Monday, September 14, 2009

Running in remembrance

Happy Monday! This is my last week of work with my current employer. Only 5 days left. Not that I'm counting the days... or hours... or minutes. What can I say, I am ready for my new adventure. Oh, and my future employer sponsored a children's book fair at a park close to my house on Saturday. Cool, huh? I hope to volunteer at the event next fall!

On Saturday morning I did a 5k which has become an annual event for me. It's the Twin Cities "Breath of Hope" run. I started doing it last year. Holy batman, can I just say how much more in shape I am this year compared to last year??? What a difference a year makes! At the finish line last year, I was breathing so hard, people probably thought I had some sort of lung disease!! Here's a picture of my shirt from this year. And no, I did not drool during the race - I must have spilled some water on my shirt when I got done running the race. It's in too random of a place to be a sweat mark!

This is a pretty low key race. It's not even technically a 5k - I used my Garmin this year and it was actually only 2.8 miles. I wasn't approaching it as a 'race' - I was approaching it as a way to honor the memory of my Grandma. She died after a valiant fight with Lung Cancer when I was in 5th grade. I was so young when she died, but still have alot of wonderful memories of her. She was really one of those 'larger than life' types. She was so full of life and had such a wonderful, unique laugh. I can still hear it in my mind.

Some of my memories of my Grandma are:
  • She was a super talented cook. Holidays at her house were fabulous. She rarely sat down to eat, though. She was always making sure everyone else had everything they needed. I can remember my mom, aunts, and uncles all telling her to sit down and eat, but she never really seemed to stop moving!

  • She loved to fish. And boy was she intense about fishing. Oddly enough, I don't remember her catching many fish! My Grandpa wasn't as into fishing, but went along anyways. He basically wanted to sit there and enjoy himself, but he was always the one getting bites. When that happened, he'd shake his road to get rid of the fish - sometimes my Grandma would catch him doing that & boy did she not like that!!

  • She was an amazing cake decorator. She made amazing cakes for us Grandkids. My favorite cake is either the Rainbow Brite one she made for my 5th Birthday or this Jack-in-the-box cake that she made when I was maybe 3 or 4? I need to find pics to scan in to show you guys. She was amazing! She also decorated wedding cakes. I remember going to their house and there would be sugar flowers that she had just made laying out on the table. I was so impressed with her abilities!

  • She loved to play cards.

It's been a little over 17 years since she passed (I believe, hopefully I got the year right), but the McDougall side keeps her memory alive. My aunt started putting her recipes online so all of us kids and grandkids can re-create the tasty meals and treats she prepared. My mom seems to have alot of Grandma Valeria traits, too, so I feel like I know my Grandma by knowing my mom.

I hope to continue to do this 5k every September to honor her memory. I would like to get a bit more organized next year and see if some of my McDougall relatives in the area will do the walk with me next year. I meant to do that this year, but this race snuck up on me.

I'm going to leave you with some interesting facts about Lung Cancer that I found on the Breath of Hope foundation website:

  • Over 60% of new cases are never smokers or former smokers, many of whom quit decades ago.

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 12 women diagnosed with Lung Cancer have never smoked!

  • Approximately 175,000 people are diagnosed with Lung Cancer in the US each year.

  • Approximately 160,000 people die from Lung Cancer annually - more than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined!!

Are your grandparents still alive? If so, are you close to them? If they have passed, do you have vivid memories of their lives?


Becky said...

What a great reason to do this race! Between my husband and me we only have one grandparent left (my mom's dad). I have such a good memories from all my grandparents - it made me laugh when I read this post because my (maternal) grandma also cooked and cooked and cooked (never sitting), and she was a bona fided card shark! :)

aimee said...

that's an awesome reason to do that race! i'm sure it was very special for you. one of my uncles just got diagnosed with lung cancer and it's far too advanced to do surgery. he just started chemo but it probably won't do much other than prolong his life for a few extra months. maybe i'll have to find a race like this in milwaukee next year!

my grandparents have all passed away..which was something i had a hard time grasping. i have great memories of them, and i'm so glad i had a relationship with them. it's very sad for me that they won't (physically) be at my wedding or be around when i have children.

have a great last week!

Anais said...

That is so sweet :) And such a great way to honor your grandmother's memory! My grandma made the most amazing pies :)

Anonymous said...

That's definitely a great way to spend part of your weekend.

I have one Gram left, that's it (my mom's mom). Her husband, who we called Poppy, passed away in 1998 the same year my dad's mother passed away and my great-grandmother. It was NOT a good year to say the least.

Memories of Poppy include:
* He used to call me half-pint, even when I was 5 ft 7 inches tall
* He had a bowl of rolos next to his reading chair at their house and stole a few a day, even though my Gram worried about him eating them
* He wore Old Spice everyday
* He liked to tell random, bizarre stories that never really made sense but fascinated me nonetheless

It's been 11 years since he passed but missing him never goes away.

I don't remember my dad's mom quite as much as she couldn't travel or have visitors for the last few years of her life. =(

Marlys said...

I am touched reading your blog today and am fighting tears! She fought the cancer as valiantly as one can expect, but the chemo would have taken her life before the cancer. She really was the everready bunny - never sitting still and if she did sit, eg. to play cards, she never really seemed to relax! She made everything she did a bundle of energy! Thanks for comparing me to her but I will never be able to cook like she did, nor bake cakes like that, although I would dealy love to have the time to try! It was 19 years ago on Oct. 1st that she was diagnosed with cancer and died in May of 1992, so you were right about the 17 years. May her soul rest in peace!

Marlys said...

Correction - 18 years ago on Oct. 1st! Sorry about that!

Abby said...

Great post! That would be a really neat tradition to start yearly with the McDougalls--and when we move back some day, we will join in remembrance of such a great woman!

I unfortunately have very few memories of G & G McDougall, since they passed when I was so young. But I feel like I know her through stories...and through knowing our own Mom! I agree with you that our Mom has many of the trait of Grandma McDougall--especially her hard work, her ability to keep a perfectly clean home, and her magic in the kitchen!

Mama Nastase said...

What a very touching post! And such a meaningful way to remember your grandma. She sounds like such an amazing woman...I would have liked to have met her!

My beautiful grandma Gertie died 12 years ago. To remember her, on her birthday and anniversaries, I purchase two bouquets of flowers & give one to random women in her honor.

Amber said...

What an awesome reason to do this race!! I want to find an annual race to do, that is so great!

I'm SOO SOO SOO close with my grandma on my mom's side of the family, I don't even like to think about her ever passing away :S Luckily, I've only lost great-grandparents and my grandparents are all still alive. My great-grandma on my mom's side is actually alive and doing quite well, she's 86 and I'm hoping she'll live until I have children and then we will have five generations!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

What a GREAT post and an amazing reason to participate in this race!
I have one grandparent left, my moms mom. My dad's parents passed away when I was just in elementary scool, my other grandpa passed when I was a senior in high school and just recently my great granmother (my mothers grandmother) passed away at 98. Sometimes it weird to think I only have one grandparent left. Luckily, she lives really close to us and we're all a pretty tight-knit family! :)

qwerkyqook said...

Count me in for the race next year!! I'd love to run with you if I can. I actually think Marlys looks a lot like grandma. When I was in 1st grade I think, grandma and grandpa came to visit. It was grape season, and grandma was planning on picking grapes and making jelly. I of course had to go to school. Somehow, I ended up with a "horrible" stomach ache and just HAD to have grandma pick me up from school. I napped with grandpa and then helped grandma pick grapes. She was on to me, but I got away with it :)