How Mourning Runs Have Helped Me Grieve My Dad’s Death

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By Rachel Tavel, P.T., D.P.T., C.S.C.S.

I loved my dad’s hands. They were soft and always warm, no matter how cold it was outside. As a kid, I would hold his hand every chance I got. On a sunny Tuesday just before Thanksgiving last year, surrounded by my mom, four siblings, and several life-saving machines, I held my dad’s hand as it went cold for the first and last time.

The grief hit immediately with the force of a truck. It was powerful, all-encompassing, and both physically and emotionally excruciating. In that moment, I wondered the same thing so many other people do after a loved one passes: How am I going to deal with this incredible, heartbreaking loss?

Grief is a beast. Even if you see it coming in the distance, it is a giant wave that crashes with unexpected strength. It tosses you around until you accept the loss of control, letting the wave wash over you until it eventually passes. But, despite feeling unbearable at times, I’ve learned that grief is survivable.

I’ve always turned to running when life gets hard. The aftermath of my dad’s passing was no exception…

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