A guest post from Courtenay Fisher:
My story is reminiscent of so many others that have been shared here and through posts on megsmiles. I didn't have the privilege of knowing Meg, but her tragic passing dealt me a gut wrenching blow that felt undeservedly personal. I wondered if my reaction stemmed from the basics that Meg and I shared in common; I'm also a mother, a wife, a daughter, a runner… but those similarities alone didn't explain the heartache that persisted or the undeniable ray of light I felt in looking at Meg's pictures and the megsmiles posts.
Like so many others, I laced up and ran for Meg and her family on that first memorial run almost a year ago and continued to log miles for Meg and her family. In doing so, I became that much more grateful for every run, every day of strength and good health, time with my family and friends. I began a practice of stepping outside for my early morning runs and saying "good morning" to Meg and my other angels, and giving thanks for my health, strength and family.
I also took to heart Scott's message that, above all, Meg would want to encourage us to go to church. And so I did that, too. As a kid, I'd gone to church on a somewhat regular basis, but God and faith weren't common topics of family discussion. I struggled with my own stubbornness and independence, and often felt frustrated that on the topic of faith I had more questions than answers. After a life-changing move to Virginia and the even more life-changing births of my kids, some of that frustration and stubbornness began to fade. I was blessed to meet people who were simply good examples of the positivity of real faith. I still had questions, but I began to realize that perhaps we (or I) should not overthink the answers.
This past August my husband and I headed out to the Patrick Henry Half Marathon on a brutally humid morning. Despite the weather, I wondered if a PR was possible - I was in the midst of marathon training and thought I was well-conditioned. As we parked, a random thought popped into my head, almost like a whisper, that "Scott is an Ashland cop" (and my first-born, rule follower, self immediately responded with, "is it ok to say 'cop' instead of 'policeman'?" but anyway ...) I almost nodded to myself, somewhat surprised, then tried again to focus on the race.
We walked toward the start and as we got into a line for the port-a-potties a police officer approached us. He said, "I want to thank you for wearing that shirt. I'm Scott Menzies." I shook his hand with both of mine and barely managed to tell him how glad I was to meet him. As he walked away I broke down in tears while my husband took my hand. And then I had another of those random, whisper-like thoughts … Hebrews 12:1 "let us run with endurance the race set before us". I'm sure that I'd seen that verse before (probably on the back of someone's race shirt), but it's real meaning didn't hit me until that moment.
I didn't get a PR that day - not even close - but I ran with endurance and a grateful heart. After the race I posted my sentiments about meeting Scott in megsmiles and mentioned that I would have liked to say more, to better express my condolences and what the group has meant to me. Once again I was humbled when some of Meg's other family members posted back thoughtful comments telling me that "he knows". It was just another example of the overwhelming grace that Meg's family has shown to so many of us who didn't know Meg, or them, before her passing.
More recently my husband asked me to describe the general, daily posts in megsmiles. He's watched me follow megsmiles for all these many months, seen my countless tears for Meg and her family, seen my smiles of joy for the successes of those in the group and smiled himself as yet another "I run for Meg" shirt arrived in the mail (I couldn't help myself!). But having never read the posts he was curious. Adjectives like "uplifting", "positive", "supportive", and "inspirational" started pouring out of my mouth. Although those words all fit, I felt that my description wasn't doing justice to Meg's spirit and the the spirit of the group. Then I blurted out, "it's almost like a snapshot of how you'd hope people to be." While that may sound naive (improper grammar aside), it seems to be a big part of Meg's legacy and her light.
And so perhaps that's the hook, the glue. We are heartbroken for the family's loss and still Meg's light has pulled us in and lifts us up, showing us how to support her family and one another as best we can until the day they all run together again.
A guest post from Jess Reilly:
So I have been trying to put in to words how Meg Menzies has touched my life. The words have escaped me. I, like many of you, never met her. I learned of her passing on Facebook. I ran for her on the 18th of January. I changed so many things about what I did when I ran. I was more cautious, more aware of cars and people. It was so much bigger than that though… I have 3 young children too. I have been with my husband since we were in our teens, I’m a runner…I felt a connection with her in so many ways. I followed Scott thru Boston. I cried when he finished. Then Richmond Marathon came and I was able to experience it all thru everyone’s post. I wished I could have been there to hug you all and here stories of Meg and her life. I just may get there next year! Somehow, I feel her with me sometimes. I’ve struggled on runs, and I talk to her and she’s gotten me thru. I have looked at my life and want to live it better, to give more, to love more, to have stronger faith. I come to this page daily. I read this Advent posts at the start of every day. I shed tears at each one. It all started with the passing of this amazing woman. I will continue to run Megstrong. I wish her family the Merriest of Christmas’. And you all too, this megsmiles family is like no other!
Has your life been impacted by the death of Meg Menzies. Please share your story.
Since January, thousands of lives have been impacted by the death of Meg Menzies. Many of us have been overwhelmed with sadness. But many of us have also found love and hope and encouragement at a time we needed it most. As we've learned more about who Meg was and accepted the call to share her legacy with the world, the stories of our lives have been forever changed. And we've seen lives around us change.
If your life has been impacted by Meg's death, I invite you to share your story at the link below. It's my hope our stories will bring comfort and maybe an occasional smile to the Menzies and Cross families who greatly miss Meg, especially so over this holiday season.
Submit your story here.