Thursday, January 6, 2011

Courage

I spent yesterday at the Lafayette Family Cancer Center with my grandfather.  Soon after entering the building, we were directed to the front desk to check my grandfather in.  After filling out piles of paperwork, the receptionist handed him this 1/2 inch thick plastic black half-circle shaped tag to clip to his shirt. It wasn't huge, it was about 2 inches across and had a green switch like thing on it.  Inside of this gadget was a microchip that had all of his information.  He clipped it to his shirt and we joked a little about him being scanned like at the grocery store. 

As we sat in different waiting areas and walked around to various appointments,  I couldn't help but note all of the people who were wearing the black tags, and their tag-less family members with them.  I really hated seeing those things, but of course they were everywhere at the cancer center.  I knew what that tag meant in this building.  Cancer.  The dreaded "C" word that has taken so much from so many.   

I was thinking about this when I was on my run - the people with the tags, my grandfather, the families without the tags.  Then something hit me (a thought, not a truck or a moose).  

The "C" word that those black badges represent is not cancer. 

No way.  I have decided that those badges represent courage.  It was everywhere in that building.  Not the big loud courage we often hear about and gets all the press - I am talking about the quiet strong courage present in our everyday lives.  You don't have to go to a cancer center to find it, but it took me going there and reflecting on the run to really understand what Lt. John B. Putnam Jr meant when he said, Courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to face it.

I saw it in the piercing blue stare of the young girl wearing a scarf on her head. 

Courage.

In the elderly lady leading 10 relatives down the corridor, head held high.

Courage.

In the couple holding hands sitting across from us, the husband holding back his tears; his wife saying quietly, "I am going to be OK.  I am going to fight."

Courage. 

In my 90 year old grandfather, shaking off the news and staring it down, ready to fight.

Courage.

Thinking about this really fired up my run, and inspired me to work even harder to be my best.  This same thing is going to fuel my 2011.  Thinking of their courage is going to get me through the dark hours on the bike, past the lonely long runs, the rough open water swims that are all sure to come and be part of my training.  It doesn't take courage to do the easy stuff.  It is when things get hard that you have to remind yourself  how lucky you are just to be out there, and push on.

45 comments:

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Great post Mandy, so often we take our training and daily lives for granted.

Julie said...

WOW! I really needed this today...and like RIGHT NOW as I read it.
You posted this for you, for all of us, but for me today, I'm sure of it.

Janet Edwards said...

Ahhh, I respect the courage of your post! Hugs to you and gramps!

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

Well said! hugs to you Mandy.

Christi said...

Okay, I have tears in my eyes right now! You are so right. And I am going to use this post to en"courage" me when I am having tough times on my workouts!

I am sending prayers to you and your family during this difficult time!

Kat said...

Simply awesome. Thank you.

Shannon (IronTexasMommy) said...

Amazing post. My thoughts are with you and your grandpa.

Colleen said...

Great post Mandy...

Hugs to you and your grandpa!

Amanda@runninghood said...

Powerful post! Thank you. It has been way too long since I've been to your blog. I'm so behind but this was worth it as most your posts are. :)

Jennifer said...

Wow, great post, thank you. I just had a friend pass away from melanoma... he demonstrated a very quiet, strong courage that impacted everyone he knew. My thoughts are with your grandfather!

AM-GoalsfortheWeek said...

hi;-) i love this post. teary eyed over here.

thank you...;-)

good energy to you and your grandpa!

Detroit Runner said...

A hard run is nothing compared to what people with Cancer have to endure! That's an endurance race and hope keep really puts up the fight. I'll put your family in my prayer's. Everyday I run past a church, I do a little prayer so your on it for my next run!

Jason said...

This was great and I have tears flowing down my face. You know the story of my father and this hits home and will help fuel my 2011 as well.

Thank You is all I can say. Thank You.

TreeMapper said...

Mandy, you made me cry too. Thanks for sharing.

Julie @ Hotlegs Runner said...

love this post! Just what I needed to read today. =)

Aimee said...

I loved this post! It brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Andree said...

Man, the "Big C"-very rampant in my family and most recently, took my aunt this past summer. You hit the nail on the head with "courage"-strongest people in the world. Your family is in my prayers

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

Great post. I am surprised they put a "C" on the tag. Kind of cold of them in my book. I think I would pick another way to designate. You might tell them I said so..

Tell grandpa we are all thinking of him in Florida

Kiersten said...

What a beautiful post. The kind of courage you wrote about is an even more amazing kind than that shown by people who choose dangerous professions or hobbies. The people you wrote about don't have a choice. They are put into this situation, and they choose to fight. Their courage is amazing. Your grandfather is lucky to have you.

*~* *~* Tracy said...

Great post. Praying for your grandpa.

tribirdie said...

Thank you for writing this! You are absolutely correct! So glad it wasn't a moose or a truck! Hugs to you and your Grampa; keep on fighting the good fight! and yeah, I'm crying too.

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Wonderful post Mandy!

Chris said...

What a great post Mandy. Elderly parents and grandparents....and the dreaded "C" word have to be two of the toughest things to face in life.

Anne-Marie said...

Great post. Love Putnam's quote about courage.

Sending out thoughts and prayers to you and your grandpa!

DRog said...

Very moving and couragous post.

Incredible Courage your Grandfather has

thoughts and prayers for you and your family

Derek

Ironman By Thirty said...

Great post! One of your best yet!

Thoughts and prayers coming your way for you and and your family.

Your grandfather sounds like an amazing guy and you are lucky to have him as a role model.

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

Beautiful post. Perfect timing - had a friend get a double masectomy this morning. :-( Many prayers for your grandfather.

Mark said...

Beautiful. Well said. My father lost his battle last summer with cancer, but through it all, he was as courageous as a lion.

Lake_Moxie_Mom said...

What an incredibly moving post Mandy! Thank You! It truly takes courage to take on a battle with Cancer and having been through battles with my Aunt and my Grandfather and losing both of them, they truly demonstrated Courage. My Aunt survived 8 boughts of cancer before the 9th one finally took her away from us and my grandfather gave it a gallant fight for 11 months before lung cancer took him from us. Those of us left behind demonstrate courage to keep up the good fight and that is why I do the runs for Cancer Research b/c they mean the world to me and my family.

I really needed this post today, it has been a difficult week and day and this really uplifted my heavy heart.

Kelly said...

Beautiful post. Isn't it interesting the places we find inspiration? THank you!

Laura said...

Cancer SUCKS, Courage ROCKS! Give your gpa a big hug from all of us and tell him we are fighting for him too!!! Fun AND Courage... the theme for 2011!!!

Molly said...

wow, I love the twist on what C stands for. My mother in law is currently in the clear for breast cancer. Sending good thoughts to you and your Grandpa!

Jon said...

Virtual hug coming your way, Mandy! Great post and will remember the big C(ourage) in hard times.

Andrew Opala said...

Awesome post Mandy - you are a hero too! The goal of life is the same for all of us, but the way we face it is only our own personal choice.

Velma said...

Sending good vibes your ways. Take care during this tough time.

Sue Sitki said...

Exactly...

Hugs

sisterbison said...

Thank you for this post. The courage, grace and humor that so many cancer patients have is the reason I choose to become an Oncologist. Thank you for reminding me how privileged I am to work with such amazing people!

She said I need a goal said...

This is one of the best posts I have ever read. I'm so sorry you and your family have to go through this but your outlook is inspiring and so is your grandpa. Thank you for reminding me about this. You are simply amazing.

Glenn Jones said...

I'm all choked up. This post really puts things in perspective....

Jill said...

This is an incredible post, Mandy!!! How true it is!

Tee said...

Powerful and inspiring. Sending positive thoughts for your grandfather. Thank you for sharing!

Shannon said...

lovely post. sending thoughts to your grandfather and family!

GC said...

a beautiful post! I experienced similar scenarios when our 7yr old nephew & mother-in-law were battling leukemia. It is in honor of their brave fights that inspired my husband & I to do our first triathlon. That was almost 3 years ago. To this day, they in my thoughts during every training and race. much love and courage to you and your family.

The Green Girl said...

::hugs::

Regina said...

I like the way you think! There is a lesson in this post for all of us. Your grandfather and you are damn lucky to have one another. I'm keeping him in my prayers. Stay strong.