Miles for Kyle
Author: Maggie Osborn
Running a marathon for some is a sport; for others a life accomplishment. Me? I run for Kyle. I run in his honor. I run because he can’t. I run to fulfill his goals and complete his bucket list. I run to carry on his memory and to ensure it inspires others as he did in his life on earth.
Kyle was a loving, outgoing man who continually sought out new challenges. He was always an active person applying himself to new adventures: fishing, CrossFit, wrestling, rock climbing, prestigious Army Ranger School, and mentally challenging Sniper school, all to better himself and achieve goals he set personally and professionally. Kyle was a determined man with solid goals and dreams. Unfortunately, these dreams were all cut short when he gave the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan on September 13, 2012.
That fateful day, I lost the love of my life, my best friend, my other half. I had to start life over, alone, at 25. I left my home, my job, my friends and I moved home to Minnesota to live with my parents as I tried to find my new path. I lost all connection to the life I had known as an Army wife. I was a widow. That was the hardest concept for me to grasp. I was lost in a world I never thought I would be in. It was then that I found TAPS.
In January of 2013, I attended a retreat in Montana where, for the first time in five months, I did not feel like an outcast. Back home, I had my family and a few close friends, but I was still so lost. At the retreat, I was able to share my feelings of loss and grief, my fears of loneliness, my aspirations that made me feel guilty for being alive with others who understood. I was amongst friends, my ‘widsters’ (widowed sisters), I was finally home. I made lifelong friendships and learned ways to carry on my angel’s memory. For the first time, I felt hope. The surviving spouses and fiancés who tragically paved the road before were my inspiration. It was there, in a snowy mountain lodge that I consciously decided to continue to challenge myself and to keep on living, for Kyle, and for myself. I challenged myself to be more than the title ‘Widow’ and become someone who would make Kyle proud .
After moving to Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2013, I learned of the Team TAPS run team and decided I was going to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Kyle’s honor. While training, I reconnected with Kimberly Taylor, now a colleague at TAPS. With her encouragement and support and my angel watching over me we trained together through blood, sweat, tears and blisters. We shared the memories of our angels throughout our training and on race day. We crossed the finish line hand in hand and at that moment, shared not only the grief and loss, but also a feeling of accomplishment and an overwhelming honor to run for our real life heroes.
I continue to run regularly for Kyle, his dog tags in my pocket every single race. At each finish line his dog tags are in my hand pushing me those last couple of miles and making me climb that last hill and complete the race. When I place each medal around my neck I also place his dog tags around my neck knowing I earned this for him and he is always with me. Each time I register for a race it is my statement I have made the conscience decision to live each day to it’s fullest - Kyle’s way. Happiness is my new life goal and also to become an inspiration to others. Kyle inspired so many people and touched the lives of so many, I can only hope to live up to his memory, one mile at a time.