“Am I here? Of course I am, yes.”
I think it’s sometimes human nature to add meaning to things that, in reality, make little sense. In loss, people give themselves comfort by using something as a sign that the person they’ve lost is still with them…for example, it might be a bird. I went a good time after my Mum passed away without feeling that.
The closest I came to a “She’s still with us” moment was directly after she passed away, in Papworth Hospital. The life support machines had been turned off, we were all in tears…for myself I felt lost and unsure what to do…and then the fire alarm went off. Evacuate. I could almost hear my Mum saying, “Stop fussing, just get on with it!” It was a moment that in great sadness gave us a little laugh. Mum was kicking us out.
Life goes on, but we were now faced with living what would need to be a ‘new normal’. It wasn’t easy for any of us. I started suffering hugely with anxiety and low mood. For the first time I had an anxiety attack…it felt like I was having a heart attack. My ribs felt like they were coming in on themselves and intertwining. It was terrifying. Things that you wouldn’t expect to change started to change. My stomach started to play up frequently. I wasn’t sleeping. I was in a hole. I had days when I was ‘here’, but did not actually feel ‘here’. I kept a lot of it hidden.
And then…life changes. One of the biggest things I felt after Mum passed away was a change in perspective. Life is too short. My Mum was 55. I was half way to 55 at that point. What if that’s what I have left? What if I don’t have that long? I started to think about myself, my own happiness…and I started a new life. New home, new relationship…I’ll stop short of saying new me!
One of the first evenings out that I had with Lori ended with us walking to the car and looking around. It was a cold night, but the sky was clear and the moon looked huge. We’d talked about my Mum a lot on the night, as well as how it affected me (it felt good to get it out and to have someone willing to listen). Lori pointed at the moon and said about how bright it was, saying, “That’s your Mum watching us.”
Not long after, we had everything happen with Dan. Lori was late but we thought it was down to stress because of everything that had happened. I was on a late at work, Lori finished around 5 or 6. The moon was bright again. Lori decided to get a pregnancy test…by now we’d talked a lot about how a bright moon seemed to relate to us that Mum was watching…and we found out we were expecting.
I know it sounds absolutely crazy to anybody that hasn’t been through anything like this, or for anybody that hasn’t attached a significance like that to something else…but we took the brightness and size of the moon to mean that this was my Mum’s way of saying she was happy about it.
It is a bit crazy, really. But it’s become one of those things that gives me comfort – and, ultimately, that’s why people give different meanings to these objects and things.
And I’m not for one second saying my Mum was the size of the moon. She wasn’t. And she’d have killed me if I said something like that!
For those that have read my recent Facebook & Twitter posts, you’ll know that I’m currently running 60k in November, raising money for Royal Papworth Hospital Charity and Tiny Changes. I’m now just over 20k of the way there.
Last night, I was tired…but knew I had to go for a run. The thing I’ve found with these half hour outings is that sometimes the hardest bit is to motivate yourself to get out, pass that mental hurdle…and in a way, that’s true of every challenge I’ve done – for example, the Three Peaks…you reach that point where your mind is telling you to give up, but you have to overcome it. It is often the hardest part.
After I got out and started running, I found I was having one of those runs…Spotify packed in, my pace went off…it was a nightmare. But then I looked up and, on the darkest night, the moon was shining bright. A reminder of why I’m doing the run. My Mum, she’s still watching me. I carried on.
And I will continue to carry on and reach that 60k.
Another difficult run I had, where half way through I started to think “I can’t do this today”, was met half way through by the Frightened Rabbit song ‘Head Rolls Off’ playing on Spotify. The lyric, “While I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to Earth” ringing through my ears. The lyric that inspired the name for the charity, Tiny Changes. Another reminder…don’t forget why you’re doing this.
Something carries on.
If you’d like to sponsor me on my 60k in November…please click here and use the donate button at the bottom of the post to donate to Papworth Hospital in memory of my Mum: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=624717261392302&id=100015621019285
Or if you’d like to donate to Tiny Changes, a charity that does great work for young people suffering with mental health problems, please donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adam-is-going-running?newPage=True
Cheers for reading, thanks to anybody that has donated and thanks to those that do donate.
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