St. Jude Half Marathon…My Most Meaningful Race Yet! Repost from 3.2.14

My Most Meaningful & Important Race Yet…St. Jude Half Marathon!

St. Jude Half MarathonWhy this the most important race I’ve registered for yet? Here’s OUR story… In June 2008, we buried my niece, Arnevia Triplett.  She was only 22 months old.  As painful and unexpected as it was it didn’t compare to the pain I felt a couple years later.  In 2010, my same sister and brother-in-law buried my nephew.  He was only 374 days old! Both my niece and nephew had a rare disease, DiGeorge Syndrome.  At the time that my niece passed, we didn’t know this.  Her cause of death was listed as unknown as the doctors could not figure out what the problem was.A couple years later, my nephew, Devan Triplett was admitted to St. Jude after significant weight loss.  He was tested for everything and all his tests came back negative.  Again, the doctors couldn’t pinpoint the issue.  Then a medical student suggested that he get tested for DiGeorge Syndrome since he had all the symptoms.  And what do you know, his illness actually had a name.  It was rare but at least we knew or somewhat knew what we were dealing with.  For 374 days, in and out of the hospital, scare after scare, we had the most precious little boy in our lives.  I thought he was my child.  I spoiled him.  Anytime he was sick, I was hopping on the next flight or driving home to be there.  I prayed constantly for a complete healing.

Then the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I received the dreaded phone call! My sister simply said, “I need you at home.  My baby died in his sleep this morning.” I can’t begin to describe the pain, hurt, and I anger I felt.  I lost a piece of me that day.  It sounds cliché but I literally lost a piece of my soul, heart, and my peace of mind.  I was angry with everyone except my sister. I just couldn’t fathom what she was feeling at that moment and I still can’t.  But I was especially angry with God. I couldn’t understand why we prayed so hard to have our prayers unanswered.  Or why an innocent little boy was brought into this this world to suffer and be taken away so soon! I just couldn’t get past this one incident.  I know my Mom thought I was loosing my mind and most days I felt like I was as well.  I would call her screaming, crying, angry, upset, and grieving in the worst way possible.  I always stayed strong for my sister but I had some of my worst moments when driving.

I stopped going to church and all but stopped believing.  Then I decided to run outdoors.  It was a totally different experience from the treadmill.  My running didn’t begin immediately.  Actually, it was a couple years later.  I needed an outlet.  I was so angry with God and I missed Devan more than I could put into words.  I would run and reflect on everything. I would think about the first moment I laid eyes on him, held him, spoiled him, and just loved on him! I started to grieve in a more “healthy” way! Slowly, I started leaving my anger on the pavement.  I started to feel lighter.  At that point, I knew running was saving me from myself.  So, I kept at it and more things were coming into perspective.  I started praying again and listening to God.  Running was slowly restoring my faith; because I definitely had let it go.  I made a vow to support St. Jude and their efforts as frequently as possible.  I’m forever grateful that my sister and brother-in-law made me the Aunt of the world’s most precious little boy.  My Devan! I’m grateful that St. Jude gave us the most amazing 374 days to make memories that will last a lifetime!  I’m thankful and grateful that God knew better than me.  He gave Devan his complete healing.  I didn’t understand that Devan had served his purpose in such a short time.

So, this is more than a race for me.  It’s a reflection of how far I’ve come.  How I’ve learned to grieve in a more healthy way.  Sometimes, when I’m running I think about all the fun we had as a family during his hospital visits or the pain he must have endured for 374 days.  Then I say to myself he was just a baby and he fought for 374 day surely you can make it X time.  I can show him that his Aunt will continue to fight his fight.  Grateful isn’t sufficient enough of a word to describe how I feel for those 374 days.  Although I don’t say it, each run and race is possible because God saw fit to give us a strong, little boy who changed me in ways unknown to many in such a short time period.

So, this isn’t just another race! It’s for my memories of my Devan! TeTe Pooka loves and misses you & your sister! St. Jude thank you for 374 days.  Sister & brother-in-law thank you for an amazingly, strong nephew & niece! God thank you for knowing better than me!

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