I remember the morning very well. The previous night my Dad had passed away and I had woken up to a different world and, quite frankly, I didn’t know where to begin. His death had come out of nowhere and so there was no getting ready for it and I still couldn’t take it all in.
I sat at the bottom of the stairs in shock and looked up to see my running shoes, that I had bought a few weeks before, and thought to myself, ‘why not do a Forrest Gump and go for a run?’ I had maybe been for two or three runs previously and had never managed to get more than a kilometre.
I ran from my home towards St Mary’s lighthouse in Whitley bay. It was maybe 2km away, a little further if the tide was out enabling you to run across the causeway and get across to the lighthouse base.
I ran without thinking, and forgot that I was tired and that my lungs hurt, and ran further than I had ever run in one go. I couldn’t tell if my eyes were running due to the wind that was blowing sand into my face or tears, it didn’t matter.
I got across the causeway and found a place to sit. It perched on a rock and just caught my breath and watched the waves for a while. I will remember what happened next for the rest of my days. An elderly lady, easily in her eighties, was walking her little dog along and stopped right next to me. She put her little frail hand on my head and looked down at me and just said, ‘It’s ok son, everything will be ok’. I guess I was crying.
She smiled at me, walked off, and has probably never thought of that moment again. I have. Kindness, caring for others and taking a moment to make other peoples lives a little easier for no self reward. It meant everything to me.
Why am I sharing this with you today?
Today would have been my fathers birthday and today was the first day in around two months that I have been able to run without pain in my foot. I ran to the lighthouse and although the tide was in and I couldn’t get to the same spot, just for a second I looked over and saw the stone that I had sat on and I thought about that moment and all the way back home I thought about my Dad.
Life does go on, but it will always be a little different, a little harder with a little piece of me missing. I miss you Dad, thank you for being such a huge part in the person that I am today.