To make matters worse, I contracted COVID. I feel blessed to have had recovered, but with my recovery also came the daily, ruthless reminder of what I had survived, and what so many others hadn’t.
In the bleak days of World War II, Winton Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Emboldened, I recently got my first of two COVID vaccinations. I consider it the first step in regaining what I’ve lost, of moving forward. I took my daughter skiing over Christmas, and we climbed the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs; a mile-long hike with 2,700 steps and a 2,000-foot gain. Gasping for air, my daughter called me a masochist, asking me why we would do this. I told her, “Because we can.” What I didn’t say was, because so many cannot.
Several years ago, I ran a trail marathon that I almost didn’t finish. Exhausted, my appearance was no different than a stumbling drunk, barely putting one foot in front of the other. I finished by the sheer tenacity of my friend Sue and a fellow runner who showed compassion by talking me through the last five miles.
Later, ecstatic that we’d finished, we headed for Mexican food as we jammed to music and shoved chips in our mouths. I drove several miles down the road before I noticed that in my fatigue, I’d left open the car hatch and our belongings were falling out the back.