Defying Emotional Gravity

By Lori Ross | March 2nd, 2014

The oldest man to complete the Monument Avenue 10k this year was my father-in-law, 88-year-old Lin Thacker


This year the oldest man to complete the Monument Avenue 10k was my father-in-law, 88-year-old Lin Thacker. The grand-kids call him “Peepaw.” I enjoy his general cuteness, quirkiness and gentle disposition.

How did he end up walking those six miles when no other man his age in the Richmond population did?

There’s a gravity to physics we all understand. What defies gravity is what grabs our attention. In a lot of older people, there’s an emotional gravity, things that wear a person down – loss of health and loved ones, and a feeling that the best of life is in the rear-view mirror.

Lin is the ultimate defier of emotional gravity, and that is why he walked those six miles.

IT WAS TIME FOR A CAMEO

Like anybody else, Lin’s had his problems. When his wife had Alzheimer’s disease, he was her No. 1 fan and caretaker. When a doctor wanted to prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-depression pills for Lin, he informed the doctor that he didn’t need them because the caretaking wasn’t a bother at all.

After Meme died, he grieved profusely for a time, and I worried he wouldn’t come back to how he was. But he did. He found something new to live for – our elderly collie, Cameo.

In the beginning he babysat her, then borrowed her, and ultimately we all knew it was best for Cameo to live with Lin. He was an all-day companion to her, loved to make her special meals, and they had a special bond. He called her his therapist because she listened to everything he had to say. When she died, he was sad again, and again I worried about him.

Yet again he came back to living life fully.

PULLING THE PLUG COULDN’T STOP HIM

You might think he’s just healthier than most. In a way, he is. Yet a couple years ago he had an early-morning heart attack. Within hours, we were asked to pull him from the machines keeping him alive. We prepared for him to die within the hour. Long story short: He ate a normal lunch that day. Later he benefited from successful heart surgery.

So, back to where the story started.

After surgery, Lin did the exercises the doctors wanted. Then he asked my husband, who avidly works out, to coach him into better shape. Over time, he’s gotten stronger and able to do more. Earlier this year, Lin initiated a push to do a family walk in the Monument Avenue 10k and trained with a purpose to make it happen for himself.

Since heart surgery, Lin’s in overtime in the game of life … and, like Carly Simon, he hasn’t got time for the pain.

‘Haven’t Got Time for the Pain’

SONGWRITERS: CARLY SIMON, JACOB BRACKMAN

All those crazy nights when I cried myself to sleep

Now melodrama never makes me weep anymore ‘

Cause I haven’t got time for the pain

I haven’t got room for the pain

I haven’t the need for the pain

Not since I’ve known you

You showed me how, how to leave myself behind

How to turn down the noise in my mind

Now I haven’t got time for the pain

I haven’t got room for the pain

I haven’t the need for the pain

Not since I’ve known you

Suffering was the only thing that made me feel I was alive

Thought that’s just how much it cost to survive in this world

‘Til you showed me how, how to fill my heart with love

How to open up and drink in all that white light Pouring down from the heavens

I haven’t got time for the pain I haven’t got room for the pain

I haven’t the need for the pain

Not since I’ve known you. 

——-

Lori Ross can be contacted at Lori@TheBoomerMagazine.com. 

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