The running bit first:
tapering is going well. The marathon (Dublin City) is just over 8 days away and despite having had an injury free training and missing very few runs I am racked by doubt.
Have I done enough? Am I over eating? Am I under eating? Do I have pneumonia? Do I have arthritis of the hips, knees and ankles?
So, as I said, the tapering is going well.
Now, the meat of the post – 25 years ago today.
On October 16th 1985 my father died. He was 51 and I was 14. He had 6 kids and I was the second eldest with my brothers and sisters ranging from 16 down to 7.
It was quite traumatic as he died suddenly and we were woken in the middle of the night to be told the news. I still remember my very first thought (apart from the idea that this was not reality) which was that I wouldn’t get a new bicycle after my school exams. This was part of the bargain with him for studying. I know that it sounds surreal that that would be your first thought but the workings of a teenage boy’s brain are a mystery. Needless to say, this thought gave way to much more serious and upsetting emotions.
The best metaphor I could use to describe the death of a parent as perceived by a child is that it is like a large boulder being dropped into a small stream. It will change your life forever but when you look back at it (from further down the river) you realise that it becomes part of the river and doesn’t stop the river and, the larger the river, the easier it is to deal with it.
It helped that my mother always spoke about him to us so as a family we don’t ‘clam up’ about death or about the memory of our dad.
Now I have 3 kids and I’m 39 and although it seems like a lifetime away to others I remember it like it was last week. I took my kids out to the grave today to show them where granddad was buried. My eldest said: ‘Dad, doesn’t it get boring, just lying there in a box all the time?’
By the way, I got the bike so things turned out OK and I grew up to be a ‘nice, balanced individual’