Oh, lord, that was hard.
My partner and I welcomed in the New Year with what should have been a short and easy 5 mile run. I started coughing before both feet had a chance to hit the ground. By the second mile I was feverish and clutching my back.
I had just finished my post about New Year's Hope, and I was already fighting back tears with each gasp.
My partner checked on me before I waved him on -- I wanted him to be able to finish what I couldn't, and needed a moment to gather in my frustration. A few minutes later I saw him gracefully trotting back, so I cleared my throat and turned back with him.
1.5 miles from our home, as my lungs and IT band were jockeying for position for first body part to give out in 2014, the sky filled with them: Crows. It was difficult to acknowledge the stark contrast of this moment from that evening exactly four years ago: That lonely and hope-filled woman from 2009, and this broken body years on, my fingers pressed into the palm of my beloved. "They're cheering you on, you know," Jeff told me, and he smiled the smile that I wanted to feel, and with that simple gesture I could.
"It was a bad lung day. They're going to happen." Jeff rubbed my chest as I bent over the side of the trail, nodding, clinging to his words, his hand, and a vision of thousands of crows, returned to cheer me on.