I feel like I’m blast from the deep past – my utter failure to put finger to keyboard is simply a reflection of the last few months activities and events which have surrounded, overtaken and bombarded my head space.
But it’s like riding a bike, right? I’ll get back into my blogging space and you’ll get used to reading (maybe even all of) my mindless mutterings… So, let’s do this. Hands firmly gripping the handlebars, it’s time to get those wheels rolling.
You may remember (you may not) that I like to give a little warning at the beginning of these things. Manage expectation and all that.
This blogs warning = this is not the lightest, fluffiest blog you are going to read all week and language is likely to be ever so slightly on the flowery side. I refer back to my initial para – there’s been some hard life events occuring in the world of freckles and fire and as this blog has become an extension of my over-burdened mummy mind I feel it is only fair to let you in a little, and then of course ask for a little help at the end.
A couple of weeks ago I hit the big 36 – not a particularly momentous birthday to be honest. Close to the bigger 40 and further away from that shrinking, in the glimmering distance, 21. Anyrate, staying with beautiful friends in the beautiful Yorkshire and the day before the 36th bday I went for a run (the reason as to why I am running on A. a birthday weekend and B. while spending time with said beautiful friends, will become clear if you continue this read!), and it was here that I experienced my first ever meditative, mindful run. For quite some time I was entirely focused on my breath and, without sounding too naff, the serene countryside laid out in front of me. For those moments it was pretty darn amazing. I felt alive. And alive in that moment. Not caught in a frightening long to-do-list, or the over-analysis of a conversation, an email, or text. And then like a fricking bolt out of the clear beautifully blue sky my reality hit, punching the air out of already 'I've had enough' lungs - and I made a pact then and there.
You see, a couple months ago our very dear friends lost their most precious love. Their 7-year old most wonderful son was snatched by the desperately cruel hands of cancer.
This is Owen, about a year or so ago now, but certainly Owen at his finest. Covered in mud and getting down and dreadfully dirty as every little boy and girl should! To his left sits like a partner-in-crime - his superstar sister Esther and then our little pickle, Bea, on the right.
The story of Owen is too sad for words, quite frankly too difficult to attempt to communicate and, I’m not honestly sure it is one that necessary for you to read. I’m sure you can imagine. Imagine their days, their nights and every single minute of every single hour filled with that C word in the back of your mind. Sitting, attending and listening to numerous doctors, nurses, consultants and experts talk through diagnosis, scans and treatments. Willing to wake from the dream. Willing beyond all willing for there to be a fairy tale ending. And amongst all of that, knowing that no amount of willing will actually do any darn good.
Until we, as a mother, father, sister or grandparent sit in the seat that they have sat in, we can never really understand the journey they have been down or the path that they are now on. As much as I try, I don’t. But I do see a flicker of it, sometimes, in their eyes. And quite frankly there is not a being on this earth that I could wish that on.
There was light at the end of Owen’s tunnel. That light came in the form of the Chestnut Tree Hospice.
Under their wings there were able to laugh, cry, live and simply be together. In and amongst the trauma and despair they were kept safe, comforted, reassured and protected.
So here comes the reason and the nutshell of this blog and that pre-birthday run. In 2017 I’m going to attempt to do Tunbridge Wells half, the Hastings Half and the Brighton Marathon. All in the space of three shit-you’re-kidding-me-months.
The reason is quite simple but actually three-fold.
The most obvious is to get some wonga into those Hospice Wings to make sure they can continue wrapping them around children and families who need it, when they need it and where they need it.
The second is to show our darling friends that not a day goes by that we don’t think of Owen and his wonderful soul. For them to know that our lives will always be entwined with the love we have for him, for his sister and for them.
And the third is a bit more selfish. Every running step, every practice and during each ‘race’ (NB – I shan’t be racing anyone, not even myself!) I will stop my hamster wheel mind and think of nothing but the days, moments and memories that I shared with him, and if those memories run out (I’m not expecting a particularly competitive time shall we say!) – I shall stop and restart each of those moments again.
You don’t need to know me, to know owen or even the family that have been left behind. You just need to believe in humanity and help me raise as much as possible for the wonder that is the Chestnut Tree Hospice. Help raise funds to protect others and to remember Owen.
So – and watch out here comes the plea – please please please don’t have the coffee tomorrow and support this instead. Not for me, but for Owen and the 300 other children that so awfully need to have those hospice wings curled around their little bodies.
ps – I promise this is not some ego-enhancing challenge or has anything to do with enabling me to eat my own body weight in cake (although every job has its perks – James’ firm has no idea how much our kids love his pens!!). This run, this challenge, is simply a vehicle. A way to, not only raise funds, but to keep Owen alive in the minds and hearts of those that had the honour of knowing him and being part of his far too short life.