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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Like Losing a Sister

Yes, I did a race.

And , yes, typically my race report runs pretty quickly after I cross the Finish.

I'll write about Silverlake later, when I feel like it, but right now I have much weighing on my heart. And while I can't seem to talk about it without crying, it seems that writing it/typing it I'm okay... and it's even cathartic in a strange way.

Long story short, one of my best friends Elysha (I also call her *E* in my blog) passed away tragically and completely unexpectedly on Sunday afternoon in an accident with an ATV while doing some work on her Dad's property in Austin. After our camping trip a couple weekend's ago, she headed to Austin to take care of him because after being admitted to the hospital for illness.

Elysha's Dad lives on Lake Travis and his property backs up to Cunningham Cove. Anyway, Elysha got too close to the edge of cove's cliff with the ATV and dropped 22ft to her death. Her dear husband tried to save her along with two boaters who were nearby. It must have been beyond horrible, nightmarish. for Doug who so adored his wife.

I'm sorry, but what the FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!?!

Why her? Why now? Why that Way? I mean really, why?!?

I know that everyone who faces loss asks the same questions. It's never the right time to lose someone you love.  When we lose ones we love we always question our faith and I know that's wrong on so many levels, but I can't seem to reconcile that it was okay for her to go in that way or to go now.

I wish I could just scream from the highest mountain top and have the whole world hear me and have the pain leave my heart. I don't even have the words to express how I feel.  It's like the last 36 hours have been a big nightmare.

I'm so angry and sad -- and I know it is completely selfish.

So I am trying instead to celebrate her life and not mourn too long because she would be utterly disappointed in me if I carried this sadness with me too long before snapping out of it.  I know you have to go through the pain, but I'm hopeful that once the sorrow lifts, I will be at peace with her loss... well, in as much peace as one can have. 

That's Elysha on the Left.  We were at Danskin 2009, celebrating our finish!  Elysha was always more happy and proud of me for my achievements than I was for myself!


It's just such a tragic way for her to go and she didn't deserve it, but that said, it is completely fitting she went while caring for Dad's needs -- she was always caring for others. She was an amazing person. Elysha worked at TX Childrens' Hospital as a nurse in their Pediatric ICU. One of her co-workers who contacted me told me she was the "glue of the unit" and that they wound up canceling surgeries on Monday and had to bring in grief counselors for the staff. As I sit and read her Facebook page, I'm in awe of how many others connected with her warmth, caring and strength.  There are just pages upon pagers of heart-warming messages. 

At the moonlight ride for HPD.

Elysha and I had much in common. We faced many adversities growing up and many of the same challenges with previous marriages. We made similar decisions in our lives and moved forward through life almost parallel in approach. Our similarities were uncanny, from our first failed marriages, to our WLS, to how long we each dated our Husbands. We also shared the love of having fun doing triathlons.

It was actually her Husband Doug who had found my blog and told Elysha to write me. Elysha fought him at first, for fear she would think she was a stalker of sorts. But really... she was close in age, lived in the same city as me (less than 5 miles from me) also had WLS and wanted to get into doing triathlons. From the moment we met we were connected. It wasn't long before we learned just how deep our bonds went... including a love for purses. :) Which incidentally, I also share with my other BFF -- perhaps it's a pre-requisite.  Hmmmm. 

Heather, Elysha, Me and Katie
(this was Elysha's first triathlon, Lonestar 2009!)

The funny thing is, and I said it over and over in my blog, how I longed to find someone local who enjoyed doing triathlons and training. I mean, I had people in my club, but they were all faster than me -- that makes it difficult to train with others. Elysha and I were about the same. In short, I felt like I wished long enough, put it out there to the universe, and my call was answered in Elysha.

Elysha's cousin, me, Elysha, Austin (her Son) and Linda
(Gettin' Gangstah at the MS150 in 2009 (or the MS75)

Last Summer was amazing. Elysha and I both pushed our limits and did 12 sprint triathlons between Austin and Houston and did the MS150. We had a great time doing each event. I can't believe I'm not going to race with her ever again. Crud!  I just realized I lost the chance to "persuade" her to do the full marathon with me in 2011. Dang it!!  I think I could have got her to do it. Eventually.  After much wearing down, anyway.   :)

Over the last couple months we kept crossing paths.  We volunteered at couple races, but didn't get to spend much time together and at Lonestar, the day of the race, we were never able to connect.  So many people there, I found her stuff, but never found her!  I'm so grateful we had the chance to go camping a couple weekends ago!

Elysha's last event (with me) was Lonestar's sprint and a volunteer for the 70.3 this year. For the sprint she donned a tutu for the event! It's so her!! When I asked her why, she told me "...to remind every one to have fun and not take all of this stuff so seriously!" She may have crossed the line toward the end of race, but I can guarantee she had the most fun and never took one moment for granted.


So it is in that spirit I share this with you all, and ask you to remember that life is short and you only have the present; nothing more is ever guaranteed.

Have fun, live well, laugh often and love much.

Nickleback was one of Elysha's favorite bands.  I remember the morning of the Sweet and Twisted triathlon she was looking for a song of theirs on the radio. She wouldn't leave the van until she heard it.  Damn it if she didn't finally find it.  These are the lyrics to "If Today Was Your Last Day", by Nickleback and I think they are a good expression how Elysha lived life fully, with her "Why wait?  Do it now!" attitude.

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had, if today was your last day?
What if, what if, if today was your last day?

Against the grain should be a way of life
What's worth the price is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you're never living twice
Don't take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Could you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?
And would you call those friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories?
Would you forgive your enemies?
And would you find that one you're dreaming of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you'd finally fall in love if today was your last day?
If today was your last day

Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it's never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
To do whatever it takes
'Cause you can't rewind a moment in this life
Let nothing stand in your way
'Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?
And would you call those friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories?
Would you forgive your enemies?
And would you find that one you're dreaming of
Swear up and down to God above
That you'd finally fall in love if today was your last day?

12 comments:

trifitmom said...

i am so sorry for your loss.

@hristine said...

Donna, I am so very sorry.

triathlontrainingblog said...

I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend. My thoughts are with you and her family.

331 Miles said...

Sorry for this tragic loss. Life is too short.

sharla said...

OH, I'M SO SORRY!
E sounds like an amazing girl!

Cyclin' Missy said...

I'm so sorry, Donna. My thoughts and prayers are with you and E's family.

silken said...

Donna, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I saw that gal in the pink tutu at Lonestar….I know you will all miss her dearly. I am glad you were able to form that friendship with her for a while. Thoughts and prayers go with you….

tena said...

Oh, Donna. I'm so sorry you lost your friend. Your tribute to her made me cry. My thoughts are with her family and you.

Laurie (GastricGirl.com) said...

Donna, I am so incredibly sorry to hear about your loss... That is terrible news!
Life is definitely too short! :(

Buttsy said...

Oh Donna, I am so sorry for your loss with your friend, what an amazing girl and reading your Nickleback song, I am the one sitting here with eyes full of tears.....Life does go on though and I like to think that I reserve a piece of my heart for those I have lost and it is always there for them.......but your own life goes on.......talk to you soon...Judith x

Doug Halsch said...

Donna,

Elysha is up there looking down and smiling,,You posted such sweet words.

I am going to miss her forever, She was the best wife a guy could have, Thanks for sharing freindship with her

Doug

Lindsay said...

So sorry for your loss.

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