A Transformation of Thought
Panting loudly, I hail a fellow runner - 'It's a beautiful one this morning!' he returns my cheery declaration with a big smile - 'It is indeed!’ comes his friendly response.
Stopping to take a photo, breathlessly staring at the beauty of my surroundings, I welcome the brief ‘catching my breath’ pause. The path of my life reflected in my running style: sprint, run, w a l k in intervals, sprint, bend over cursing & fighting for breath, then run again and repeat. I know it is a beautiful one today; I see it. But today, however, I don't feel it. I am in a ‘bent over, panting’ phase I think to myself today.
Piece of white paper flaps lazily in the slight breeze - hand-in-hand with my littlest, I am drawn to this piece of litter, ALEX is scribbled on the front in large letters, nothing else, just his name. 'Thank you', I think, thank you for showing me that you are always here. As I smile in acknowledgement to his reminder, I can't help but allow some tears to escape as I point out the piece of litter to Esmie saying - ‘look, daddy showing you he's always here!’ Beaming up at me, all cherub-cheeked and mischievous eyes, she responds: ‘Oh yes! And look', (she proceeds) ‘that car is showing us too, the number plate is ETA at the end 'Esmie, Tamsyn, Alex! And he shows you at the gym - all the weights are called ALEX!’
I know you are here, surrounding us in a different way now, with love pure and unfaltering reminders of this - even in a piece of old street litter!
But today I just miss you. And that's ok. I want the kids to know I miss you, because I want them to know it’s ok to miss you too. I feel it connects me still to what we did have - nearly 8 years ago now. Because times are just so very, very different now. Children raised ‘fatherless’, patchy memories serve the bigger two to remember who their daddy was, but the younger two have none. It comes with much sadness and regret that I watch them grow, and you cannot: that they grow not reaping the many benefits they would have done from knowing you as the daddy you used to be, the input, the advice, the counsel you could have offered. Some moments I allow myself to sink in this regret for the ‘what should have been’.
But there’s not much room for that - life flow urges forward, dragging you with it whether you like it or not, whether you feel ready or not!
MISSING YOU IS THE WORST PART
Missing you is the worst part, in anyone having lost someone they love, I am sure they will agree. You can’t turn back time, relive a few moments to steady you, then flip back and carry on. You just have to accept. I carry my memories silently, so silently that at times I don’t have many, they seem to almost evapourate the less I look at them. Although not looking at them has been quite deliberate over the years, suppressing them made it easier, however, I wanted so desperately to be brave enough to face them, so I sometimes allow a few of them out.
--- I watch as you run out of the sea, smiling, wetsuit on, surfboard under your strong arm, grabbing a small child in the other as they run down to greet you. Running at me you shower me with ice-cold salty wet sea kisses and I protest! Get off! But you insistently cuddle me, kids bundle on top and we are a jumble of wet sand, legs and laughter. ---
And I push the memory away again... Memories hurt
Memories hurt, they make my heart beat slower, time pass too quickly, getting faster, further and further away from you and who we were. They force a wedge in the pre and post life, it’s jerky path wrenches at my heart every time I look at what's gone.
So I catch my breath, stand back up, re-ground myself in the power of the transformation this path has sent us on. I hold to the characters we have forged, to the bond it has given us as a unit, a family unbreakable (just you try!) and the LOVE that has infiltrated and enriched our beings. We have chosen to open our hearts to the transformation, not close them to the angst, sorrow and despair.
I believe, however you can, you must learn from any situation - even if it takes you many years! It will liberate your mind, support your decisions and behaviour. If you enter your thoughts with humility and love and even just the merest notion of ‘ok, I am willing’ then you will be guided to the highest path you can walk/sprint/run repeat (!) on.
Our time on this earth is short, the loving relationships we have are precious, our minds are to be nurtured, and I can honestly say that, although today I am not ok, this is part of it too.
It is ok, to not be ok - cliched this saying may be, but true it is!
You may not be able to choose where you tread, but you can certainly choose how you tread it.