Thursday, January 2, 2014

Farewell (for now) Tears

I leave Ohio after celebrating Christmas with family and friends to go back to the mountains of Colorado for the third time.

I love the mountains as they are my home and I am very lucky to have someone to travel back with this year, but like every year, I leave Ohio in tears.

It’s ridiculous really; I should be used to it by now. I shouldn’t be so emotional, but I can’t help it. It doesn't help that every time my tears slip from my eyes, I catch what at first seems to be my reflection in tears as well. In these moments I remember that it’s okay to cry, as the bond between soul mates is indeed very special.

(When I was a kid I thought a soul mate was a significant other and I could only have one, but as I grew wiser I learned that it is possible to have more than one soul mate, and soul mates can come in forms of various people.)

As I once again leave my amazing twin sister, Rachel, I feel like I’m leaving parting with a piece my heart.
Growing up I didn’t see how perfectly our lives fit together. We each had hard battles that we dealt with separately, yet we later realized our battles were often the same. To this day we still find ourselves sharing paralleling paths, but now we gratefully share our thoughts and dreams together.
Me (left) and Rachel in CVNP
Rachel is not only my twin sister, she is my best friend, soul mate, and my hero. She is the person that will go to events with me that no one else will. She is the person I seemed to have accidentally started an online book club with. She is the reason I still look up when someone says Rachel, thinking that they might be talking to me. She is the one who always listens to my crazy ideas and often takes part in them. She’s the only one who believed in me when no one else did.
Rachel running Forget the PR 50k

When we were kids I saw her as a rock of determination and pure will power as she’d have me put on ankle weights for early morning runs before school in 6th grade. It was also during this time I learned that while she might be the most determined person on the planet, she was like me and had plenty of her own mental struggles.
Rachel on her way up Kilimanjaro
I remember the day I learned this. My mom and Rachel came home from the doctor and my mom told me that Rachel had to go to the hospital right away. Her pulse was so slow her heart could stop beating at any moment. At that moment I felt like my heart stopped. How could someone with such a strong heart possibly be at risk of having it stop?

Rach taking in the view from Molas Pass (Colorado)
She wanted to fly, so she flew.
For two weeks she was in the hospital, for two years she was constantly going to appointments, and till this day I know she sometimes struggles. However, she has already won the battle and the war. Now she is truly the definition of strength as she constantly works to help and inspire others whether it be through her presence, writings, directing the I Believe Trail Races for charity, being on a mental health board, or helping young girls stay on the right path.

I remember two ideas I had that only came to life because Rachel agreed to do them with me, and that has forever changed my life.

The first was to start a volunteer group, Students Making a Difference, at our college. We already felt liked we were busy, but we jumped in any way to follow a path of service, which gave us the gift of believing in our abilities separately and together. We had no idea what we were doing, but we took one of the most important steps of our lives as we now always consider how we are affecting the planet and its people.
Right: Students Making a Difference becoming an official club!

The other idea always makes me smile to this day. At the age of 21 I went on an i2P expedition, quit my basketball team (and so did Rach), and signed up to run the Mohican 100. The longest race I ever did prior to signing up was a half marathon. 100 miles was crazy, but I knew I could do it. Rachel knew it too. Everyone else thought I lost my mind. About 30 miles to go in the Mohican 100, I picked up Rachel. I said I needed her with me and despite her not running much beforehand due to an injury, she joined me for the rest of the race. She stopped me from making wrong turn and together we ran for our first time in the dark, and soon after both our flash lights dimmed till we could barely see.  Together, we finished my first 100 mile race in first place.

Rachel and her daughter (my beautiful niece), Pacer
Because of these events, I continue to dream. I dream big, wild, almost impossible dreams. While I’m sure most of my family  still doesn’t know what to think of me (though my dad is pretty awesome and is happy if I’m happy), Rachel continues to believe in me, and I continue to believe in her.

I don’t just believe in her because she’s my sister, I believe in her because everything about her shows she’s meant for greatness in whatever she decides to do. As she continues to see the goodness and power in herself that others already see, I hope we can dream some big dreams together and make them come to life. After all, it’s why we were put on this beautiful earth together.

My wish for everyone reading this is that you learn from Rachel that struggles can show your true strength and beauty, and that showing people you believe in them can change lives in a big way.

I love you Rachel.

Me (left) and Rachel at Twin Spring in Manitou Springs, CO

Run Wild, Live Happy,


Why God makes twins


  1. Words from the heart are the purest words there are.
    Safe travels!

  2. This warmed my heart so much. You are both amazing and are so strong!

  3. What a beautiful piece of writing, Sandi!


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