Walking or Running for Meg: A Community Mourns!

crop 400x200Throughout the years we grandparents accumulate a rich repertoire of life experience: highest  joys and deepest sorrows; gains and losses.  We learn to deal with harsh realities in life that make us stronger, more resilient, and wiser.  But we never get used to tragic events that touch our core: FAMILY – families of our children and grandchildren. Such events force us to stop, reflect, and deal with emotions that overwhelm us.

A shock wave traveled fast through our small community in Virginia:  “Meg Cross Menzies was tragically killed by a drunk driver while out for her morning run on January 13, 2014. Meg was an avid runner, member of the Richmond Road Runners Club, and Boston marathoner, she was a member of the running family nationwide.” She was a mother of three young beautiful children.

I did not know Meg, nor did most of the nearly 92,000 who shared on a Facebook page ‘Meg’s Miles‘, hashtag #megsmiles, initiated by Brooke Roney. And yet, we all know her. Look at her family picture! A family you and I know! Your family, my family, your friend’s family! A family we all aspire to belong to.

Meg was also a member of our local YMCA. As planned, today began another 10-week training program for the upcoming yearly 10K race, an event for everyone: young and old; walkers, joggers, runners. This morning, as we gathered, our hearts were open and raw. Meg’s presence had entered.  She was very near. We pinned memory signs and stickers  to our jackets. We warmed our running or walking shoes to honor Meg and her family. We shared open and silent tears.

Judy, a grandmother, and I met in the walking group.  Runners and joggers passed us.  But we hardly noticed. We got deeply immersed in sharing our thoughts about such intense community out-pour and dealing with the tragedy of Meg.

“Well,” Judy said, “when I saw all these running shoes people pinned on the street pole where she got killed, I felt shame and joined you all this morning. Look at me, I am so overweight, have not exercised but I know better. My shoes don’t fit. I can hardly walk this mile. And here she was out running at 8 in the morning. I had to do something and here I am!”

Meg left gifts of reflection for everyone, grandmothers included, that hopefully lead to renewed commitments, however private.  Meg could be the mother of our grandchildren. Let us ask:

  • Am I the grandmother I intend to be: a role model of being active and commit to regular exercise the grandchildren could remember and emulate later in life?
  • Am I supporting the parents in teaching my grandchildren good health habits?
  • Have I partnered with parents, teachers and community outreach to instill in our grandchildren the danger of substance abuse, of texting while driving?
  • When did I create last the most enjoyable and memorable activity with my grandchildren that included laughs and giggles until it hurt our stomachs?
  • When did I last make an effort to reach out to the parents of my grandchildren when the relationship is rocky or strained? cropped Resize 360x260

Today, January 18, 2014, only five days after her tragic death, thousands of walkers, runners, joggers joined Meg’s intimate and larger community that drew international circles, spearheaded by Brooke Roney. He set the spirit: ” . . . run for Meg. Take in the fresh air, be aware of your surroundings, keep your headphones on low, feel the heaviness in your lungs, the soreness in your legs, and be grateful for it–for all of it. The sweat, the pain, the wind, the cold…everything. Be grateful for that moment.”

Thank you, Meg, for your gift and smile from above!


About Ute Goldkuhle

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