Wednesday, April 17, 2013

One Runner Who Died

Lawrence Academy Cross Country Team 1972
(Tom is 3rd from the right)
I was never a runner, though my brother was - my brother who died in 1979 of a brain tumor, just 22 years old. My brother who never made it out of the 1970s but who ran with grace and grit and elegance and urgency. Some of those who ran with him on those cross country teams at Lawrence Academy in 1973, 1974, and 1975 remain close friends today.

When someone you love dies young and you outlive them by decades, from time to time you pause to consider all the things that came after their brief sojourn here. The good and the bad. Tom never watched Larry Bird play basketball, never read a book by David Foster Wallace, never got to see the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, never saw the Berlin Wall come down. He also never witnessed the September 11 attacks, never anguished over our country's war crimes in Iraq, never fretted and seethed over the Reagan and Bush presidencies.

Tom (center) running cross country
Lawrence Academy, 1974

And he never felt the anguish and anger that we've just experienced at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. 

For me, there is always a part of him that lives on, that runs with great determined strides, his long black hair flying back, sinewy arms pumping. He would have cried with the rest of us this week. And he probably would have started training for next year's Boston Marathon. He wouldn't abide despair. And neither, I think, will Boston itself. 

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