Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 33: A Number That Meant So Much More. "Dear Dad, I'm 33 Today...".

Day 33 of Project Begin Again.  Wow, this number continues stop me in my tracks...every time.  The number 33 holds some pretty big significance in my life when it comes to running.  Well, for several reasons actually.  I've written on this before way back when I was in the beginning years of this old blog.  One post where I mentioned a bit about the number 3 was in reflection of my first marathon (Napa Valley Marathon) and how I was coming to a full circle moment again after injury and kids... returning to Napa Valley to run for a second time and then to Boston again in 2013.  The real reason 33 is such a significant number in my life is that this was the age my dad was when he died.  Growing up after losing my dad as a little girl, I often thought of  him and what he must have been like at 33.  When I finally was 33, and my three kids were around the same age as my brothers and I were when my dad died, I struggled a little.  There were lots of emotions during that year.  Being 33 and feeling so  young and seeing how young and needy my sweet kids were...gosh, it was weird.  It made me think of my dad's death from a new perspective.  That was the beginning of some big healing and processing for me. Lots of heart work for me at 33 and on into 34 and even 35. Funny how we can hold on to our pains and traumas from childhood for so long before we are actually able to heal and face our heartache.  Starting this blog was a huge part of healing..through telling my story... it was a way for me to work through so much of what I held onto as a child...through running, writing about my life and my dad, and telling my heart as it came.  A little bit of background on this:

Passion Determination and The Will To Run
The Deepest Part of My Running Heart--Running For HIM
October 19, 1982--A New Perspective of Death, Motherhood and Children

For lack of time today, I'm going to honor day 33 by including an old letter I wrote to my dad on the day I turned 33.  I'll be 38 this year so this was back in 2011.

Dear Dad, I'm 33

Dear Dad,

You've been on my mind a lot lately.  I went to bed thinking of you last night.  It was my last night as a 32 year old and I thought of how you were only 33 when you died.  So young.  All my life, until just recently, I thought of you as the age you would be if you were still alive. Older, wiser and set in your ways. A father... as I am now...not when I was four. I imagined you as the age of my friends' fathers.  Always growing as I grew.  But now here I am...33 years young today and I see things from a completely different perspective. 

You were so young when you died.  You were just starting to run again after your accident where you were told that you would probably never walk again.  

To be able to RUN again. What peace you must have felt before your death.  

As I begin my 33rd year of life, I think of you and how your life ended at 33.  I still wish that I would have known you.  How I would love to go on a run with you or have you join me in a race or two.  Maybe even Boston. But even though you are not here physically, I feel you from time to time when I am running. I know you're there.

This was definitely a moment I felt you on my run.   I

I will probably always feel that catch in my heart when I talk about you to others or when I think of how much I wish I would have been able to know you and grow up with you in my life.  For many years, I felt embarrassed to grieve over someone that I couldn't even remember.  I felt silly to be sad about a father that died when I was only 4.  I felt like I didn't have the right to feel loss.  Like I should suck it up and deal with it because others have it far worse.  It took me until I was almost 18 to really acknowledge the pain that came from losing my dad, a man I once adored and waited all day to wrap my arms around.  And now so much of this blog has been about processing my feelings, being vulnerable, telling my story, forgiving and sharing my reflections.  So much of my strength and resilience is a gift from you.  Thank you. 

Thank you for giving me life.  It has been an extraordinary one and only continues to get better!  I wish I would have known you but in a sense, I guess I do.  So much of you is in me.  Perhaps you really will be running with me in Boston.  I'll listen for you. 

Here's to 33!  Hope this is only the beginning of a long and happy life.  

I love you,

Here's to 33.  I no longer carry the pain I once did.  The last five or six years has been good for healing.  I've gone through some necessary work and processes to where my heart doesn't ache the same... it feels whole where it once felt broken.

In Honor of 33,


  1. For years, you felt like you didn't have the right to grieve him because you were only 4 when he died....I'm glad you learned to let that go....Cheryl Strayed once talked about how she will always continue to mourn the absence of her mother at certain when each of her kids were born...or at other milestone times....beautiful post....

  2. I was 33 when I stopped waiting, and started looking for your father, 33 when I learned from your grandfather that he was gone. Even then, I never stopped searching. I was 16 when I first met your father. I am 63 now. Finding you, finding your mother, learning something of the paths your lives have taken--to me it is as though I finally found him, found who he might have become if he weren't still 33. Thank you for sharing you.