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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Kowal

A simple date

Sometimes, a simple date, a simple combination of numbers, can mean so much. To most of our generation, it is 9/11. To me, it's 9/3/2016. Just another day on the calendar for most people, yet powerful enough to bring a grown man to his knees.

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me how I felt about today coming up. I answered that it is what it is. I can't stop the day from coming and you learn to just accept it. At the same time, I think it helps in healing in many ways. With emotional pain, you have to just sit with it sometimes. Allow it to overwhelm you almost like a large, crashing wave.

It always brings me back to that day four years ago. A day that had started so well, on a long weekend. Having just come back from vacation. Excited about the afternoon and the fair we were going to. Looking forward to our gym's beach day that was going to happen on that Monday for Labor Day. And how by the end of that day, everything had changed. My whole life.

It has been a long four years with a lot of soul searching, a lot of ups and downs and forced growth. One of my ways of dealing with pain is physical exercise. It has been both healing and cathartic. It also helps numb the pain. I've made it my mission to do something every year that scares the sh*t out of me; use it as a way to raise funds for Liam's foundation and raise awareness for our fight against drunk driving. Last year, it was running the Grand Canyon, rim to rim to rim on September 7th. This year, it was going to be to attempt to run the Machu Picchu twice (52 miles). Due to COVID-19, it wasn't possible to do it this year and I wasn't sure what I was going to do still. So when my friend Micah told me two weeks ago he was hosting a virtual marathon for his non-profit Heroes and Horses on September 6th, I decided to do that. Micah's non-profit helps veterans deal with PTSD. Micah, a special ops vet himself, is very familiar with PTSD, as am I, unfortunately. A few friends are joining me to run for Team Liam's Life: Jose, who lost his father in a tragic accident, Christos Giagos, who has just come off neck surgery and hasn't run more than 5 miles since the surgery, and Shane Fazen. We will probably not break any records but that's also not why we run. We run for change and we run for healing.

So although the day continues to be, and always will be difficult, we will continue to see it through. This year, next year and the years to come and although it will always hurt and always be difficult, we continue to live and we do so at peace.

So for you, or anyone you know who is coping with grief and/or PTSD, know that there are ways to find your way back.

I miss you every day Lilla Bebisen.

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