this is it. The day I leave for Haiti. I’ve been thinking about and preparing for this day for a year.
this morning I’m sitting here having coffee and reflecting back on this past year of my life. I remember I watched the video from last year’s run on a friend’s facebook page and I asked her to tell me who she knew that was running. I (annoyingly) stalked Paige until she came home from Haiti to hear all about what she was doing. I remember sitting at the university starbucks with her a few days after she got home and I listened to her stories and felt the passion in her voice. I remember thinking that this run, and the work Team Tassy was doing, was exactly what I was meant to do, and I was going to do it.
i remember going into work that day after watching every previous Team Tassy video on YouTube 50 times and told everyone that I was going to do this run next year. I remember my manager saying, ” yup, this sounds like something you would do.” affirmation. Thank you to my work family for all of the tight hugs where my nose is squished into my skull, and for letting me walk around without shoes to let my feet rest. And for all of the tears you’ve all shared with me.
i remember telling my parents that I was going to run across Haiti. The first thing my dad asked was if I was ever going to give my body a break. He came onboard eventually and now it’s all we can talk about. I remember my mom feeling the same way, but she has shared every post, photo and link I’ve ever posted about Team Tassy and I couldn’t have asked for better support from them. While they are still parents, and still hesitant, one of the things I love about them is that they have always supported my big ideas, dreams and goals, no matter how far fetched, unreachable or impossible they may seem. They have molded me into the person I am now, and for that I am forever grateful. affirmation.
i remember telling my sister that I was going to run across Haiti. I don’t think she skipped a beat when she thought it was a good idea. I’ve always been the wild younger sister, unable to stay in one place for very long. She has been a solid cheerleader for me. From coming to SpinCo classes, to scrambling to find a last minute treadmill for my runAthon, to the text messages and photos-she always thinks that I’m the one who inspires her- but I’ll always be the little sister looking up to her big sister in all that she does. affirmation.
i remember showing my nursing family the videos from last year’s run and how this was the next challenge I wanted to take on. The overwhelming support they’ve given me as I qualified for Boston- bringing life sized cut outs of my face on poster board for cheer signs, I knew I’d get the same support from them this time around, but I was wrong- they’ve given me more. Every class, every practicum, every day they asked how I was feeling and if there was anything I needed. I was told they would protest and sign a petition to let me go to Haiti if I couldn’t get the time off school. Luckily that wasn’t necessary. affirmation.
i remember going to Haiti this past summer with Mike and meeting the Team Tassy families and staff. I don’t know how to put my experience there into words, other than- affirmation.
i remember telling Quinn about this adventure sitting in Cactus Club one day last summer. He’s always been the kind of guy to jump in with two feet and says yes, then figures out how to do it later. He’s the first to lend a hand when it’s needed, and all of the runners will be lucky to have him on the support crew.
i remember- and will continue to remember- all of the messages, donations, and support I’ve been given from my friends, family, and people I’ve never met. I will never be able to say thank you in a way that makes you all feel the gratitude that I feel right now.
i remember telling Brody about running across Haiti while we were playing tennis on our first date. What I didn’t expect was for him to come along with me. But more than that, I didn’t expect him to be there during every success and failure I had, every long run that I breezed through and every long run that I fought through. I didn’t expect him to be there when I had my injury and I didn’t expect him to make sure I was looked after by every physiotherapist in Kelowna. I didn’t expect him to make sure I had enough food to eat, and I didn’t expect him to make sure I had restful sleeps. I didn’t expect him to wipe the tears from my face with every obstacle that came my way, and I didn’t expect him to know exactly what to say when I didn’t know how to ask for help. I didn’t expect him to listen on the phone to me ramble on about my days every week he went away for work, and I didn’t expect him to ask to hear more. I didn’t expect him to give full body weight hugs, and I didn’t expect unexpected forehead kisses. I didn’t expect him to carry me to bed while I fell asleep on the couch after a long training day, and I didn’t expect him to share all of the early nights with me when I had to wake up early to run. I didn’t expect him to come to the track and run laps with me, and I didn’t expect him to run as far and as long as he did. I didn’t expect him to run to the grocery store the minute I felt sick and I didn’t expect him to bring home bags of groceries and medication to get me healthy again. I didn’t expect him to give the best advice, and I didn’t expect him to be involved in my training as much as he has been.
i didn’t expect all of these things from him. But most of all, I didn’t expect him to come into my life and change it in the way that he did. I can’t imagine doing any of this without him. I’m going to search for his face on the streets of Haiti, the face that makes me feel like I’m home.
as i prepare to leave today, I’m looking at my two bags sitting next to the door and looking at the antibiotics and vitamin C sitting on the coffee table. The reality is- I’m sick. I’ve been pushing through laryngitis and then a bacterial infection in my lungs for the last two weeks. My cough gets to the point where I can’t breathe and I almost throw up. I’ve asked God, the universe, and any other higher power at least 100 times– why? Why now? Why 2 weeks before I leave to run across Haiti? I’ve been told that the universe only tests the strongest people and that it’s testing me to see how bad I’m willing to fight for it. While that may be true, it’s terrified me beyond belief. What I have learned, however, is that passion and a true, untouchable love for something comes from deeper within me. Deeper than I thought was possible. It’s a belief in myself that travels farther than I’ve ever gone on two feet. It travels farther than my round trip flight to Haiti. It’s a belief in myself that I still haven’t fully uncovered, and I don’t think I will until I’m at my breaking point during my run across Haiti. Nothing can stop me from trying. Nothing can stop me from getting up every day that I’m there and putting my two feet on the ground. Nothing can stop me from putting one foot in front of the other until there is no road left. Nothing can stop me from fighting for these families. Nothing ever will.