Swimming with a Spirit

Last November when I first started swimming instead of, you know, running, the Celt sent a workout: 45 minutes easy straight swim. Actually, I am pretty sure I had talked him into that instead of a rest day, but then when I got to the parking lot of the YMCA I texted him again and said basically, I couldn’t possibly swim for 45 minutes without a break because that was so boring it would cause my brain to melt and run out of my ears and then they would have to close the pool. Yes, I am possibly the most annoying athlete ever. At least I own that. Anyway, he sent something more entertaining to do with changing strokes or counting by 100s or who knows what and I did it and life went on. I did a lot more swimming and biking and rowing and probably a little growing up as well.

These days I might modify a swim workout, but only if Snarky Girl and Coach DSS are along and we want to do something different than a straight swim. Otherwise, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve gone to the YMCA, often alone, to swim a mile, straight, no fussing with stroke changes, etc., and guess what? So far my brain has not melted into the pool. Good news.

Last Sunday I needed to sneak in my 45 minute easy straight swim before heading to the Run for the Refugees so I was at the YMCA bright and early and in the water about five minutes after they opened. Back and forth, back and forth. Swimming is becoming meditation-like for me. I suspect I am getting better at it, but I am not sure that I care. Ok, I care a little. But I am swimming calmer now than I was in November and that makes it much more enjoyable. Practice has brought me a kind of swim-peace that I was not expecting.

During my swim-peace on Sunday, I received a visit. I get to know a lot of runners virtually through the Sub 30 Club, my online running group. Everyone has a story, but Glitter Mom’s story is both rougher and more beautiful than most. She lost her son David to cancer six years ago when he was only ten years old. She went through a pretty dark period and did not take care of herself. That’s putting it mildly, but it is her story, not mine. She discovered the Sub 30 Club at the Runner’s World Festival in October 2015 when she wasn’t a runner, but some folks in the group inspired her and she became one. She ran her first half marathon at RWF 2016, cheered on by her huge Sub 30 fan club, and she will run her second half marathon next month. It is not going too far to say that running helped save her life.

It might be expected that the next part of this story is that I ran into Glitter Mom in the pool, but I didn’t. Instead, I received a visit from David. I realize that sounds very woo woo, spirits, etc. and yet, I know what I know. When he was dying, David asked his mom how they would find each other and she promised to sprinkle glitter wherever she went. Glitter has become their symbol and Glitter Mom uses it to spread her special sparkle wherever she goes. She promised him to embrace life, and she does.

On Sunday, during my swim-peace, I suddenly felt the pool fill up with glitter. Of course it didn’t really fill with glitter, and yet I could see it. Then the air also began to sparkle. Never so thick that I couldn’t breathe, but definitely shimmering. I knew right away who it was. I had been thinking of Glitter Mom while I swam because she has also recently started swimming. Today is the sixth anniversary of David’s death. I believe he comes close to the earth near this time, perhaps because his mother needs him now. I pray I will never know the unimaginable sorrow of losing a child. But I am blessed to know Glitter Mom and she helps me remember to embrace life.

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