Your path….forward

“We come back to ourselves only better,” shared an interviewee in a Voices of Transitions post from 2012.   Her name was Maria.  She described her transition as an experience that she was ‘in and out of’ over a decade.   In that timeframe she experienced both intentional and unintentional transition.  One occurred when she was pregnant and was unexpectedly limited to bedrest despite a strategic unraveling at her tech start-up employer.   Another at a time when the care needs of her daughter required a full court press. Regardless of the triggers this decade long evolution required her to step out of her comfort zone and onto a new path…

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This week an awesome transition story close to home reminded me of her beautiful quote….’we come back to ourselves, only better.’

My great-aunt, Louise, passed away this week at 93.  Louise was my dad’s aunt.  He was from an enormous family with 63 first cousins.   Louise stood as the matriarch of a huge clan.   She ran the show.  She had three children of her own, two daughters and one son.  In addition to parenting she worked on the finance side in the family insurance business.

Her story wouldn’t be complete if it ended there.

When I was in high school my dad lost his first cousin, Suzanne, Louise’s daughter.  Suzanne was en route to pick up her parents who were visiting her in Arizona.    She was going to drive them to the airport.    By accident she locked her keys in her car.  Two gentlemen offered to help her.  Her body was found days later in the desert, a victim of a brutal crime.

Suzanne’s parents were devastated by this tragedy.   Louise – somehow – summoned the courage to transition, to move forward, despite this tragic trigger.  She’d started running about ten years before Suzanne’s death.   Running became her mantle of outreach to scores of others.  Her way of moving through the tragedy.

She ran competitively.  Raised money.  Egged on other runners.  Embraced the entire running community.

Here’s why I hold her in the highest regard.  She never let this tragedy or indescribable loss become her identity.

A psychologist friend of mine shared with me that when facing transition some people, “go forward, others get stuck where they are, and still others revert to a former, familiar identity.”

Her transition occurred over a decade…but the path was unmistakable.  Louise, at 75, set a record in the Mount Washington Road Race.   At 80 she competed in over 150 races.

She was chosen – recommended by members of the local running community – to carry the Olympic Torch for a segment through Massachusetts on its way to Salt Lake City.

She inspired many through her deeds, her irreverent commitment to others, her ever-present smile.  The Mt Washington Road Race director was quoted in her obituary as saying that Louise,  “was the only person I know who always runs with a smile on her face.”

Louise walked through indescribable tragedy and chose to move forward.   This forward movement let her realize transition’s energy and expansiveness and peace.

My sincere hope is that you will avoid tragic or any negative triggers to your transition.  My only question is which path will you choose?

Godspeed Louise.

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