Making sense of something that makes no sense.

Posted: August 4, 2010 in Training

On Friday I received a call from a good friend, my best friend, who lives in Charleston, SC.  He called on his way out of town with his wife Monica and two little boys Garris and Fuller ages seven and six.  Keith called to wish me a happy 43rd Birthday a day early as they were heading up to Asheville, NC with some friends for a camping trip. 

We missed each other, but I received his message and on the way to dinner on Saturday night my wife and I talked about Keith and his family as we are now just 4 weeks away from starting our own. 

It’s funny about good friends.  Close friends.  Even though you might see each other only a few times a year as work, life, travel or in our case moving more than 1,300 miles away, conspire to keep you apart.  No matter, they are never really far from your thoughts or your heart.  Those “ties” are formed long, long ago – and no matter how much time passes – they are unbreakable.

Keith has taken to running recently, and we have been talking about running this spring together at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston.  A 10K that has been on my “to-do” list for almost a decade.  We have been talking about that race and Keith’s progress a lot recently – and I have been so very proud of him – again from half a country away.

Monday night the phone at the house rang with an (843) area code number that I did not recognize.  I had been outside with Kayla and was unable to get to the phone before the ringing stopped.  My parents who still live in Charleston are now into their 80’s.  Still doing great, still very active – but for some reason I got a terrible feeling that something was wrong.

I reached for my mobile phone to see if I had that number on file and there was an e-mail from another good friend in Charleston Jay Hart who I have known for more than 20 years.  There had been a terrible accident in Asheville and Keith’s wife Monica had passed away on Monday.

Monica who suffered from epilepsy apparently had a seizure or perhaps simply slipped and fell near the river where they were camping.  We will never really know what exactly happened – but no matter – the fact is my best friend lost his wife and mother of his two boys in the blink of an eye.

I spoke to Keith last night and the voice that I have heard so many times since we met as young, rather clueless men more than two decades ago was again on the line.  As I searched for the right words all I could manage to say was how sorry I was and how much I loved him. 

In the hours since I have a tremendous heartache that I have no idea how to manage.  Thoughts of happier times keep fighting with all of the trials and tribulations we have gone through over the years. 

There are snippets from the first time we met and Keith invited me to Thanksgiving Dinner with his family two days later. 

A camping trip of our own to Wadmalaw Island with Jay, that somehow ended up at Edisto Beach.  I’m pretty sure there were girls involved.

Keith standing up for me at my wedding.  Me standing up for him and Monica shortly thereafter. 

Garris asking me to read him a bedtime story squished next to him in his little boy bed …. 

So now I will be making my way to Charleston, SC later today – returning to the very church where Keith, Monica, family and friends celebrated the start of their life together a little less than 10 years ago.

For a somewhat enlightened, educated man, I feel like I don’t know a damn thing today.  Nothing I thought to be true 24 hours ago, makes any sense to me whatsoever right now.

All I know is the place I need to be is next to my good friend, because I know if the situation were reversed his bags would be in my foyer right now and his voice in my house telling me how sorry he was and how much he loved me.

  1. Connie says:

    Joe what a great frend you are sorry for your loss
    everyone in the world should have a friend like you
    i can’t even think what a wonderful world this would be

    and you say you can’t get started on a book
    one time you told me you would send me a signed copy
    DONT i’ll cry from start to finish

  2. Jim in Wells says:

    I ran for you and yours today. Hang in there my friend.

  3. Jodi Higgins says:

    Many hugs to you Joe. I ran for you and yours today as well. Sending you lots of prayers during this very difficult time.

  4. Stacy NH says:

    I am so sorry to hear of this horrible loss. My thoughts are with you and Keiths family during this tough time.

  5. Alett says:

    Joe –

    I am so so sorry. I came over to your site to check and see how Dom was doing and really did not expect this recent post.

    I am so sorry.

    Words cannot express the sadness I feel for your best friend.
    You are all in my thoughts.


  6. Joe, I cannot express how sorry I am for you and yours in this recent tragedy. You are such a consistent source of inspiration and demonstrate such generosity of spirit for me and others through your blog, your comments on DM. I hope we can provide for you anything you might need in this time. You and the Keiths are in my thoughts.

  7. onelittlejill says:


    I am so sorry for your loss. I can feel your pain through your writing and I hope you are finding some kind of peace in a situation where there are no answers. Words never seem to be enough, but please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. ::HUGS::

  8. Sheila says:

    Hi Joe, I saw this on Michele’s page. I’m so sorry to hear of your & Keith’s loss. This entry brought tears to my eyes. Many times there are no right words, but the presence, support, and love of family and friends like you is what gets people through. A friendship like yours is a real gift and one that I can see you treasure. I wish everyone could be the friend you are! God bless and kisses to Dawn, Kayla and baby! xx Sheila

  9. Lara says:

    You and your loved ones are in my thoughts. I am so, so sorry for your loss, and for Keith’s lost of his dear wife and the mother of his children. I’m so sorry, Joe.

    My heart is with you all,

  10. Robert Ranzer says:

    As I try to think of something to write here Joe not much is coming to mind…Sometimes words dont do justice to the trials that can arise… Thinking of you and your friend Joe!

  11. Jen (jennrunns) says:

    I am so very sorry! Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. –
    Jen and Richard Blalock

  12. There are no words to fill such a deep hole nor can there be. But being their for your friend, that invisible bond of enduring friendship, will be remembered as easing his pain. In time.

  13. Courtney @ I CAN DO THIS says:

    Joe, and I am very sorry for your loss. I just found your site via DM, and I will run one for you tomorrow.

  14. joerunfordom says:

    Thank you so much everyone for all of your wonderful support and kind words this week. There are a lot of things that I still can’t make any sense of. I’m starting to feel as if I never will.

    All of your comments, messages, phone calls and e-mails made an impossible week much more manageable. Thank you all so very, very much.

    Richard and Jen, I thought of you both often while I was back in the lowcountry. I am more determined now than ever to get myself “up front” for the CRBR in April.

    I’ve have a couple of little boys I plan on running for that morning.

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