Wow, definite productive day that made me feel 100% better!
My morning was pretty relaxed, and I’m starting to get into the regimen of waking up early and going to bed at a decent hour. After getting ready for the day, I went over to my friend Kerri’s house for some marathon training.
She wants me to join this awesome sounding marathon that’s going on at the end of September that raises money for mental illness. The whole marathon is about 10K, and you have the option to run or walk. At this leg of the race, I’m going to have to say I could handle walking, but it’ll be power-walking at it’s finest! Our 5K walk-and-talk took us just a little bit over an hour, which was a bit slower than I would have liked it to be. But, we still have a couple weeks left ahead to get our legs prepped for the speedy walking and awareness.
I’ve decided that not only am I doing the walk for people today who suffer for mental illness, but I’m also going to do this walk for my late Gigi (a word for Grandpa in Polish/Ukrainian). Now, granted I only knew him until he passed away when I was pretty young, but my Gigi was a great, kind and warm-hearted man. His eyes would always shine brightly, and to him, my sister and I were his darling Princesses. We went on trips together, went shopping, and he told us the best stories (not to mention made pancakes in our initials). He taught Lauren and I how to skate, how to catch fish, and how to show how we care about people. I’m pretty sure his gratitude and warm-heart was passed down to his daughter (my Mom) and then on to me.
I found out that my Gigi had died one day after coming home from Kindergarten some time in the fall. I now know that my Gigi had some other sides to him that he never showed to his only two Granddaughters. He was a pretty severe alcoholic before Lauren and I were born. Luckily, he didn’t drink as much once we came into the world, but the fact that my Gigi committed suicide in their shed was never brought up in the family. Baba (my Grandma) always told us when we asked why Gigi couldn’t “wake up” was because he had “accidently hurt himself”. That my Gigi ran into something that day.
Now that I’m older, I’ve grown to accept the fact that my Gigi had some inner demons within him that couldn’t be shaken. And the only way he found was through self sacrifice. But I am also very thankful for the time that I had with him, since my oldest cousin Jordan was just an infant when Gigi died. Tyler, Megan and Aaron were still twinkles in my Aunt’s and Uncle’s eyes. So, whenever they don’t know something about him, we can go and explain it to them.
I loved my Gigi dearly, and I still do to this day, and in late September, I’m going to imagine he’s walking next to me; side by side.