While I was putting together another “Face of the Fallen” post I came across this piece by Linda Ambard, wife of a US Air Force officer, which originally appeared in Runner’s World magazine. On April 27, 17 days after this essay was published, her husband, Maj. Phil Ambard, was killed in Afghanistan. It is a moving meditation on what running can do for the soul. MP+

I Run On
2011/04 11:54 am
By Linda Ambard

After 35 years, running has carried me from my youth into middle age. It has opened doors, given me a scholarship, allowed me to travel. It has been a friend through stressful times. I ran as a child of an alcoholic, as a teen dealing with an eating disorder, as an adult coping with a failed marriage. And this year, while my daughter and husband are deployed in Afghanistan, running has become my companion.

When I married my husband, Phil, 23 years ago, I brought three children to the relationship. Their other father was not in the picture. At the time, Phil was a young airman who wanted nothing more than to leave the military, but after marrying me and taking on the responsibilities of a family, Phil committed to a long military career. In the meantime, he has taken us all over the world, and somewhere along the way four of our five children have joined the family business.

During our time in Europe, when Phil was deployed, I would push the two youngest in a double stroller. It meant a lot of huffing and puffing, and one of them was always asking questions, but running gave me a sense of comfort. It felt like a decadent treat. As a mom with five children under age 10, the best gift Phil gave me was freedom. When he walked in the door, I ran out for a run.

Read the whole piece here.