Stories Keep Us Alive

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar WildeSneaker - Sunny

In the chapter titled “The Half-Centenarian Club” in Twenty-four Years to Boston I wrote about celebrating my fiftieth birthday with a thirteen-mile run. No big deal really, especially considering there are guys in their seventies who cross the finish line before me in many of the races I enter.

Since joining the ranks of the sexagenarians, I figured I should up the ante so I registered for my first ultra-marathon. Actually, this is my second ultra registration, but my first was wiped out last year when I slipped on the ice and suffered a  hip injury that took four months to rehab. What a knucklehead!

This year I have extra incentive. I’ll line up for the ultra on the thirtieth anniversary of my dad’s death. Hard to believe that three decades have slipped by since I lost the man who still influences my life, my writing, my stories.

At the funeral for my buddy’s son recently the priest said that we keep alive those who are no longer with us through our words, our stories. Hundreds of people read  Smiling Through the Clouds about Billy and his son, both who passed away this year. Many readers took the time to write to me, some from as far away as New Zealand. They thanked me for sharing the story, said they felt a connection with my friend. Perhaps it helped them remember one of their own loved ones. I hope so.

So I’ll run with my dad in January. Even though he passed away thirty years ago he will be with me for 31 miles, every step of the way.

The most effective way to keep the memory alive of those we have lost is through our stories.

Stories will keep us all alive.AP - Guys Back



About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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8 Responses to Stories Keep Us Alive

  1. LB says:

    I love your posts, Jim, and your reflective comments. I’ll look forward to hearing about the ultra and the opportunity it will offer you to tell another story


  2. Jim, great words. Good luck on your ultra. Keep off the ice!


  3. racingtozen says:

    The loss of my father was my inspiration for my first marathon. He shows up at every race – through a sign with his name on it, someone unexpected cheering my name. His memory is alive, right there with me. Best wishes on your 31 miles Jim!


  4. runner500 says:

    One of the great things about running is that, unlike a lot of sports, it gives you time to think and reflect about friends, family and fellow runners, some of whom may not be around now – perhaps it is an age thing, but I think I use it more like this than I used to. It is an excellent way to remember your Dad.


    • Jim Brennan says:

      The contemplative part of distance running is an overlooked and under-appreciated part of the sport. The remarkable thing about it is that we own the magic that occurs between the ears during a long run, all we need to do is lace up and unleash it. You are right on the money, my friend. Happy Trails.

      Liked by 1 person

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