With less than a week to go before I attempt to run more trail miles in one day than I've run in any week of my life, what is on my mind?
Ironically, I am thinking of some of my mom's last words to me and my father. It was the middle of the night and we were all in the same bed. My mom was wearing an adult diaper and was well under 100 lbs, her physical form was nothing like the mother who gave birth to me. It was right around 5 days before she died, maybe more, maybe less. My father was groggy, not quite awake, not quite asleep. I believe I was lying between the two of them, wanting to be close, wanting to be young again. My sister would fly in soon and be the last person to receive a substantial hug from my mother as the drugs eased her transition.
My mom said, unsolicited, something that I remember as "David, I'm scared". I'm unsure exactly how she expressed this feeling, but I believe she addressed my father by first name and I know she used the word scared. We were both sleepy at the time, tired from emotional exhaustion and the physical toil of trimming ironwood trees with a chainsaw as a means of coping with the inevitable loss. I don't think either of us knew how to respond, but my dad chose to ask a very reasonable "Scared of what?". The words I heard next are ones which have stuck with me, words that I can hear clearly as if they were spoken hours ago. She said, no she somewhat screamed, in an exasperated voice, "scared of dying!"
I suppose I am thinking about this moment because I am also scared of what lies ahead for me this weekend. But my fear seems so trivial by comparison. I feel unjustified in feeling fear of something I voluntarily elected to attempt. Especially when there are people facing real fear every minute of every day.
I'm hoping that this memory will give me the perspective I need to make it through the day, doing something I love, and something I have the privilege of being able to attempt.