I realise that my blog has a tendency towards the tough times and my battles. That’s what has inspired me to write. But don’t get me wrong – on my good days I am on fire!!
This morning I was up early for my first run in over a year. Pregnancy wasn’t the kindest (in the sense of sickness and other ills), then birth (enough said), and breastfeeding, which means I haven’t run since last summer.
I always had in mind that I’d enjoy the first 6 months post-partum focussing on my little one, and listen to my body to know when it was ready to resume. Running has always been my go to when I’m feeling stressed. Some days I leave my worries behind without a second thought. Other days they go round and round in my head while I’m running but I find I get a new perspective when I’m out on the trail. At times I’m at my most creative when I’m out on a run and come back raring to go with fresh inspiration. Running leaves you dirty, achy and tired, but I never feel worse when I’ve been out for a run (mentally at least).
I’ve been feeling the urge to get out for a couple of weeks now. And what a morning I picked. I was out just as the sun was creeping up. It was fresher than I was expecting, damp underfoot, but I ran with squelchy toes through the farmers’ fields and footpaths behind our house. I was rewarded with the most beautiful sunrise. It was slow and steady. I stopped too many times to take photos. I didn’t run far. That was enough for me.
When I return home, the house was is still quiet. There is fresh coffee to be had, a hot shower, and facing the day with a smug smile.
I know the feeling wears off a little. I know the initial motivation will dull over time and it will be harder to get out, when the mornings are cold and dark. I’ve been there.
But right now, in this moment, I feel invincible.
This week it’s been 7 years since my brother was killed.
The pain is less raw now, but this year as the anniversary comes around, a new emotion is surfacing. It feels more poignant now that I’m a mother myself. I can feel more deeply how devastating it has been for my parents to have their child taken. Although I’ve witnessed their pain up close, there was no way I could empathise so clearly until I became a mother myself.
No one can prepare you for the torrent of emotions that come with becoming a mum. I now know how it feels to have a little piece of you, out in the big wide world. The emotions of the big milestones which overwhelm and excite, and the small day to day events that seem so insignificant but become your whole entire existence. The relentlessness, the hopes and fears, the blood sweat and tears that you put into making sure that a small person is alive at the end of the day, every single day. That’s what you live for, for their survival. And I’m only just getting started.
7 years ago when the pain was still raw and we were still in shock, I lamented all the things that I’d lost. I wouldn’t be an Auntie, he wouldn’t be in my kids’ lives, and we wouldn’t be raising little people together. For a while, there was so much fear in me that I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be ready to take such a leap anyway. It was a very personal grief, very much about ‘I’. As the years have passed my grief has softened around the edges, we found a new normal, a new existence. But it’s back with a new force.
It will always be different for me now. I cry for all the things I’ve lost, but more for what my parents have lost. I fear for the future, but not for mine, for my child’s. But at the same time, everything makes sense now. What it means to be human and to live fully in the face of fear. I’m not afraid any more to feel so intensely. As it’s only in the ups and downs of bringing life into the world that I’ve been able to truly understand the beautiful fragility of life and why it’s all worthwhile.