In a couple weeks our training team will run the first and last mile of our training run in silence. During this time we are supposed to contemplate on the purpose of our running - that being to find a cure for blood cancers. We will be encouraged to think of our honored teammate (or cancer victim) that we are running in honor of and of the pain of his life and his family.
All I will do is think of my Dad and when he was dying. I think I will carry his picture with me that day. Most people don't get it. They can't imagine losing their Dad in a matter of weeks at the age of 49. No warning. They don't know what someone's body looks like when it can no longer process fluids or circulate blood. They don't know what it is like to look your dying father in the eyes and try to calm him down. How do you calm him down? They don't know what it is like to put someone you love into a morphine induced coma. They don't know what it is like to sleep in a hospital waiting room with strangers, knowing that you are all just waiting for someone to die. They don't know what it is like to watch a dying man first pray for his family and then ask for water he can't drink. They don't know what its like to see a loved one's body cold and pale in a coffin.
But those who do know what it is like are a great support to each other. And we can't help but appreciate the intent of the Silent Mile. Those who don't know what it is like are taking time to try and know, try and feel, try and understand. And I guess that is all we who do know can ask for. Besides, we wouldn't wish this cancer crap on anyone else's family anyway. It's better that they not know and try to know, instead of "really" know. This isn't an experience I'd wish on any family.