Part 6: Loss

This was a tough one to write. It's extremely personal, but it gets to the core of what I'm trying to do.

Today was some of the most fun I've ever had on a bike. Now in Colorado, I found a trail that weaves along the side of Crested Butte Mountain, through a forest of aspens. There was thunder, lightning, rain, hail, mud, and snow, and I was loving every second of it. The bike felt dialed, I was riding fast and loose, and it could not have felt better. Perfection at 9,000 feet. This was exactly what I'd hoped for.

Then the rain let up, I realized how tired I was, and I stopped.

And then the grief hit, and in an instant, I was a complete wreck.

I wanted was to tell my mom what a great time I was having. I don't know if she'd have cared about biking, but she'd have been happy that I was happy.

Then I wondered when was the last time she felt as good as I did in that moment. The joy I felt at being alone in the woods, full of adrenaline and endorphins. By the time I was 15, she had lost the ability to walk. I don't know if I'd ever, in my whole life, seen her feel the way I did.

Then I wondered if there were sides of her that I'd never gotten to know. I'm at my best when I'm active. My mom used to run cross country, and when we were very young (before her symptoms were too severe) we hiked and camped a little bit. But by the time I was playing sports, her participation was limited to transportation and scorekeeping. Both of which I was grateful for, but we never got to run, play catch, or kick a ball together.

I spent the second half of the ride trying to hold the tears in, and trying to figure out how to write about what was going through my head.

All of this is about loss. The joys of life that she lost, the parts of family that my sisters, my dad, and I lost, and the parts of her that some of us maybe never got to know.

That's why this cause is important to me. Because we lost so much of her, and because so much of so many other people is being lost as well.

If you read this, thanks for staying with it. If you feel so inclined, this would be the post I'd most like you to share. Now please enjoy some photos of beautiful Crested Butte, Colorado.