My Dad was 72 when he lost his battle to cancer in November....
72 is the number of laps I walked in memory of dad.......
When Amy and I decided to form our own team for this year’s Relay for Life event we never expected it to be something we would do in ‘memory’ of dad. It was intended to ‘honor’ dad and his second courageous battle with cancer. Last year during Relay he was finishing up Radiation treatment. We watched with hope as the Survivors and Caregivers walked the opening lap. This year's Relay found us marking 5 months without our precious dad and watching. The same opening lap was bittersweet to watch.
The days leading up to the Relay were filled with anxiety. I tried to prepare myself mentally, physically and emotionally. Things were looking promising last year and the tears took over so I couldn’t imagine how we would hold up this year with the grief still so fresh. I decided to set a personal goal and make that my focus for the night. It had to be something meaningful and I quickly decided on 72 – one lap for every year of dad’s life. While sharing that goal with mom I realized that would be 18 miles…yikes! Mistake, scratch that, make it 45 laps. That would be one year for every year of my life that I had my cherished dad in my life. That would be doable. I could manage 45 laps over the course of the night. Second mistake, announcing my goal on FB and having my little sister insist we could meet the original goal of 72 laps. I wondered how long it would take her to figure out the total mileage of that trek.
The night of the Relay came and we were supported by a wonderful team of people including family and friends. I must say that my sister has some of the most amazing people in her life. Perhaps that is because she is so amazing herself. They were creative, friendly, thoughtful and encouraging! I wish I had spent more time getting to know some of them better but I had a mission in mind. The first mile came easy for me—-perhaps because of the sweet lady, EJ, who kept me company on the track—that I decided to keep up the momentum and 10 laps turned into 20. Hey this isn’t too bad, iPod playing and making good time, 30 laps down and soon it was 40…still feeling no pain, sweaty but not winded. I was soon met by a fellow walker—presumably military and toting a backpack—who inquired what lap I was on. He shared his goal of 80 so I blurted out my goal of 72. I was too far in not to give it a shot…and give it a shot I did. The feet and knees began to question my sanity about lap 59 so sister and I decided to take a short rest. Soon we were back out on the track and those last laps were by far the hardest and also the sweetest. I was finishing up with my sister, my best friend, my confidante, my encourager and my inspiration! Counting down the final laps I think we both let a heavy sigh of relief as we rounded the final corner. Dad was surely smiling down on his ‘Daddy’s Girls’ with love and pride.
72 is the number of laps I walked in memory of dad.
I would gladly walk 72 laps every day just to have another day with him…..
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” -Ephesians 6:1-2