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Memorial Day Without Your Loved One

Holidays can be painful when you’ve lost a loved one. Of all the holidays, Memorial Day was the easiest holiday for me to experience after my husband died. Every year since 1998, I’ve participated in the Bolder Boulder 10K (6.2 miles) event. Every year it’s been a mini-vacation—attending the Boulder Creek Festival on Sunday, spending the night at a hotel or rental house, running or walking in the race on Memorial Day, and watching the after-race tribute in the CU stadium surrounded by 50,000+ people. My husband hated crowds, so he only participated once. Therefore, I had a holiday ritual that didn’t involve him.

The first Memorial Day after he died, I still went to Boulder and still ran in the event (finishing in 1:01:38). As I sat in the stadium watching the tribute and festivities, I sobbed. The race organizers had the exact same festivities—the trumpeters playing Taps, a 21-gun salute, sky divers carrying each military branch’s flag into the stadium, and a flyover—but my world had changed. This year, my husband wouldn’t be home checking my race results online. He wouldn’t congratulate me on my time when I walked through the door. So, I sat in the stadium crying as thousands of people celebrated around me. Still, I had something to do that day.

This year, due to COVID-19, the Bolder Boulder was postponed. For the first time since 1998, I’ve had no plans for this weekend. This morning, my nephew, my mom, and I took part in the Bolder Boulder’s virtual 10K, staying six feet apart. We wore race bibs.

On the path, we saw four runners also with BB bibs. I saw two more while driving home. It was fun to feel a sense of community knowing we were all doing the “race.”

Of course, Memorial Day is to honor those who’ve served. I’d also like to honor the families, especially the spouses, who’ve lost loved ones who’ve served. And for all of you missing your loved ones on this holiday—whether due to the military or otherwise—I send you big hugs and lots of love. I know holidays are hard.

#griefsupport #griefbooks #grief #widow #virtuALL10K

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