Friday, June 5, 2015
Profile of a TAM Mom
Written by Sherry Schlenke, and borrowed from Kim’s own beautiful and eloquent Voice.
Moms, please meet Kimberly Griner Heinz. Kim is one of the most amazing and inspirational women that you will ever know. She has an opportunity to be the feature runner on the cover of Runner’s World Magazine. Moms, she needs your votes! If you are inclined to, you can vote DAILY for her till July 22,2015 Please click here to vote:http://coversearch.runnersworld.com/entry/678/
Kim lost her only child, her boy, Eric, in February of 2014, to the demon heroin. Rather than letting her grief consume her life, she is a Marathoner who travels the country, running 26 miles in memory of Eric, who was only 26 years old at the time of his tragic death.
In Kimberly’s own words “life presents challenges from which we choose to either give up or grow, retreat or rise up, accept or act upon. As the saying goes: ‘you can either throw in the towel or use it to wipe the sweat off your face’. Keep wiping the sweat off your face and keep moving forward. I run and leave the pieces of grief behind me on the pavement."
She weeps as she runs, both in her races, and in the early morning practice runs in Wisconsin; she runs in fog, in rain, in wind and in cold. Eric often ran with his mom. Now, her three, 4-legged companions accompany her; one is a 12-year old, blind, diabetic black lab named Hoosier. He walks 1 mile with Kim. Kimberly is devoted to her dogs, as they are to her.
“Running - my towrope, my lifeline, pulling me through life and at times when grief and sorrow squeeze me so hard I can barely breathe, I hold on tight and keep moving.”
Eric was born on 2/22/1987 in Chicago. Through high school, he lived
in Florida. He moved to Chicago when he was 21, attended Roosevelt University. His passion was fishing, Miami Dolphin football, and Chicago Cubs baseball.
A high school football injury to his back, coupled with his work as a cook, introduced him to the world of Oxycontin.
Kim believes, after reading Eric’s journal that she discovered after
his death, that this was the beginning of Eric’s journey on the tragic
road of addiction:
“I did heroin for the first time in over a year. I don’t know why I chose to. Like always, it’s a warm blanket on a cold night. I actually feel ok right now. Heroin masks all my physical, emotional and psychological pain completely. When it comes to drugs, alcohol, coke, Xanax, they were just affairs, but when I met heroin, it was true love.”
Eric was a freckled, redheaded cutie pie, as handsome as his mother is beautiful. But Kim’s beauty is not superficial; her beauty runs deep into her soul, as she runs in Eric’s memory, reflecting upon his brief life and tragic death:
“I could no more stop missing or thinking about Eric than I could stop breathing. What I would give to hear the word “Mom” again. The real challenge after losing a child is moving forward. But life does continue, whether we like it or not; morning comes, again and again. So we pick ourselves up and we live, but we are never the same. At first, we are different because of our raw sadness. Over time, the sadness moves from our skin into our bones. It becomes less visible, but no less who we are. It changes into a wisdom, one we'd give up in a heartbeat to have our child back. We who have lost children understand life's fragility and beauty, understand that nothing is more important than each other, those we love. Soar high with the angels my beautiful boy, Eric, forever 26.