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What Hurts. I Don’t Know. Pick a Number.


I guess I could start with a simple list about hard things and what hurts… like a numbered and bulleted list, so that way, I could be very clear.

Mostly clear.  But times like this, I think the list would be long and selfish and I would be judged (not that I give a damn anymore, but I guess I sort of do… at the same time).

So because I can’t move to Key West and drinking a Hemingway like Hemingway, I’ll simply start with #1.

Number One.

I hurt.  Just me.  I. I hurt.  Even sitting upright right now hurts.  Not physical pain. But the kind of pain where I don’t know how I am out of the bed, doing homework with my kids or functioning as a human being. That kind of dark, crazy shit.

And that’s hard to write about.   But it’s even harder to live through, so I might as well write about it.

Because in truth of Number One, I know other truths as well:

Pain isn’t forever. Time does heal. And all of those things that people say that might or might not be actually true.

A lot is spinning around me, but I think most of all, I can’t believe how much I really, really miss her.  I mean, I knew I would. But knowing she’s gone–and no longer in the universe–like poof–gone. It’s almost unbearable. I didn’t know it would feel like this. I have a new sadness and broken heart for those suffering loss.  I guess I had to join the ranks to truly understand, to truly develop that layer of character. Well, gaining character sucks. But I understand. <3

And a sweet little boy at the elementary school has an aggressive form of cancer. Freaking cancer. At age 7.  I can’t handle it.  What if that was my baby? What if…

Oh, and my leg hurts too. So there is a physical element of the pain, too, which I guess solidifies that I’m actually alive.

And that sort of sucks a few small bars in C minor. Not a whole symphony, like the rest of it.

Number Two

And because I hurt like this right now, really, I am no longer afraid to eliminate the things that are adding to my pain–things and people that are hurting me.


Number Three

The fighting battles in my head are so loud.

The “go get on the bike trainer” and “no, just eat the damn pizza” are so loud that I think I should just go sit on the bike trainer WITH the pizza and call everyone a winner.

Number Four

The crossroads.  That’s the issue.  Am I here or there?  Is is the other shoe dropping?  Is it the Best Day Ever?  Or Worst Pain Imaginable?

What is next?  How do we know?  What should I do next? Where should I go?

Right now, I seem angry and jaded and dark.  But that’s what hurts.  What, exactly?

Oh. Well, everything.  Everything hurts right now.  

I don’t know what will fix it.  I am feeling that way.  And I wanted to be clear.

And I’m sorry if that’s not cool.  keep-calm-and-i-ll-write-something-nice-next-time


  • Cara

    February 24, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    This morning, I was trying to work, I honestly was, but I was sitting at my desk and everything hurt. So I went and laid down, thinking that going to sleep would stop the hurt. But when I laid down, I just kept thinking about how everything hurts. So I thought, I can either lay here and think about everything hurting, or do something about it. It’s funny, because I actually thought about getting a frozen pizza out and eating the entire thing – because that will make me feel better, right? No. Not really. So, I went and filled the bathtub with hot water and Epsom salts, set my computer to “do not disturb” and got in for a nice long soak. And you know what? I got out, took a shower, got dressed, put on some makeup – and voila, I felt like I was at least alive and I could tolerate the hurt for a bit. Emotional pain becomes physical pain. Physical pain becomes emotional pain. The only thing you can do is grab on to some hope and pray that it holds you up.

  • Stephanie

    February 24, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Life is hard. It can be dark. We participated in the new year new hope because we lost our friend in December to suicide . Worst day of my life that has lasted for months. It’s scary dealing with death. Especially when the person chooses it on their own. I felt “dark” for a long time. I am just coming out of the darkness. But have a long way to go. Hang in there! Look around you at the beauty in life, your kids, family and friends. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder about his last moments. The darkness he must have felt to hang himself. 2 kids and a wife and family ….not to mention a neighborhood of close friends who love him. Loosing someone sucks. I’m sorry for your loss. ?

  • Calan

    February 24, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    But what if next time you still don’t feel like writing about something nice? That’s ok, too. Feeling the way you are is ok. It’s human. It’s normal. You have been through so much this past year, but you have also overcome so much this past year. You have learned. You have grown (and shrunk ?). You will come out the other side of this even better than before, albeit missing a piece of your heart, but you will endure all things.

  • Karen Hall

    February 24, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    I lost my Mammaw a couple of years ago and it was/is so so so hard. She was the one that really knew me. Hell, she WAS me. It doesn’t go away and I still miss her very single day. But it does soften and change and, if you let it, it changes to love. And she’s here with me and my kids and my world. I realize that doesn’t make much sense but I have no other ‘clear’ way to put it. Maybe your heart can decipher it. xoxo

  • Judith

    February 24, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    When I was days away from my first half ironman, I was FREAKING out. In all caps. And I googled all sorts of things about surviving your first 70.3, and got all sorts of useless advice. Then, pretty much in tears and convinced I was going to DNF, I googled “half ironman and freaking out”, and I found your blog. And you told me you felt exactly like that and you made it because you weren’t going to let the feelings win. You made me believe I was not crazy and I could do it. And then last year, when a broken arm put me out of commission for months, I was a triathelete through your blog. You made me feel like I belonged. You gave me the “it’s ok to be a glowstick, sometimes you have to break before you can shine” meme that became my motto through a painful fracture and gruesome PT.
    I wish I could write the words you need to hear right now, but I can’t. All I can tell you is that you, your honesty and your blog have meant the world to me.
    It’s OK to be a glowstick. You will shine again.

  • Greg

    February 24, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve been reading some of your posts on FB, and once in a while I will click on an article here … one there. I read this today. Clicked on the link in here.

    I just wanted to say I’m sorry things are hurting – #’s 1 and 3.

    And #2 is good I think.

    And #4 … just takes some time to figure out … and that’s ok. There is no cool … or not cool. Just … healing.

  • M @readeatwriterun

    February 24, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Seriously, Mere….Not many things are more okay or cooler or more authentic than having the guts to speak your truth. I’m so sorry you’re in such pain. I’m glad you’re able to use it to remove things or people from your life that are hurting you. That will be an outcome of this difficult time that you can be so proud of.

    Even in the darkness, your light shines, because you share yourself with such honesty. Grit and grace to go with the guts.

    Just keep breathing. That’s all that’s required, moment to moment. Eventually, you will again be able to #keepmovingforward one tiny step at a time – maybe even with some back or side steps, but that’s okay too. We’re here for you. Wish I could give you a hug and sit in silence with you.

  • Karen Okupniak

    February 24, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    I’m always taken aback by how physical grief is. How overpoweringly present in every moment of every day. It’s hard to believe while we’re being smothered by it that it can get better, but it does. Not in our time and way too slowly, but it does. Hugs and love and peace and healing light until your through it.

  • Lesley

    February 24, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Always love your blog but do not always have time to read through it. This one caught my eye, and as I scrolled down, I know why.

    I have done many tris and races, but I have left the Ironman to my brother (although it crosses my mind occasionally).

    Now, I am that mother with the child with cancer. Two days after competing in my first triathlon in three years, my 10 year old son was diagnosed.

    It sucks.

    But, even in the midst of it all, we still have joy, laughter and a so many good, good things to be grateful for. Hang in there.

    : )

  • Christina

    February 25, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Time helps. But it never goes away. *See my post from today.*

    Losing the people we love sucks, and there is always some element of that suckage hanging around, reminding us that we had someone so great, and now we don’t.

    I’m feeling it with you today x

  • Robin

    February 25, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    My mom – my best friend – passed in a really awful way two years ago. It has changed everything. I think of it as another color in my landscape now, in my color palette; like a grey. It doesn’t diminish the bright colors, the happiness. It doesn’t mean my joy is less joyful. It doesn’t even mean I laugh less or feel less happy, in the long run. But there’s a different color in the landscape, and it’s always there. I try to think that it makes the landscape richer, the contrast brings out the other colors more. And I think that Mom would not want to be just grey in my palette, so I think of all the bright colors that are her, that are there too. It’s an adjustment, getting used to your new landscape. But you will. This year on the literal second anniversary of her passing, I happened across this poem and it spoke to me. Maybe it will for you as well.

    “Death is nothing at all.
    I have only slipped away to the next room.
    I am I and you are you.
    Whatever we were to each other,
    That, we still are.

    Call me by my old familiar name.
    Speak to me in the easy way
    which you always used.
    Put no difference into your tone.
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

    Laugh as we always laughed
    at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
    Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
    Let my name be ever the household word
    that it always was.
    Let it be spoken without effect.
    Without the trace of a shadow on it.

    Life means all that it ever meant.
    It is the same that it ever was.
    There is absolute unbroken continuity.
    Why should I be out of mind
    because I am out of sight?

    I am but waiting for you.
    For an interval.
    Somewhere. Very near.
    Just around the corner.

    All is well.

    Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

    Henry Scott Holland

  • Erin

    February 25, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I have read so many of your posts on here and have found them to be so helpful and this one is no different.
    Thank you for being so honest and laying it all out there. Im so very sorry that you are hurting, I am also hurting and its good to not feel alone in the hurt. I think that so many people are only willing to share their highlight real (The Happy Stuff) The human experience while full of Highs is also scattered with lows, its hard to talk about those. This post caught my eye today and I wanted to thank you for being there for all the people that you don’t even know you are there for. Thinking of you, Thankful for your honesty!!

  • Heather

    March 4, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you for this. And of course all the rest. But this. So eloquently true and honest in the pain. A hand to hold. Thank you.


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