Returning to racing (and blogging)

Me and grandad at his 90th

Celebrating Grandad’s 90th birthday in July 2013

It’s been quiet on the blog for a while. My last post was in November. Since then it’s been a very difficult few months, which I hope explains my blogging absence.

In December my grandad died. He was 91-years-old. He was loved and adored. In July Grandad was diagnosed with angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer of the blood vessels. It started in February as a little red patch on his skin. We thought it was a rash. When it was finally diagnosed as cancer, the doctors told us it would spread very quickly. We were amazed at just how quickly.

I knew how ill my grandad was but I couldn’t bear to think of a time when he wouldn’t be here. I loved him so much. Grandad was very interested in my running. He followed athletics in the local paper and always looked for me and my club. I’ve written about him in my running blog before.

I was very close to Grandad but after his diagnosis I made sure I spent every spare minute with him. We liked to play dominoes. The last game we played he annihilated me eleven games to one, so even when he was ill, his mind was as sharp as ever.

grandad and his hat

Wearing a flat cap in true Yorkshire style. He bought it to hide his sarcoma.

At the beginning of December Grandad became very poorly. He was struggling to breathe. We suspected the cancer had spread to his lungs, but we weren’t sure. It was a difficult time, but he never complained. I don’t think he was honest about the pain or how difficult he was finding it. ‘I want to try something else,’ he said when the doctor visited on Monday 22nd December. He went into hospital that evening.

My mum and auntie went in the ambulance with him. It broke my heart to watch the ambulance leave when I knew he would never come home. I stood in the cold and the dark with my cousins watching the ambulance as it went up the hill and turned onto the main road.

Hospital was the best place for Grandad. He was much more comfortable. He was always surrounded by his family – daughters, granddaughters, great grandchildren. We had a final Christmas with him. Throughout his illness Grandad never lost his sense of humour. The Saturday before he died, he was laughing and joking. We had a lovely day with him. It was a good day.

The next day (Sunday) he took a turn for the worst. He died on Monday 29th December at 5.32am. It was very peaceful. I held his hand and told him I loved him.

After he died I felt numb. While he’d been ill I’d coped by running, which probably explains why I did so well last year. I’d even run when I injured my ribs, which wasn’t really sensible but it was my way of coping. When he’d gone I felt empty. There were days when I didn’t feel like running at all. I love racing but I didn’t feel like taking part. I took some time off.

with nan and grandad

With Nan and Grandad in the summer after winning a Yorkshire Vets medal

Every day without my grandad is hard and it gets harder because I just want to see him and hear his voice. ‘Hello girlie,’ he’d say. ‘Have you been running?’

In December, Chris and I won our club championship. I put the trophies into a bag and took them straight to show my grandad. He was delighted. When I’d won a Yorkshire veterans’ championship medal I’d done the same. ‘Can you believe I won a medal?’ I said.

‘The first of many,’ he replied and I’d laughed because it was a miracle I’d won one.

Over the past few weeks my love of running has returned. I need to get back into things. I’m not very fit. I’m definitely not as fit as last year, but I’ve entered a race. And I don’t care who’s behind me, or who’s in front, or even if I finish last. I’m just going to run and enjoy it and every step of the way I will think of my grandad and remember all the happy times. The race is on Sunday and I can’t wait.

 

 

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