Saturday, 1 August 2009

It's not about the ride

Some times, a bike ride is far more than just a bike ride.

Three days ago, my Dad died of a heart attack. He'd had a minor one about two weeks ago, followed by a stroke, and had been in hospital for about ten days. He was discharged last Tuesday as he seemed to be doing really well. Then Wednesday morning, about 6:15am, came the heart attack that killed him - pretty much there and then. He was unconcious immediately, the paramedics arrived within minutes, but despite working on him (both at home and in A&E) for over an hour, there was nothing they could do. He was probably dead before the paramedics arrived. At least he was at home, and went quickly and painlessly.

As you can imagine, things have been difficult. On Wednesday, I had just left the house for an early ride when Elaine called my mobile - my Mum having rung the house. I was back within minutes, and we were at the hospital before the ambulance. Then... stuff happened. Nothing I'm putting down here.

Wednesday was unreal, strange, shocking, confusing. Thursday was slightly better, as was yesterday. It still hasn't really sunk in though. Yesterday the family discussed arrangements, music, catering, flowers, guests. We also ate cake, drank beer, wine and brandy, and laughed a little (OK, a lot, especially when I introduced my Mum to LOL Cats).

This morning I went out on the road bike, in the rain, hurting myself for a couple of hours. On the bike I can focus, think, clear my head of the thoughts that go round and round. I wouldn't have been able to write this yesterday.

That's one of the key things I love about bike riding. I've used it in the past when my mind has been all over the place, when I've been too stressed to think, but can still take a singlespeed bike out to the woods and exist in the moment. It strips everything away that isn't "right here/right now", and afterwards it feels like your brain has been washed, 40C, with fabric softener. Most of the bad stains will be gone - some shadows will remain but that's all they are - shadows of something that's was there before but is now much less significant.

The next few days won't be easy, but they'll be easier.
Post a Comment