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Walking Peg Miles

Posted on February 16th, 2016 by Margit Novack
From www.movingsolutions.com | info@movingsolutions.com | 610-853-4300

me and peg CROPPED


Two years ago, a friend died suddenly after a horrendously short battle with cancer. I guess we all have our own way of remembering and honoring people we’ve lost.   I remember Peg through “Peg miles”. 

I am a walker. For 25 years, I’ve walked for exercise and enjoyment. I don headphones, select my favorite exercise album, and I walk. I swing my arms, I sing along, and I do something that is rare for me… I am in the moment.

Walking makes me feel alive and grateful to be healthy and vibrant. As a cancer survivor, I don’t take that for granted. I really, really love walking.

That’s why I was devastated four years ago, when unusual complications from surgery left me unable to walk without pain. Chronic pain is hard enough to bear. When it prevents you from doing something you love, the burden is even greater. Sometimes, I would push through the pain, but the joy in walking was gone, and I was never “in the moment.”

Then Peg got sick. Over a two week period, we received increasingly dire updates on her condition. It was like watching a train going downhill without breaks, and picking up speed.

Each evening, as this was happening, I went to the walking track where I had logged many painful miles and I thought about Peg. I thought about her laugh. I thought about her quirky style. I thought about how serendipitous life is, and how fragile. What I didn’t think about was my pain, because there wasn’t any.

I don’t know why it stopped hurting. Maybe all the physical therapy and Pilates suddenly kicked in, maybe it was just a coincidence, but every evening during Peg’s illness and since then, my miles have been gloriously pain free. You don’t appreciate what it feels like to have chronic pain until it disappears, because you have forgotten how wonderful it feels not to hurt. So amidst the sadness of Peg’s dying, I got a gift. I got my walking back! I felt lucky, I felt healthy, and I felt glad to be alive.

I decided these miles needed a name, a name that stood for mindfulness, health, gratitude, being in the moment.
So ever since Peg’s death, whenever a walk is especially good, I think, “I just did four Peg miles,” and it makes me happy — happy to have enjoyed the experience, and happy to have this small, private connection with my dead friend.

Perhaps “Peg miles” are a weird way to remember someone. After all, walking is my thing, not Peg’s. She abhorred exercise! But I think she would like it. “Think of me when you do something you love.” Peg would be good with that.

What about you? Have you ever developed a personal ritual as a way of remembering someone? If so, please share it with me. I hope you get as much joy from the telling as I do.

Peg Guild was a Senior Move Manager and former NASMM President. She had a unique blend of wit and wisdom.
Her laughter was infectious. 

8 Responses to “Walking Peg Miles”

My husband had a very similar experience with his best friend that died at 53, four short months after being diagnosed. They actually went on a farewell tour of doing all the things they loved together, for as long as his friends body would allow. Now when he travels back to these places, he always remembers his friend while around a camp fire, or hiking down a trail…its good stuff.

Margit NovackFebruary 16th, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Peg Guild was a former Senior Move Manager and NASMM President. She was a unique blend of wit and wisdom. Her laugh was infectious.

After my mom Mildred died in 2014 I wrote a book about her, or rather my story of the end of her life as I experienced it. I hadn’t done this when my father died so I realized how important it was to capture each moment of it. Interwoven with the text were 50 or more photos. It was a grand creative enterprise. In the time since she died I have often re-read the book with satisfaction and also surprise. The surprise comes from the fact that through the writing I was able to let go of the parts of her that arose from her own suffering, and keep the parts of her that were marvelous. It’s as if this book, even though I wrote it, is my mom talking to me in the very best way. Her greatness comes through loud and clear.

Thanks for sharing this, Margit. It is a wonderful (if ironic) way to honor her. Loving you – and Peg – with a heart full of gratitude for being able to call you both my friend.
See you soon!

Peg and I spent many a night or so at conferences – just having a beer (0r 2) and talking about everything- from work to just about anything. The year the Busy Buddies were there – well, all hell broke loose! We had a grand time. My thought about things Margit said about exercising…. I worked in this community and my regular job (5 years) was on the third floor. I use to race up the gorgeous staircase while my client took the elevator. We would “race” to see who got there first. One day a lady, who could hardly walk with her walker, stopped me at the top of the stairs and told me “you should be grateful you can do that”. I told her I was (although completely out of breath!) I now take the stairs and will forever think of that lady, and many others whom I have met. One person can certainly change your perspective!

I love this post and the picture too. Friends sharing the joy of life together.

My mother, Vickie, was a great cook, amongst other things. She also worked as a dietary supervisor in a Jewish retirement center to ensure that the Jewish dietary laws were adhered to for the kosher residents. Every time I prepare and serve a huge meal, I think of her and am so grateful for the gift she gave me in the ability to cook for and serve large groups of people without fear. From her, I also learned empathy and compassion and every time I please a senior move client, I think of her and know how proud she would be of the work that I do.

Barry, I think she would be proud of you for so many reasons.

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