June 30th, 2015. I quickly went out for my run.
It's funny how come dates stick out for emotional reasons. What once was a bad day in life of my family, has become cause for celebration.
20 years ago I was 18, lots of life stretched out in front of me. Fifteen days before my brother Andy, aka Drew's, wedding.
Now a word about Drew-We have pretty much always been good friends, rarely fighting (well put us in a car long enough, and there were bruises). Our last years in high school we were in sports, plays, band, spending time in similar activities. I actually struggled with him leaving for the Marines more than I ever thought I would. He is an upbeat guy, really what's not to love.
Anyway, on June 30, 1995 we get a call from the Marines, saying that he has been in an accident. Long story short, Drew, as a result, had to have his leg amputated. Now don't get me wrong, at the time it seemed like a big deal, a big f'ing deal. It was 15 days before his wedding, he was 20 years old, he was in San Diego, we were in Wisconsin. We all ran in high school, he was my big strong older brother.
The next few days were a whirlwind, miraculously my brother Doug, who was in Africa, called out of the blue, so he was able to be notified right away. There was the business of canceling wedding plans, his fiance getting out there as quickly as possible. My parents had some loose ends to tie up and didn't go immediately, so they sent me.
Here's what happened when I got to the hospital. A lot of self talk on my part that there was no way I was going to cry when I saw him, no way.
I walked into his room, he sits upright, looks at me and says, "Amy are you alright, you had to travel across the country all by yourself, are you ok?"
Shit. Tears. Here Drew just lost his leg, and instead of sitting in a bed of pity he was more concerned that I was ok, traveling alone to see him. I knew right then and there he was going to be just fine.
Fast forward a year later, June again, different day, I found my friend John was in a fatal car accident. It was then that I realized how lucky Drew had been. Lucky that he lost his leg. Only his leg, not his life, not his spirit, not the things that made him the awesome brother that he was.
Today marks the point in his life where it has been 20 years. 20 years he had two legs, and now 20 years he has had one.
There are days when I might want to sleep in and skip my run. Not to say it never happens, but I am driven by something bigger than me. I'm not one to remember how many races I've done, or my time at each one, I might have a few PR's memorized, but this running thing isn't just about me. I know I have mentioned it before, but I run because I know others cannot, I run because I want to feel, I run because my spirit isn't always upbeat-and I know I am better mentally because I run. I run because I was given the ability to do so, and I do not ever want to take that for granted.
After my run this morning, I sent Drew a text...Happy Birthday!
I ask you...today is your day, what are you doing to celebrate this day you are given?!