Friday, May 30, 2014

#flashbackfriday A Conversation With My 5 Year Old Self

Today's blog is inspired by a Friday morning Facebook exchange with the "Bad Ass Bitches" of the Merrimack Valley Striders Club and yesterday's session at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork.

Dear Mary,

Let me begin by saying you made it! You made it through this mess. You are healing in ways that defy what the medical community said would happen to your body after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome. But the physical manifestation is not as important as the healing of your heart and soul although they of course cannot be separated out from one another.

I now know the terror you felt lying paralyzed with no one to care for you. At times your body still quakes in the wake of those moments when your mother smoked a cigarette and glared at you strung out on prescription pain medication. How blessed to have a mind/body therapist who could allow you to process this experience in a safe space and even help us experience moments without any tremors at all!

You were blessed by the earth angel Miss Holly, a physical therapist who introduced you to the healing cadence of Dr. Seuss and planted the seeds for poetry to blossom in your soul to help you heal and bring love, light and inspiration to others through your gift of poetry.

Experiencing "touch that feels good is a move toward health," as Zero Balancing posted on Twitter. For you to experience touch that feels good with clear boundaries focused solely on helping you to heal was a reminder of those moments of being left alone with no one to care for you. And so you spoke your truth yesterday through my body. I weep for you and what you had to go through but I also celebrate you.

I celebrate your strength and your determination to not let those looks kill you. I celebrate your courage to return to school and hone your intellectual skills since athletics did not seem to be an option for you at the time. How amazing that you went to gym class and withstood the tauntings of "easy out Alper". How miraculous that one day, when the outfield moved in because they knew you couldn't kick a ball worth a damn, you connected with that ball and it ended up being a home run because there was no one in the outfield to play it. I am so happy that you chose life even though you faced death many times over in the years that followed.

Although growing up was not easy by any means, just look at the life you have had. You spent 25 years in service as a social worker, 19 of those at the Department of Veterans Affairs serving those who served.

When it came time to leave because it was a life or death decision, your husband told you it was a no brainer and has supported you through every one of your at times crazy ideas including running the 2009 Boston Marathon. He was with you as you struggled to find your way to healing modalities that would truly help you to heal and you are here now.

And take a look around my dear sweet child! Look at the people who are now in your life. It took a lot of strength and courage to realize there were people who were, to quote Tom, hijacking your energy and your good will and to cut ties with them.

You are surrounded by this community of runners filled with grace, gratitude, unconditional love and support and a runner's code of honor that leaves no runner behind! When once you lugged your leg brace desperately trying to catch up and fit in, you now are embraced and surrounded by those who believe "no distance too short, no pace too slow." (Motto of L Street Running Club) Invitations abound for you to run in those races that make sense for you for now, be a spectator or volunteer.

As one of the Striders posted on Facebook this morning
We love you too! This is why we run - not (usually) for time but because we want to share our love of each other and do something good for ourselves too! Exercise doesn't have to be hard core or WORK when you're sharing it with your girls!

We are writing beautiful new chapters in this marathon of our life, getting through the challenging moments, celebrating the triumphs knowing that through it all, we were never alone!

My memoir, "Coming Home:A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" is now available on Amazon.

"Wait, I have one more goal," Mary McManus told her personal trainer in February of 2008 shortly after coming out of her toe up leg brace. "I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital." Mary traded in her polio shoes for running shoes and embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Mary McManus was at the height of her career as a VA social worker when she was told by her team at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s International Rehab Center for Polio in December of 2006 that she needed to quit her job if she had any hope of preventing the progression of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. In “Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility” Mary takes you on her seven year healing odyssey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma from her diagnosis, to taking a leap of faith to leave her award winning career at the VA to heal her life and follow her passion as a poet and writer. You’ll experience her trials, tribulations and triumphs as she trains for and crosses the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and discovers the opportunity for healing in the wake of new trauma: the suicide of her nephew in 2011, and the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. This is Mary's journey of coming home to her human form free from the influences of the ghastly ghostly invaders who had invaded her sacred earthly home. Her memoir includes journals and blog posts from her seven year healing odyssey. This is her journey of transformation and her message of healing, hope and possibility.

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