11 February 2012

Sharing Love and Strength ...in Sherry's name

For the love of running...for the love of life.

On this day, February 11, 2012, at 9 a.m. MST (which was 8 a.m. PST), people all over the world energetically gathered together with the intention of honoring Sherry Arnold through movement. Sherry is the cousin of my friend, Beth, who writes the blog Shut Up and Run. She was a mother, wife, and school teacher...loved by many. She went out for a run one morning in early January and did not come home.

After discussing what this event was about and what it meant, my family decided to come along with me. None of us can imagine the feelings of pain and loss that Sherry's family must be experiencing. We all wanted to do something toward their healing and the healing of the greater community by showing our love and support. 

We walked quietly and thoughtfully out of our neighborhood and over to the water to have a moment of silence and then begin the event...

The boys were uncharacteristically not loud.

Once we got to the water, Big G started some whiny, selfish b.s. about how unfair it was that we had to do this at such an 'early' hour. "In Washington D.C. it's 11 o'clock...why couldn't we just do this at 11 o'clock?" I explained two things to him:
  1. the idea was to have a collective energetic intention of honoring and remembering...and the closest everyone came to participating at the same time, the more that power would be felt. Yes, we could do it later, but we had the time and the space in our day to do it then...and so that was how we were going to do it.
  2. we don't always get to pick the time something happens. Handling 'inconveniences' that mean a tremendous amount to other people is part of living a generous and loving life. The more grace and kindness we can infuse into our challenges, the better life will feel to both ourselves and those around us. And I related an anecdote about my own father's death that really seemed to hit home with him.
He went off by himself to mull over all of these heavy thoughts. And the other kids went down to the water, lost in exploring and living life. It was a beautiful, if melancholy grey morning. The sun was streaming through the clouds in such a hopeful way...




...and the sky was clearing...


Big G finished his mini-sojourn, returned to my side, gave me a huge hug and apologized for being selfish. We walked holding hands for a good ways. As I felt the warmth and trust and love of his grip and watched my younger three children examine and ponder rocks and shells and feelings and life, I reflected on Sherry and her family. She has brought out so much love in people, both in her life and in her passing. Though I never knew her, I can feel the strength of her giving, soulful being. And her death, though horrific and tragic, leaves me feeling neither fearful nor destroyed but, perhaps oddly, even more open and hopeful than I have ever been. 





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39 comments:

  1. Nice reflective post. Sherry's death is just so senseless. It is pretty cool to read all the blogs and tweets about everyone doing a run for her today.

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  2. It's interesting how much this has effected all of our families too. My boys have been very sensitive to my running since she didn't come home. Sounds like a great day as a family. Thanks for sharing. I'll be writing later today about it.

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  3. Brought tears to my eyes - great job capturing what this means, lady. (hugs)

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  4. Nice post! Great that you involved your family.

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  5. I know I'm usually a total jack-ass with my comments (especially on this blog) but it's a good time to get serious. As I've said on a few other posts - if you live in Orange County and ever need a running partner, just ask. I'll give you references. Do a background check. Whatever you need to do to feel comfortable and safe. Because you deserve to feel comfortable and safe and I'm happy to help.

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  6. I'm a jerk, I didn't run this morning. I did hug my girls each one, and I am crying now as I type this.

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  7. Those were amazing pics...and such a nice lesson for the children!

    Thanks for sharing!

    I read your post about your dad the other night and left you a comment...very touching!

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  8. You are an awesome mom! Awesome! I am sure Sherry loved this moment with your beautiful family.

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  9. Thanks for sharing. Love how you got the family involved!

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  10. Great post! I'm glad your entire family got involved!

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  11. Such a beautiful post. I love how you worked through it all with your kids, explaining the meaning and making them a part of things. I want to thank you for your big, huge, giving heart. You have been such a support to me.

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  12. Beautiful...
    I wish my run was so peaceful and thoughtful. There is still so much anger in me over what happened to Sherry and what is happening to so many women. I know I'll get over it... eventually...

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  13. Really beautiful in the way you wrote this up. Beautiful family too.

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  14. So awesome. I struggled with what to say to my kids today. I just envisioned explaining how Sherry went out for a run and didn't come home - and how they often wake up in the morning with me gone running - I didn't want them to start worrying about me. I should have trusted that they could have handled it. Love that you shared this with your family - I also came out of today feeling more hopeful and impressed with humankind than before.

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  15. Great recap! So inspiring to read everyone's posts about the same special event!

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  16. I absolutely LOVE that you involved the whole family!!!!

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  17. What an awesome moment. Thanks for sharing!!

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  18. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. beautiful post. i intended to run my trail marathon yesterday with sherry's bib, and when it didn't happen due to injury i was angry. but then i took a step back and realized... how dare i waste one moment being angry about something that does not matter? life is simply too short. every day is a gift.

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  20. Hi! Wow--beautiful post and beautiful photos. I *felt* that collective energy you explained to your son.

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  21. What a beautiful post and a wonderful way to honor Sherry's life. I'm sure her family is comforted by people, like you and your family, who have taken the time to remember her this way. So well done.

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  22. I was so touched your post. I only wish I had heard about the virtual run earlier so I could have participated. Such a senseless tragedy.

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  23. Such gorgeous pictures! I love that you got your whole family out there, what a great opportunity to talk about this story and the ways we can honor others.

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  24. Sherry's death is so senseless. I am glad you took time to remember her. What an awesome running community we have.

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  25. What a beautiful tribute to a life tragically lost. Lovely photos as well.

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  26. What a great tribute. I am glad your family was brought together for such a wonderful cause. Appreciating what we have in the moment is challenging sometimes - you guys nailed it.

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  27. Wow. That was beautiful. How terribly tragic and what an awesome way to support her family. Thank you for sharing.

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  28. Wow what a post.
    I love that you involved your kids in paying homage to Sherry like this. Lovely.

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  29. Beautiful post, love your pictures and beautifully written.

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  30. What a beautiful and thoughtful post. I've seen a few other tributes to Sherry on their sites, but this was by far my favorite!

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  31. I think teaching our children that doing the inconvenient-but-thoughtful-and-important thing is an incredibly amazing and powerful lesson. Giving the gift of ourselves with grace... it's what matters. Your morning experience is touching in any number of ways - not only what it was that you were doing, but your time with your kids. Lovely. Thank you.

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  32. What a beautiful lesson you imparted to your son, and a great tribute to Sherry.

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  33. I clicked the link in your post and read about Sherry. That is so horrific, I don't understand how people do things like that to one another. Ugh.

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