Feed on

Grief’s Dichotomy

May 2013

by George Galdiano

I don’t know who won the 1968 Olympic Marathon, but I remember who came in last, and he is one of my heroes.

It was a scorching summer day in Mexico City when about 12 miles into the 26 mile race, John Stephen Ahwari of Tanzania tripped over runners jostling for position. He took a horrific fall, and as his shoulder and leg smashed into the unforgiving payment, his knee was dislocated. After medics wrapped his bloodied leg, everyone was dumbfounded when he stood up and started limping toward the finish line 14 miles away.

Three hours, 25 minutes, and 27 second after he started, John hobbled across the finish line, his bloody red and white bandage flapping in the wind like a flag. As he collapsed, waiting medical personnel whisked him to the hospital.

The winner had already been crowned, the crowd had already dispersed, and when an interviewer later asked him why he didn’t just quit, he answered, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

Experiencing the death of a child is the hardest blow life can deal a parent. Often times, we feel like giving up and accept just existing instead of living. But we aren’t on this earth to just exist; we are here to live life to the fullest. I may hobble, I may fall, other may be more successful, but with each faltering step I take, I know that the voice cheering the loudest for me is that of my daughter. And when I do finally finish the race, she’ll be there waiting for me.

In all these things, we are more than conquerors . . . -Romans 8:37

Leave a Reply