On 3/4/2011, which coincidentally is my wedding anniversary, my 26 year old nephew ended his life. I felt a part of me died with him. My father had committed suicide when I was 17 years old. I could not believe that grandfather and grandson would choose to end their lives.
For the past two years, I found myself struggling in my marriage and in my life around the anniversary time. Last year, Tom and I didn't celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary but I did get a new wedding band to symbolically release myself from the energetic connection to my family. My gold wedding band had been handed down to me from my great grandmother. While many experience a beautiful sentimental connection to jewelry handed down to them, mine was rife with conflict and unhappiness. So I tossed it into the ocean - yes an 18 karat gold wedding band - and I could feel my nephew's presence with me. He grabbed the anchor and jumped off of his fishing boat as it was pulling into Rhode Island and drowned.
This past year has been a year of phenomenal healing and transformation. You'll read about it (and my 7 year healing odyssey) in my soon to be released memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility".
Last weekend, Tom and I were finally able to celebrate both his birthday (which happens to be tomorrow 3/2 and marks 37 years since we met) and our anniversary in Hyannis as part of the Hyannis Marathon Weekend. We swam together, ate delicious meals together and I was able to wait for him to cross the finish line. He ran the Half Marathon. We went to the after party for Spaulding at 586 and celebrated runners' firsts, PR's and an unseasonably warm day in Hyannis.
Meeting Dick Beardsley who was able to overcome addiction, was incredibly healing for me. My nephew Charlie could have certainly benefited from the work he is doing through the Dick Beardsley Foundation. Knowing that Dick and his wife Jill are out working there tirelessly to raise money for education and to pay for treatment for those who are trapped in the cycle of chemical dependency brought me healing and comfort.
Last weekend I reconnected with the running community and celebrated my 2009 Boston Marathon run. I was reunited with alumni from Spaulding Rehab's Race for Rehab Team:
Tom and I regaled stories about our first half marathon - in Hyannis - in 2009 at the pre race pasta dinner.
I celebrated my Boston Marathon run with four time Marathon champion Bill Rodgers:
Time heals! The power of community heals! While my heart still aches for the tragedies of my father and nephew and how their suicides tore the fabric of our family apart, I can now celebrate what needs to be celebrated in my life and move forward.