Life Update - Dublin Marathon, Parents Visit Ireland, Grandma's Funeral
Hi everyone, welcome back to my blog!
I am embarrassed that I left everyone hanging after my last post. I even concluded the marathon sendoff post by saying, “I hope to share a story of success with you early next week!”. Then 25 days passed, and ‘early next week’ is now a distant memory. I thought about skipping a marathon update and posting a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie recipe (made with a real pumpkin, like no can, I roasted the actual fruit) but as I began to prepare that post it felt disingenuous. I’ll save that posts for next year, or just later, because I do enjoy developing recipes, just not today.
So today I plan to pick up where I left off, starting with Marathon Sunday, then my parents’ time in Ireland, concluding with my unplanned trip to Akron, Ohio, USA, and the cycle of emotions my trip to Ohio has triggered.
The Dublin Marathon
The Dublin Marathon was amazing! Both Mathew and I finished the raced! But not only did I finish the race, I crushed my first marathon time by 35 minutes. 35 minutes! It’s fun typing that! I have never claimed to be a fast runner. I run marathons to spend time with my husband, remember? And I still am not claiming to be a fast runner, but the thrill of finishing in 4:44 vs my first race time of 5:19 was really something special to me! How special? Watch below. I snapped my raw emotions moments after I crossed the finish line. Literally, this video was captured seconds after I completed the race.
I have a confession, I lied in the video. I know exactly why I am crying. It is emotional finishing a marathon. A buildup of 6 months of training and your hard work paying off. I run with a watch so I knew I crushed my time, a personal record is special. And Mathew and my parents were somewhere in the finish line crowd. I was excited to congratulate Mathew on a successful race!
Exploring Ireland with my Parents
My parents scheduled their time in Ireland so we’d have a week to explore after the race. We traveled to western Ireland, exploring cute towns, villages, and castles, and ended the adventure in Dublin with some pints of Guinness.
My Grandmother's Passing
Unfortunately, while the three of us were together we received sad news. My maternal grandmother passed away. Receiving the news with my parents versus being alone was comforting, but it was hard to receive upsetting news so far from home. Obviously, grandma’s passing altered our plans. And flights to Ohio were booked.
My grandmother, Mary Romito Bellassai, lived a wonderful life. She passed away on November 3rd, a few weeks shy of her 93rd birthday. Her life was celebrated on November 10th and I am fortunate that I was able to be in Ohio surrounded by family.
My grandmother was my role model. She was a college graduate in 1946 with degrees in English and French. She was fluent in English, Italian, and French. She was the sole accountant of her father’s electrical company while in school and after graduation. She met my grandfather and married him in 1948. Birthed their 8 children and decided to be a mother while my grandfather led a successful career as a mechanical engineer in the family business. Their 62-year marriage was a treat to witness and I loved when she shared tidbits of marriage advice. She was a health food nut with a weakness for ice cream, a trait that has trickled down to me and most of my family members. My grandfather died 7 years ago and I take comfort knowing they are reunited.
Her passing has impacted me more than I thought it would. Since returning from Ohio I feel like I have been living in a daze. And not a jet lag daze, this daze is different. On the 3-hour bus ride from Dublin to Wexford, after a 6-hour flight from New York to Dublin, after a 90-minute flight from Cleveland to New York, and after hours of lay overs, I broke down. I live so far away from home!
I live so far away from home that my husband was unable to attend my grandmother’s funeral, and I his grandfather’s funeral when he passed in May. Our families have been experiencing additional struggles and it has become increasingly harder to not be physically present for hugs, or just to listen, or to help.
I am grateful for my time in Ireland as it has opened my eyes to circumstances I know I was taking for granted at home. I think I am the best version of myself when I can see my family regularly. Not on week long Irish adventures or overly booked trips home. I am talking about that random Monday night where I just show up at my sister’s house to watch The Bachelor.
Grandma’s passing is the closure of a generation. She was my last living grandparent. And when I reflect on the time we spent together it was significant, considering I lived in Minnesota and she in Ohio. Every year, twice a year, my family would road trip the 15-hours from Minnesota to Ohio. Once for a summer vacation, and once for Christmas. And every time we would pull up to grandma and grandpa’s house she’d be in the big front window waving. I get emotional thinking how lucky I am to have known her for 29 years. And it makes me ponder how many years my unconceived child(ren) will get with my parents and parent-in-laws, and if I want it to be 29 years the clock is ticking. When November began children definitely were not top of mind. I’m smiling, I think my grandma would like that I am having these thoughts.
Thanks for reading! I head back to Minnesota this week for a baptism and wedding. I am looking forward to celebrating special people in my life and seeing my family for the holiday weekend. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American followers! Enjoy the holiday I hope you get to spend it with the people you love.