Never Forget

Posted: June 16, 2011 in Friends, Motivational


Since my divorce, I’ve tried to get by with as few things as possible. Prior to that I had this emotional attachment to things…trinkets, statues, posters, collectibles. They all had attached memories. I learned to detach the memory and keep it with me but to get rid of the physical inventory. I parted ways with a Star Wars collection that ranged from 20-30 years old. The guy that bought it paid very little for it and I’m pretty sure my heart broke a little bit that day. When I look back on it today, I don’t mind so much. I remember the fun those toys brought me and I get to relive the fun through my 4-year old padawan who has started a little Star Wars Clone Wars collection of her own.

Today I woke up early and had the urge to start downsizing again. I organized the things I needed and started a trash pile for the things I didn’t. It’s a good feeling when you clear the space around you. To de-clutter is to de-stress.

Then I came across this one collection of items. One that I haven’t moved from the spot where I placed it on the day I received it. The collection looks like this:

  • A shirt with a race tag on the front
  • A medal that simply says “finisher”
  • A fuzzy hat with plush stuffed horns

The shirt is unwashed. After Warrior Dash, I showered off the mud and sweat that would come out of the shirt but otherwise, the stains of the day are still there. Mud splatters cover the front. A muddy hand print lies smack in the middle on the reverse side from where I received a pat on the back from my friends.

The medal isn’t gold. It’s not strung on a beautiful ribbon. It’s not heavy but it reminds me that I crossed the finish line. When I think about it further, I wasn’t finished that day. I was just starting.

When I’m old and finally free of this struggle with obesity, I don’t want a lot of things. I want one room. Maybe a den, an office or a study. It would be great to have the bookshelves full of books and information that got me to take the steps toward healthy living. I want a rack filled with medals. I don’t want them to be Gold, Silver or Bronze. I just want them to say “Finisher”…to say “I did it”. Each book, medal and ribbon would have a story to go with it.

In the center of it all, I want these three things: The dirty shirt, the cheap Warrior Dash medal and the goofy hat all encased in a framed box behind glass where everyone will notice it and question it. That hat will certainly catch the eyes of my grandchildren in the same way it catches my daughter’s eye when she sees it. And when they ask “what is that stuff, Grandpa”? I’ll simply answer “It’s the stuff that made it possible for me to be spending time with you right now.”

So, what helps you look back and remember important events in your life?

  1. Melissa says:

    That’s a great post. Good job. 🙂

  2. Barbara Hochreiter says:

    Well said, son!

  3. HEATHER says:

    Wonderful post Pat. I too have my medal from my first 5k … its currently hanging on my wall unit to I had to and continue to look at everyday the last 9 weeks as I sat without the ability to walk without aid from an injury sustained at that race. Once again, we are on the same journey. I am glad to have your inspiration as well as join you on this expedition towards health and happiness!

  4. This made me cry a little bit.

  5. Maria says:

    I am catching up on some older posts…. I absolutely love this one. And I want you to know I bought an Ironman watch and am going to try and start jogging intervals. I never would have done this a year ago or two years ago, but I am going to try and do it now. You are an inspiration to a lot of people! I won’t be able to run the 5K with you this week but hopefully in a month, 2 months I will be able to do something I wouldn’t have been able to do today….

    And yes, $60 was a rip!!!

  6. Maria says:

    No, for your stuff! 🙂

  7. […] picture is signed by Ben, Jed and Pa and if you’ve followed my blog about my story room when I’m older, then you know that this will be a definite part of the story to be found framed behind glass […]

  8. Kimi says:

    LOVED this post!

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