Sunday, January 19, 2014

Running for Meg

Yesterday I ran four miles to honor a woman I never met.

On January 13, Meg Cross Menzies was out for a morning run when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver.  According to her obituary in the Richmond (Virginia) Times Dispatch, she was 34.  She is survived by her husband, her three young children, her parents, and other relatives.

Her friends designated Saturday, January 18th, as Meg’s Miles Day.  (They note that with a careful rearrangement of spacing and punctuation, the day can be known as Meg Smiles Day.)  They asked runners worldwide to run in honor of Meg, to take off their headphones and be conscious of their surroundings, to feel grateful for good health and strong bodies.

In photos on her Facebook page, Meg looks beautiful, healthy, athletic, and happy.  In other photos, her children (whom I would guess to be about eight, seven, and five) pose with Santa.  In October, the whole family went to Disney World.  (I think it's Disney World.  I've never been there.  That's what it looks like.)

It’s an odd thing to be stalking someone I never knew.
As I was running, I couldn’t shake the heavy sadness I felt.  I knew I was supposed to be concentrating on gratitude for my own good fortune and the beauty around me, but I just couldn’t.  (And besides, I try to do that anyway.)  I knew that in order to honor Meg, I would have to write something down.

To anyone who even thinks about driving drunk, or texting while driving, or being otherwise criminally irresponsible, I would say that the harm and horror you might leave in your wake is unimaginable, and really, is that what you want to inflict on this world?  Is that what you want to leave behind?  Isn’t the slimmest possibility that this might actually be your legacy enough to get you to man up, sober up, look up, pay attention?

Also: it is very easy to look at photos of Meg’s beautiful children and feel a crushing sadness, a sense of devastation wrought, of innocence randomly shattered.  But those children will know pure, unadulterated happiness again: not now, and maybe not for a while, but someday.  Yes, they will.

Meg’s parents won’t.  I’m willing to bet they thought the hard part was over: they’d gotten their daughter through driver training and first boyfriends and living-away-from-home homesickness and whatever else befalls young adults when they’re out on their own, learning to navigate in the world.
I’m willing to bet they weren’t banking on this.

So yesterday, I ran four miles for Meg.  I know it didn’t do anything for all those people who are trying so hard to cope with such a grievous and unacceptable loss.  But I did it anyway, because when there's nothing you can do, you still have to do something. 

I send all my sympathy to Meg’s family and friends and pray for their comfort and peace.

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