Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mornings Spent In Miles.

I haven't seen much of my good friend Jen the past several months.  Our weekly play dates watching our kids play and fight as we talked and drank wine were replaced by quick hellos and goodbyes as she dropped Lil off with me, then fetched her at the end of the day.

Jen's days were being spent at her father's bedside.  He'd been diagnosed in March and had surgery in May.  He hadn't been left with enough liver to leave the hospital.

This time last year, on any given morning, you'd find the two of them pounding the pavement together.  Walking for miles and miles, hours and hours.  Her mother would make fun of the pair;

"Don't you have anything better to do than walk?"

They didn't.  It was their sanity, their bond, their peace.

He passed a few weeks ago.  Jen and her Mother and Sister sat in bed with him and held on tight;  he waved to Jen and took off.

The services and final farewells are behind her.  The flowers and cards have slowed to a trickle.  She's getting on with the getting on.

She asked me if I wanted to join her for a walk yesterday after we dropped the girls off at school. 

I'm a lazy fat ass, but I have new sneakers, so I agreed.  I know she hasn't been walking since her Dad got sick.

She told me we could do the route that she and her Dad had done so many times.

I didn't ask her what the route was as she parked her car downtown.  A few minutes of stomping at a pretty good clip,  she told me where we were headed.  It was miles away.  Miles farther than I'd ever consider walking.

I can't walk that far.

I didn't say a word.  Speaking being hard when one is desperately out of shape and walking at a near jogging pace.

She talked about her Dad. And talked and talked.  I waited for her tears.  They didn't come.

I can't do this.  My lungs are going to explode. 

She kept talking.  About his funeral.  Her daughter had asked who was going to buy her casket when she died.

My legs.  I can't feel them.  But they hurt.  How is that?

The casket was closed.  She didn't need to see him.  She knew what he looked like in the sweat suit he'd be buried in.

Half way. Thank goodness.  Time to turn around.

She didn't turn us around back the same way we had come. She took us down some old railroad tracks.  Then down a walking trail along the water that I didn't know existed. We passed several people that she'd nod and wave to, only knowing their faces from the dozens of times she'd walked past them before.

Oh, hello hip I see you've joined the aching ranks. Back and knees have been screaming for at least a mile.  And ankle, you've made yourself known also, happy to have you.  Is there any part of me that does not hurt?  Raise your hand please.  Get back down hand, you are throbbing.

Jen would check on me, ask how I was doing. 

"Fine. Just fine."

Big fat liar.

We made it back to her car on shaking wobbly legs.

"Wasn't that awesome?  Don't you feel great?"


Big.  Fat.  Liar.

She was impressed with how good her feet felt in her brand new sneakers.  The laces of her old ones had been tied with those of her Dad's. 

He has them with him.

We picked up the girls and spent the afternoon play date style. 

And as the wine flowed, her tears finally did the same.  Mostly happy remembering tears.  Of course I joined her.  We hugged and 'I love you'd' and made plans for more walking this week.

This morning, every muscle in my body recalled yesterday's miles, not fondly either.  I moaned and creaked and stretched.

And threw on my sneakers and went for a walk.


  1. Great post- I guess this walk you your hair of the dog-

  2. you are a good friend. my fat, out of shape self would have probably begged for mercy.

  3. You are a much better friend than I will ever be. Totally......because I would have laughed if anyone asked me to walk more than a quarter mile.

  4. Dammit.
    I was JUST FINE til I got to the part about the laces.

    Harumph to your big fat lying lazy ass


  5. You are a great friend. And you made me tear up this Saturday.

    BTW Are those the sneakers you mentioned that are supposed to work the ass?

  6. Glad I have the same sneaks...will be walking with you in spirit. Give Jen a hug for me... (does she read this?)

  7. Stick with it - the gift that you're giving her will end up being the gift she gave you.

    Seriously, there's NOTHING better for mind peace than walking.

    (Not even wine - but you can always have that afterwards, anyway...)

  8. You. Are. Awesome.
    What a great post and a great friend!

  9. I, too, was a goner at the shoelaces.

  10. You are suck a good friend.

    I could use a walk like that.

  11. Man I wish people would stop dying. Him in a sweat suit and with her laces...what a way to go.

  12. I'm with stepmother of the year. The two of you are lucky to have each other.

    But I sure would have like to see your face when you told her you were fine. I would have laughed at you. Offered you water and a ride and laughed again.

    Now, no more dying. That's an order!

  13. Your friend is lucky to have a big liar on her side. And I love that you made this sad and touching and funny at the same time. You have a bit of the born story-teller in you. Most definitely.

  14. Behind the words of a crazzy potty mouth lies a soft and tender soul. We all knew that already, but here's more proof. I'm glad you did that whole walk, for her and for you. You rock, lady!

  15. You're a great friend! The next walk will be easier for both of you!

  16. Ugh, the image of sneakers spending eternity together - wonderful.

    What an incredible gift she was given - that quality time with her father, and now with you. Even if you were sucking major air. Beautiful.

    The world could use more friends like you. Sincerely. Your river runs deep, baby.

  17. The shoes, the shoes that are tied together and are with him, oh how that made me cry (on Halloween, it will have been a year since my dad passed).

    I can only hope that I can be there like that when my friends need me.

  18. Great story... I am sure that you went for the walk... or so it seems, because you felt your friend would want to/need to talk. You gave her that opportunity, even if it came at a later time.

    We do things like that for our friends.

    You did well!


  19. Incredible post. Wish I could say stuff half as well as you do.

  20. Yup, the laces are what got me too.

  21. YOU are a great person.

    when my mom died last year, the only person who was able to get through to me, keep me from flying apart into a million pieces, make me cry, make me laugh was my best friend.

    nice job, friend.


  22. snif.

    You are just out to get me this week, aren't you?

    How can you be so many freakin' things?

    Funny, talented, loving, kind, ferocious, and wonderful?


  23. what a great friend you are. the shoelaces--that killed me.

  24. what a great friend you are. the shoelaces--that killed me.

  25. Everyone should have a good friend like you. Or a Dad like him. What an homage to a man.

    I'm glad you decided to get off your lazy rear. You've given to two good causes with one walk.

  26. well this post made me bawl. no joke.

    i am glad you suffered through the walk and that you are such a good friend to her. a big win win!

    and the walking will get easier. :)

  27. She is very lucky to have a friend like you!

  28. I love that Jen and her dad had that. And he was buried in a sweat suit with her sneakers too. God.

    Walking and then jogging has pretty much saved my sanity. I was on the brink. The bonus? not a fat ass anymore.

    And cancer does suck ass. Bad.

  29. I love this post.

    I moved from Ontario to Alberta for 4 months this summer to work at a special needs camp. 3 months into it I got news from home that my grandpa his liver cancer. I was devastated. His time left is limited.

    Yesterday my friend asked me to go for a run. I agreed to bike beside her (I'm lazy, too.). For the first time in 2 months I could talk about my grandpa without crying.

    Friends like you are exactly what people need. Thank you.

  30. Been meaning to tell you that this is beautiful. Are you still walking with Jen? Get your fat ass moving, woman. You gotta work off those pretzel m&ms. Peace to Jen and her family

  31. He waved to Jen and then took off?

    In my imagination he walked on ahead. On a new path alone.

    Oh my god.

    You have made me cry.

    This was beautiful.

  32. Hey, supercool fox, came over since you are on PrettyAllTrue's sidebar this week and I love it.

    You are wonderful.

  33. Stopped here via Kris @ PrettyAllTrue.
    You are an excellent friend. That was a beautiful gift you gave her. I hope you're still walking with her.

  34. what an amazing post. i felt like i was there walking with you two. i can only imagine to what depths your friendship will now go. that is awesome.

  35. Really nice post. Loved it. You are a good friend even through the pain.

  36. That's what life and death and friendship is about. Nice post. You both have friends to treasure.

  37. I love this, because I love friends like you.
    A year ago my father died of cancer then 8 months ago my mom was diagnosed with another kind of cancer. I know my friends don't adore the 'me' they've been facing for the past year +. I know they have inner dialogue like yours and don't always know what to say or do. But knowing that when I ask for them they will come no matter what means more than I could ever express. Closer friendships have shown themselves in the face of my personal crises.
    So far all of us Jens out there who need a You, thank you.


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