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Punishing Myself

This was my view during a 9 mile race. It was March 26. Spring. Yet it was 26 degrees outside, snow and hail pelting me in the face.

At times the run felt cathartic. I was releasing energy and not thinking about my life.

Other times the run felt like a punishment. Like I was punishing my body. Like I wanted to feel pain to make up for all of the pain I couldn't take away from my daughter when she was battling a brain tumor.

I have been giving blood and platelets. I cry every time they do my finger poke or when they put the needle into my arm. Not because it hurts, but because I think about how much it must of hurt my daughter every time they did it to her. About how much it must have scared her every time they warmed her hand to do her finger poke to check her sodium levels. Giving blood seems like a penance. The emotions I feel while doing it seems like the proper punishment for not taking her fear away, for not taking her pain away. Feeling what she felt.

I went for my mammogram and six months later for my breast MRI. I am BRCA1+. I have a 85% chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer and a 45% chance of developing gynecologic cancers in my lifetime. I cried walking into the hospital for that appointment. I cried putting on the gown. I cried waiting to be called back. Not because I was scared, but because I was the one who was supposed to get cancer. Not my daughter. I was the one supposed to go through chemo, lose my hair, and battle. I feel like I am being punished for not getting cancer. My daughter didn't have the BRCA1 gene. I did. It was supposed to be me.

I find ways to punish myself on a daily basis. I know it isn't healthy. I know it is no way to live. I know it doesn't bring her back. It is a silent and secret form of self-harm. No one can see it, no one knows I am doing it, no one can stop me from doing it. I punish myself for not being able to take her pain away, for not being able to protect her, for not saving her.

I will always get up to run that race, no matter what the weather looks like. I will push my body to its breaking point just to feel an ounce of the pain that my daughter felt. Just so it will feel like I am taking a little bit of her pain away and putting it on me, where it should be. She is pain free, but I never will be.

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