Guest post from Dianne Crocker:
I’ve known (and felt) the power of running for some time—that we get out of it what we put in. But until very recently, I didn’t realize that running’s power goes well beyond that.
In June 2013, my very dear friend lost her husband at 46 to a heart attack on the NYC commuter train. He left for work one day and never came back. It was crushing. For the first time in my life, I experienced grief in a physical way for her and for the 3-year old he left behind. My friend found running as she heals, and we’ve done a few 5k’s together with her wearing his golf hat. Six months after that tragedy, I learned about Meg Menzies. Although I didn’t know her, I felt that same pain deep in my gut. It was another crippling reminder of how fragile life can be.
For me, motherhood was never a foregone conclusion as it is for other women. Yet after five fun years of marriage, I got the best surprise gift that I never even knew I wanted in the form of my son, now 7. Four years later, I was twice blessed when I got pregnant with my daughter (3). So news of this young mother’s loss hit me like a ton of bricks, the way it did thousands of other mothers across the U.S. who just cannot fathom a scenario where they were no longer here for their children.
Since then, the impact that this incredible #megsmiles group has had on me is not trivial. It’s not an overstatement to say it defines my existence. I visit Meg’s world at #megsmiles every day (often multiple times). Yes, I’ve made running a more regular part of my life, but as I tell my friends/family, it goes WAY past that. I am consumed with squeezing the most from every day. I didn’t really take my children for granted before, but my hugs, kisses and “I love you's now are longer and more meaningful now. I give much more thought to the kind of life I lead, the impact I’m having, whether I can do more (yes), and how I might be remembered if today were my last.
So this Advent, there are a lot of little things that are new for me. I’m more likely to give the kids a dollar to put in the Salvation Army bucket at the store. I’m more likely to go to church more (more than never, that is). I’m more likely to grab angels off the tree at church to buy gifts for needy children. I’m more likely to give unexpected gifts to a few people who made my year more special. I’m trying to be less like Sally and more like Linus this Christmas. There’s a “we’re in this great journey together” mentality that pervades #megsmiles. And a deep kindness among runners who have never met (many of whom post-Richmond now feel like close friends).
#megsmiles has taught me to be more grateful to be alive. It has taught me to push outside of my comfort zone. To not waste energy letting petty grievances gnaw at me. To look for ways to show compassion and make a difference in someone’s life. #megsmiles is also where I go to process a world that can take unimaginable turns. Meg’s loss was this runner’s gain, and that both aches and feels incredible. I am committed to doing my first half in Richmond as much as I am committed to bringing the compassion of Advent into my life every other month of the year.
Love to all of you!
Guest post from Anna Dwinger:
When I heard about Meg Menzie's accidental death, January 13, 2014, I was currently on leg rest due to a stress fracture that I got while training for my first full marathon. A friend of Meg's sent out a note to all the Mom's Run This Town groups across the country and asked if we would run on Jan 18th in her memory and to hash tag photos with #MegsMiles. I was ready to go for my first run on my leg since the Dr. put me on rest, so I thought it would be a wonderful and meaningful way to spend that run. So I agreed to dedicate my miles that day to Meg and her family.
Interesting thing happened that day as I ran those 13.5 pain free miles. I spent time in prayer and in worship. It ended up opening my eyes to the fact that my running was a time I could dedicate to God. I could meditate on worship songs, I could pray for other people, and running could become something more than just me. I was running a marathon to raise money for Melanoma research, in memory of my brother Paul and his wife Ruth... which was meaningful in and of itself. But to turn running into a time to be with God was even more significant. Maybe Meg was there giving me a nudge in that direction.
Later I read a couple articles where her husband Scott was interviewed, and he mentioned that the most important thing Meg would want others to know is that she was a Christian and to share her faith with them. I share the same heart, to share my faith with others and to show them Christ. I immediately felt a stronger connection with Meg. Although I never even knew her personally she and I share so many similarities. A Mom, a loving wife, a runner, a Christian... and that type of accident could happen to anyone of us during a morning run on a quiet road. Her story helps me to remember safety every time I lace up my shoes and head out the door.
And the Facebook group that grew out of this tragedy, called The Meg's Miles Supporters, is a place of inspiration and support. A place where seasoned runners cheer on new runners and welcome them into the running community with open arms. And we all cheer each other on for each mile completed. each on our own journey, but woven together in unity because of one woman. It's an amazing group of people, out of which I have made several friends. And I love being a part of it.
I never knew Meg, but she has touched my life, and the life of so many others. I am blessed to help keep her memory alive with every mile. And I'm honored to carry the torch for Christ in her place, as best I can.
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.