Sunday, December 23, 2012

About 26.4.26 Final Public Thoughts

"Final Public Thoughts" because from here on out, I need to quietly and privately reflect on the events of yesterday, the week behind it and December 14, 2012 and how they affected me, my family, those around me and our county.

All across the country everyone has been paying tribute and memorial to this horrible day in history.  We, in Nashville were no different.  You can read my account on how this came about by clicking here.

As predicted, the running and triathlon community (and I would venture to guess that a few non-runners were present as well), responded in a manner and fashion worthy of high praise.  Total tally was 1012 runners, running over 10,000 miles and over $30,000 in donations collected.  This does not take into account the on-line donations.  Final count to be announced soon.

The angel assigned to me, or the one that I randomly picked, I can't remember how it happened, was Dawn Hochsprung, 47.  She was the school principal.  I promptly put her in a pocket designed for the iPod shuffle my running hat has.  Today I would carry my angel here, not my iPod.

My wife and both our daughters had joined the run.  They were there early in the morning for we had a job to do.  After we all had our angel assignments  we proceeded  to inflate 27 balloons with helium   Yes, we chose to inflate one for the "mom" as well.  This was my daughter's idea.  We all agreed. 

These balloons were to be released right before the run started.

I took all 27 balloons with me and weaved through the crowd handing one each to random runners.  It seemed like everyone wanted a balloon, but when I explained that we only had 27, everyone understood.

These are two video clips that were made from yesterday.  They captured the spirit of the event, so I will not go into detail because I'm afraid I can't do any better than this.

I've become aware of a couple of occurrences that took place before the run  that have left me wondering and scratching my head a bit.

1).  As we lined up ready for the start, the balloons were scattered throughout the crowd.  As they were released, it appeared that the wing gathered them all together as the floated up to the heavens.  I thought I had imagined this, but several folks mentioned the same thing to me.

2).  My brother lives in Florida, outside Tampa.  He had been following the events that led to this run.  Being a runner and a new triathlete he wanted to help.  He signed up and committed to running 26 miles.  His longest run ever.

Since he couldn't be here, he decided to make his own angel.  This is what he did...

And because he couldn't be here, I picked up an angel for him, and this is it...

He did not know I had him an angel, I did not know he made his own. When I told him and we realized the coincidence, we didn't know what to say.

3). This morning as I was going through facebook, I read a reply to a post.  It appears that my friend Shari's angel was Benjamin.  Again, and angel picked or assigned randomly.  Shari was one of the first people to get a balloon. I picked one from the bunch.  Shari's balloon was Benjamin's.

Additionally, upon discussing this new found information, my wife Monica told me that the same thing happened to her.  Both angel and balloon were one and the same... Chase!

4).  My sister noticed:  "Funny you would get the principal's name since you're very much a teacher/mentor to so many..."

I don't know what this all means, perhaps you could make some sense of it.  I am not a believer of coincidences per se; I believe that there's a greater power in control.  To me, this was obvious yesterday.

As I try to decompress and move forward, I'm taking with me the fact that I now have my very own guarding angel.  From here on out, every race I run, every event I participate in, I will carry the brave Principal's memory with me and I know that just as she had her student's back that December morning, she will have mine.

For Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel, Olivia, Josephine, Dylan, Dawn, Madeliene, Catherine, Chase, Nancy, Jesse, Ana, James, Grace, Anne, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Benjamin and Allison...I will never forget and May You Rest In Peace!