My New Found Escape

Jogging

When times are hard and life gets you down it’s all to easy to become disheartened at the smallest of obstacles. Life becomes an everyday battle. An uphill struggle and you begin soul searching in attempt to remedy the hazy horizons before you.

People have often spoke about exercise to me and if I am honest I thought they were insane, what good can possibly come out of me exerting myself to within an inch of my life, breathing so hard I think I might die, getting so hot I might combust, working so hard every muscle feels its been pulled around the earths equator and released like a bungee rope….How in the hell can that make me feel good?

It was nearing the time of New Years resolutions and a good friend said to me, “Kelly, please join this ‘Couch to 5K’ http://cnycap.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Couch-to-5k.pdf programme and I will run it too to show you some support and we will get you running 5k in 9 weeks.” my initial reaction “I cant bloody walk 5k let alone run the damn thing, are you trying to kill me” and then she said something that totally struck a chord with me and found myself enrolling immediately… she simply said “I think it will be good for you mind, body and soul” so I approached the idea of running in new way and thought if this running could be my outlet for ‘headspace’ and freedom from my thoughts, then I’m in and so the 9 week programme began.

Spurred on with this thought of escapism from reality I found myself running in minus weather conditions, snow, sleet, rain and wind. No-one was more surprised than I!!! Initially it was very easy to follow the programme as it had been designed as a platform for people that have barely lifted a cheek from their sofas since the first airing of Eastenders. Week one involved literally running for 1 minute and then walking for 90 seconds…. Totally elated, with red cheeks and a sweaty forehead half an hour later, on my new found high “Yay I can run” and I began to believe I could actually achieve this and running, 1 minute isn’t a lot of running UNTIL YOU actually RUN IT…

Gradually week by week the programme increased by small increments steadily building on your stamina, I will never be a marathon runner nor will I be giving Usain Bolt a run for his money anytime soon, nevertheless I try and when I try to do something I will apply 100% of what ever it is I have got to give …. “All or Nothing” a motto I stand firm to.

My Monday evening jogging with my friends became a necessary outlet for me, daily my mind was a wash with a mushy mish mash of everything, a constant image reel of Elliot’s, Louis and Corey’s faces in my mind, flashing round and round like they are on a repetitive slideshow. Ill never forget them but I need space from them and space from this life without them in it. I found running gave me this. From the minute I began the steady ‘plod’ …… I smile from ear to ear when typing the word ‘plod’ as this was a term used to describe our running in the early weeks, described by my faithful friend Lisa… anyway back to the plodding… From the minute I began the steady plod around the jolly heights of Leighton Buzzard I found my mind was clear, clear from almost everything, another huge benefit of jogging. Allowing you the time to think about life’s problems or time to escape them for awhile, tension easily flies by the wayside. Speed runs are great for tearing through aggression and anger. Focus all that emotion into a few sprints and you’ll feel better in no time. I say the word ‘Speed’ loosely for many could briskly walk quicker than my sprint but in my head I was at least levelling and on par with our great Dame Kelly Holmes…. Weren’t I?

Week 9 came very quickly and I was nervous anxious and excited to participate my first ever 5K run…. I ‘plodded’ around the 5K route and completed my circuit in 36 minutes. Mission Accomplished.

So from being a couch potato I now run 5k 2-3 times a week and I am proud to say I DON’T ENJOY IT… If I’m honest while I’m running I don’t particularly enjoy it but at the end of the run or ‘plod’, that’s when I am awash with a great sense of achievement and that buzz people have hyped on at me about for years and years, and I have to agree with them it feels SHAMAZING! On these days accomplishment reins over sorrow and grief is placed to a compartment at the back of my mind because when I run, I run for peace, I run to escape the self persecution and self blame I have become all too familiar with, I run to numb my reality and be ‘Kelly’ NOT Lilly-Ella Toby and Isla’s mummy, NOT Robs Wife or the Bereaved Mother of Three…. I run for ME!

So I am eternally thankful to Lisa for offering me a direction and an outlet for soul searching and a shoulder to snuffle on (On THAT day) and I thank her whole heartedly for her continual support along the way and through her I am pleased to of met Laura a likeminded female with an amazing ‘minimum effort – maximum output’ type of run that I am yet to master and without forgetting the one and only Jayne, my fellow ‘stealthy remedial runner’ whom I have ran alongside and together we joked, laughed and breathed heavier than prank caller but together the team of us amazingly great women have jogged villages and countryside far and wide as a quartet of insignificant hobbits….

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Living In The Shadows Of The Old Me

grief

Life changes people in all sorts of ways, so why is it hard to accept that grief can change people too. Grief has changed me, it’s changed my sprit. I find myself re-prioritising my life and I know that grief is a journey. The many who have travelled along its path will tell you that it is one that will change you forever. I have toyed back and forth with this and I decided to write it in black and white and tell people how 3 of my children dying has changed me.

 

Diminishing Eternal Optimism

I was the eternal optimist with a desire and expectation for a favorable outcome, always looking at the glass as being half full and wearing rose tinted glasses. I always believed the good in people, believed if you were a good person good things will happen. The harsh reality is that whilst it is important to be a good person this is not enough to protect you from bad things happening the unfortunate truth is bad things happen to good people.

 

Ability To Prioritize

I used to be so organized and now Im absent minded failing to prioritize correctly, my head full of unfinished business, unpaid bills, and an entirety of half written lists wrote in chaotic swirly childish handwriting with bold red ticks next to the items I have actually managed to complete.

 

New Vulnerability

I now feel completely vulnerable, like you’re protected from nothing, the wall I built around myself many years ago, has restored itself to the tower it once was in an attempt to try and preserve what’s left within these walls.

 

Anger

It used to take a lot to make me angry or annoyed and I find myself being irrational and volatile at the smallest of things.  I was raised with my father resembling what was to me this ‘iconic tower of strength’ that didn’t show emotion, didn’t show or express deep sadness, nor talk or reveal pain and hurt. I mirrored this attribute and saw it as a sign of weakness, and this was at my detriment. At 33 years old I find it hard to let go of this and sometimes it has been said, I am seen as the ice maiden, hard faced or cold. Rest assured for this is not the case inside my heart is breaking beyond my control and I will never be the same. Don’t take for granted you know the whole story, judging a book by its cover and read what you want between the lines.

 

Crying years of tears

I find my self crying more frequent than I ever have before and this emotion that overwhelms me just takes over and overspills at the most inconvenient of times. Often stunning me and the people surrounding me at the time, leaving us all at a loss of what to say or do as I weep uncontrollably, like after finishing a run of 5k with my fellow running friends, or as I leave for the morning school run and I’m asked casually “How are you today?”… Oh nooooo the floodgates are opening, my throat begins to sting as I battle the urge to cry, my eyes well up still fighting back the unfamiliar and unwanted emotion to cry…

Annoyance

I find my self annoyed at peoples insignificances where before I had patience, and I would take the time to listen and sympathize, offer advice and nurture. Now I find myself comparing there dilemmas and quandary’s to the deaths of my three little boys, the losses I have endured and the problems grief bring to your life and then I am instantly angered at myself for being so uncompassionate for their predicaments are only insignificant to me because I am hurting to my core, to them the crisis they are dealing with is just as real as mine, its real, it’s a time of difficulty that is relevant to them and requires compassion and patience and above all a friend. I worry I’m not the friend I once was and not that wife I used to be.

 

I question daily is counselling something I require or something I need?

 

I have decided that right now it’s not for me, not yet…maybe one day when I am ready to let go of the only thing I have… my grief. My grief is all I have left of what I have lost and I am not ready to let that go, expel all, reveal the ghosts and set them free.

 

So concluding this blog I say I feel like I am living in the shadow of the old me, the fun carefree, optimistic, patient, and understanding mid thirties gal seems a distant memory. So now I have to work out my new me, how is she different from me, and do I even like her?