Courage in Green Shirts

So I ran a half marathon this weekend. It wasn’t something that I had always wanted to do. It wasn’t something that I ever thought I would do. But sometimes we are compelled to accomplish things far beyond ourselves on behalf of others. Who were these others? The Woods family and more specifically, Monica Wood. Friend, teacher, mother, and now my hero. Not by her choice. No one would choose to lose their son just days before his 19th birthday and to suffer the violence of such a cruel and merciless act. Franklin Wood’s life was brutally taken from him on January 11, 2010 when he fell victim to a home invasion and shooting. So what do you do in the face of such unspeakable grief and malicious tragedy? How do you make sense of it? How do you find your way through the dense fog of despair, the heavy sludge of grief, the unfathomable maze of anger and hope, pain and joy, denial and acceptance?

One word. Courage. Taken from the latin root “cor” or “heart”. From the very beginning of this journey, I witnessed the most amazing courage in both Stephen and Monica Wood as they so graciously made space for others to mourn Franklin’s death, as they so passionately and bravely made the case for love in the midst of such hate, and as they so courageously stepped into the grief and did not shy away from its agony. Courage. It is what I have seen as I have read poems and letters and blogs and videos all grieving such an enormous loss and celebrating such a beautiful life. It is what I saw again in Monica as she cried, laughed, agonized and celebrated as Team Franklin ran the Rock’n’Roll Marathon this weekend. Running alongside her, her grief becoming mine, my heart feeling the intensity of her loss, even if only in the smallest of proportions, all I can offer is my presence. I can’t take the pain away. I can’t give Monica her son back. All I can do is run beside her. And that is what Team Franklin was all about – hoards of green shirts showing up alongside the Woods saying - We are here for you. We grieve with you. You are not alone.

I wish that we would do this more often. With or without the tragedy. To show up for each other and say – You can do this. We’re here for you. We believe in you. You are not alone.

1 comment

  • M. Jensen
    M. Jensen
    WOW! In times like this, your ability to be comfortable sitting in Monica's pain was probably the greatest gift you could give her!

    WOW! In times like this, your ability to be comfortable sitting in Monica's pain was probably the greatest gift you could give her!

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