The day after Christmas and I am on the elliptical…
One step. Another step.
The timer counting down.
The lights showing my progress. One step. One more.
And I’m not thinking of painting.
I’m not thinking of poetry.
Or of the calories being counted…
It is a strange mix of numbers… math… inspired by counters of steps and calories… and a countdown timer.
And 30 minutes… Step. Step. Step.
The machine creaks under my weight and clicks with each rotation. And the house is quiet.
Across the room, in front of your ashes, is the RunThird patch… with your life dates: Ethan Foster 9/14/1992- 3/18/2013.
And I calculate. 20 years, 5 months and 4 days.
365 time 20 is easy.
5 months from September to March? That is harder 181 days…
5 days for leap year… that’s five Presidential elections and five summer Olympics.
Plus 4 days
Ethan, you were born on September 14, 1992.
You died on March 18, 2013.
That is a length of 7490 days. Your life, counted by sunrises and sunset… by rotations on the planet.
That is the math.
And had I known when I first held you some 20 years ago, that those were the only days I got with you…
Just a moment… and no more.
Would I have done a single thing differently? Would I have hunted down the wasted moments, and missed hugs?
It seems so short. Too short.
And so is life… 20 years or 100… counted in days.
And there should have been thousands and thousands of days more… It was less than half my life… and I have thousands of more days to go… at least I think I do.
Was there some way to change the dark outcome of those final sets of days… something to turn your path?
Do I waste today or tomorrow or any fraction of any day… in worry or regret? In blame or guilt? In suffering…
Or do I count today as one gift. And one more.
So I get off and start typing.
Grief by the numbers.
My morning work out.