Whatever you think about the monarchy in England is yours to think.
However you feel about the death of Queen Elizabeth II is yours to feel.
Did I get up at 0500 to watch the funeral proceedings from my couch in the US?
Whatever you think, however you feel, the fact remains that this is a tremendous loss for England. And it will be a moment for them to get their footing again.
And today, my Facebook memories reminded me that twelve years ago on September 18, 2010, I had an ending for myself. A denouement, a finality to my Air Force years. The following is what I wrote then, about endings.
And today marked the ending of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.
I found the parallels unique. What has been said about this race and her reign, are similar. Her reign is over, her race is done.
‘This weekend finally caps my short lived Air Force career. Never mind that sixteen years has passed and my ROTC scholarship will finally be repaid by December. There was always something missing. There had been no closure. One moment I was in nursing school on the Air Force’s dime and the next I was lying crumpled on some stairs, my shoulder’s inner workings in tatters and my scholarship lost. I got back to nursing school, finally, three years later and graduated to work as an operating room nurse two years after that.
But something was wrong. I’d intended to be a career officer and that was taken from me. In May 2001, shortly before I graduated, there was a career fair at the college and I asked the Air Force recruiter about reentry, and whether the debt that was hanging over me, nearly twenty thousand dollars, could be dismissed if I rejoined. I received an irrevocable no on that but I was still invited to join the party. I did not.
So, there it has been looming all these years, all that untapped potential in my life, not to mention all that money they wanted back. When I heard that there was an Air Force Marathon I knew that I had to run the half. This was before I started planning my marathon debut, scheduled for this December. I would run the half for the me that never was, for the chance to run it on my terms and for the medal that will be hanging on my wall.
When I was in the Air Force the mile and a half we ran every semester was the millstone around my neck. So what if I could do a seventy two inch standing long jump, 20 pushups, seventy sit ups and a relatively fast six hundred meter? The run scared me witless every time I had to run it.
When I returned to running two and a half years ago it was with that same trepidation but also with a resolve. The run would not get the best of me. Since then I have run seven 5Ks, one 8K, one 12K, one 15K and a single half marathon. Also an adventure race and two triathlons. I’m not the fastest, not by a long shot, but I’m not the slowest. I do, which is what it important. I don’t give up, which is more important.
I didn’t realize the mythology of this race to me until I was running down the chute toward the finish line. At the far end there were Air Force personnel handing out medals, actually placing them over people’s heads. I almost cried when the medal was put in place, there were tears standing in my eyes. The female officer embraced me by the shoulders and told me I was done, that the race had ended.
I was surprised by the wave of emotion. It had been such a difficult race for me. Unfamiliar territory, the unrelenting sun, the GU mishap that made me ill, the hard concrete of the roads that pounded my calves and feet for all those miles. But I finished it, I was done. And I felt lighter, freer.’