mom and dad

My parents at my Dad’s surprise 80th birthday

I’m an orphan. At least that’s how I think of myself on my weepy days. Yes pathetic. I lost both my parents before age 40. Tough shit. Some people lose theirs at birth. Or worse, get to know them and love them and depend on them only to lose them as children. I’m blessed. I know that. But it still hurts sometimes to not have parents. My wounds are still raw from losing my mom on December 21st of 2011. My dad went two years before that. Both died of cancer. Both shitty deals.  I got through Thanksgiving this year.  You didn’t hear much from me during that time.  I had my head down, focusing on survival.  I’ve become a pro at navigating conversations away from, “How are you doing, Wendy?” I answer quickly enough to satiate the person while not letting them dig any deeper into my outter crust which protects a bucket of tears and raw emotion.  No one wants to see that.  Trust me.  So with one of the big holidays behind me, I’ve got one more to get through.  And it’s starting to get more difficult.  “How do you deal with the pain of losing someone so close to you?” is a question I get all the time.  I don’t know the answer.  But I know what I do.  I train.  It keeps my mind off the pain. And after today I realized how important training is to me. My last triathlon was back in June. I have nothing in the pipe so my long therapy runs have lessened to nil. And today I broke. The tears started as soon as I left the house. I ended up driving around town pulling up to red lights back far enough the driver next to me couldn’t see the tears. I didn’t want them to wonder, “What’s wrong with that poor woman?” Because the reason I’m crying doesn’t seem legit. There are so many other people out there with real reasons to cry. I feel like a kid who didn’t get ENOUGH Christmas presents because I didn’t get enough time with my parents. So what do you do? How do you get over these periods of sadness so they don’t grab hold and become full fledged depression?? For me, I’m signing up for another race. I’m giving myself something to look forward to instead of longing for what was in the past. This is how I grieve. I hope it works. Because at the end of the day this is my new reality. Nothing is bringing my parents back.  And even with the sadness I’m still so blessed.  I have two amazing kids and a great husband to live for. They are my true north. They are why I’m getting back on the bike.  Why I’m putting on my Asics once again.  My kids need me just like I needed my mom when I was 9.  And even though we all still need a mom at any age, sometimes, heaven simply needs her more.  And so we fill those shoes left by them… at least we try.

So, now that I’m a total wreck again…. what’s your favorite race? Please comment on this story with a race you suggest.  Any length is fine.  The longer the better.  Cheers.


  1. Cathy says:

    My niece lost both of her parents within 4 months of each other to the day. Her dad died from cancer and her mom, my sister, died due to complications from her type 1 diabetes. My niece was 19 years old at the time. She went to Damonte Ranch HIgh School. Now residing in New Mexico she is engaged to be married and is pregnant with her first child. She went through a time where all she wanted was to be with me because I was the closest relative to her mother that she felt comfortable enough to come to when she didn’t feel like being alone. We did a lot of things together and then one day she felt she could fly solo and has been ever since. As difficult as it is to lose a loved one, she knows that life goes on especially with a new baby coming. The first anniversary of her parents death was the hardest and she misses them every day but she is a survivor and though they will never get to see their first grandchild, a little bit of both of them will carry on in her baby girl. I sense that your blog has proven to be pretty cathartic for you and I am sure it has taken a lot of courage to share your life with all of us. It could be someone close to you or perhaps even someone you’ve never met before that just happened to read your blog that can relate to your loss and the emotional rollercoaster it sends you on and possibly be just the person who can help you the most. It could happen.

  2. Carmen says:

    Hi Wendy – Guess what? It is OKAY to cry and to grieve for as long as it takes. You belittle your own process when you compare it to others who you feel might have lost someone in less fair circumstances. It’s shitty to lose someone you love no matter who it is or when so please, cry, and feel your pain. Feeling it and letting it get ugly is what gets you closer to healing and acceptance.I know that you try to remember be to be grateful, but it’s okay to stop and realize for a moment that you’ve suffered too. I lost my grandfather and almost my mind over it and people would say, “oh, it was just your grandfather.” And I’d think, “He was just my life,” (emphasis on just) I had no control over my emotions and after nine years I’m just now figuring it out. It takes time. I think you’re doing great. I had a friend who did this race she LOVED it, I think it might be right up your alley! http://www.aidslifecycle.org/

  3. Cathy says:


    One more thing…I know the pic is of your mom and dad but you definitely have your mom’s smile. I hope every time you see your reflection in the mirror you will smile and see your mom smiling back at you.

  4. mckeen says:

    I see you. It is good to remember you are human and need to release to get peace. I am giving you a big remote European hug and nudge to get that sports bra on again! Dad used to say that there is always someone worse off, particularly children who have never had a family or homelife. For me helping them in a small way by providing food, shelter and education helps me reconcile this fragile and borrowed life beyond cherishing the loving moments with my boys and husband.

    • Wendy D says:

      Emma, love you! back at ya with that hug across the pond. And get your sports bra on too! We have Chilean mountains to climb in our future!

  5. Greta says:

    Hi Wendy! I know you know you have a lot to be grateful for and a wonderful family at home, but that doesn’t make your loss(es) any less sad or less real. It’s okay to cry and grieve. Do it now so you don’t have to do it forever. You have to let yourself feel. All you can hope for over time is that you hold on to all the memories vividly and you cry a little less and less. Hang in there!
    I wanted to share one of my favorite races with you (well, probably my #1 favorite). It’s called the Across the Bay 12K and you run from Sausalito (Fort Baker) to San Francisco (Aquatic Park). The event is held in March and it’s typically a beautiful day. It’s been known to rain, but NOTHING like I saw at CIM this weeked! lol. The views from the Golden Gate Bridge are breathtaking and the smell of the eucalyptus trees is invigorating. Check it out– http://www.rhodyco.com


  1. [...] We run because it’s our therapy.  We run because that’s how we deal with pain.  I lost my parents back to back.  He lost his wife and son back to back.  Both of us turned to training to continue living life.  [...]

Speak Your Mind