Written by Erin Santos, President of The Isabella Santos Foundation
Why I run…
Last month my marathon coach asked me why I’m running with the ISF Dream Team. I wanted to answer something easy like, “to stay in shape”, or “for the company during a run” or “all my friends are running”. But of course, my answers are never that simple.
Here is why I run…
I run to make her feel real.
It’s been 3 years. After a certain amount of time, it starts to feel like a dream. Some movie that you watched once but you were in it somehow. You had to of been in it because you are somehow in the pictures. I kick myself for taking the pictures and not being in more of them with her. Every once in awhile I catch a picture that someone took of me with her and I can barely breathe because I know THAT moment was real. The one that Angelo took of me with her in my kitchen. Those are real. That is a moment. She was dying and I knew it… but I still was just her Mommy in these pictures. But now, seeing her clothing in the house just feels like costumes from that movie. Even the pink dress I work to her funeral, I’ve tried to wear it on different occasions to get use out of it, but it is now just a costume too that can’t be worn in every day life. I don’t even dream of her. I wake pissed every morning when I have stupid dream about people I work with or some unknown face. Why can’t I see her even when I sleep? Is that too much to ask? I open my eyes each morning and look down the hallway, expecting to see her walking towards me holding her 10 blankies in her silkie pony pajamas. But, that too is just a scene from a movie in my mind. I live my life sometimes, forgetting what all happened in this house. Maybe I have to so that i can continue living because it’s a nightmare. But then I get upset with myself for wanting to forget. Some days I just want to feel her against me. But I know that is a dream that will never come true, so instead I search for ways to feel her again.. and this is why I run.
Things that make her feel real for me:
1. Visiting her site. Nothing brings it right in my face like putting my hand on that name plate.
2. Race day. When you see me, know that I’m probably drinking/drunk. I’m trying so hard to hold my composure knowing how she would of just loved being part of this day.
3. Running with the DreamTeam. Watching people get up at 6 in the morning and put on a shirt with your daughter’s name on it. Some of you knew her and some of you didn’t… and she is impacting your life. I know it sounds corny but I feel her running along side us every time we run. Laughing and singing and giving hugs to us all when we finish.
She won’t visit me in my dreams, so her gift to me is giving you all to me in another form of a dream. The Dream Team.
My goal is to raise $25,000 this year. If I hit that goal, I’m going to run back to back half marathons in November. 26.2 miles in 7 days. Help me hit my goal and give to the link below.