more than I do which I am jealous but very happy for them. And I don’t usually ponder on the meaning of life either, that’s just too huge a topic for me. But lately I have given some thoughts about when physical life comes to an end what will be remains of me? On my last breath what can I bring with me? Nothing! Not material and not memory! None of my handbags or high-heels will come with me, and memory belongs to those live and stay. The night before my 2nd surgery I was really scared, and in my hospital bed I thought about what if I never wake up and never get the chance to say farewell? My friend Lester “liked” one of my photos on Facebook that evening, so I changed my profile picture hoping people would always remember me as that cheerful and smiling Michele.
Through courses of life some people come briefly and simply go away; some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts. Some I choose to stay close and some I decide to walk away from. Some I keep in my thoughts & memory, some I have to write off regardless how much that person meant to me once. I have lost contact with almost all my friends from school, very few colleagues from current and past are actual friends. Those who are closer to me now, lucky for me, are friends I have met and made through running, and some have become almost family. Early Sunday morning I went out for a solo run in Los Gatos, and I dedicated this run to a special person I have met years ago through Team In Training. It was his birthday on Sat, so I brought paradise bird from my yard to his bench hoping he would like it. If you have seen a girl running at Los Gatos Creek Trail with water in her left hand, and flower in her right hand like a baton — that’s me.
I met JD through Tam In Training, and back then I was a rookie runner who couldn’t even run 2ml without huffing and puffing. It was a big team that season and there were so many people, so many names and so many faces that I just can’t remember them all. But till today I still remember JD smiling down at me when I was trying to charge up the hills at Calero Park. He was taking pictures of participants doing longest run in our lives — 4 to 6ml 🙂 At that time I didn’t know he was battling with cancer, but always like his encouraging words and positive energy. He wasn’t my mentor, but he was with us at every long runs and always told me that I could do it and “Smile for the camera, Michele!!” . The last conversation I had with him was very unforgettable, although it might seem trivia to others. After going through TNT withdraw upon completion of the fall season, I went to the spring info-meeting in Embassy Suite in Milpitas because I missed the captain and all the mentors. JD was there and he asked if I would come back; I told him not only I was coming back this season but had already committed to RnR San Diego — going to be my first full marathon; he gave me a hug and said “Welcome back to the family!” That was the last time I had seen him.
For two years, I safety-pinned a heart-shaped tag, with letter JD on it, through the shoe laces on my left foot, and I thought about him each time I put on my running shoes. It eventually got so torn and dirty after being switched from shoes to shoes, but the memory of his warm smiles never fade away. One thing that I didn’t share with people was my secret taper ritual — I always visited JD’s bench on my last long run before tapering for whatever race I was training for. I would tell him something like “John, my training is coming to an end and I am feeling really strong about CIM; wish me luck!! ” or “John, this season really sucked and I don’t think I will PR. I am leaving for Tokyo soon, please watch over me.”
Just so coincidentally, I ran into Jerald on Mt Eden Road when I was exiting Zinfandel trail on Sat morning; he was on his bike wearing his TNT Iron Team jersey and calling out “What are you doing here, Michele Sun?” About an hour later a girl asked me at Hobbee’s “did you run it this year?” She was admiring my Tiffany necklace from Nike Woman SF, and I explained “No, a friend of mine ran it when I was in hospital and he gave me this to cheer me up and as moral support.” That friend is Mike. When I was running away from the dam yesterday, I passed Chris while he was running toward the dam. It’s nice to hear his cheerful “Hi, Michele” and I also knew where he was heading to — JD’s bench.
I take these as a sign to write-up this short blog entry to honor and in remembering JD, and to reflect and appreciate the kindness, compassion and support I have received from him during our TNT days.
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