Tough challenge ahead this week.

Tuesday 17 May 2016. Almost very nearly precisely a year ago. Blog posts that I’ve not read back since I wrote them. Unable to look at what I tried to express on that Tuesday…..and then…then the Wednesday. I just tried again. I just failed again. 
My dad died on Wednesday 18 May. A form of lung cancer that spread to his kidneys and other parts of his prematurely-aged body. He fought and fought. By God, he fought. Just two weeks prior, we’d been watching the rugby live in Cardiff, drinking Brains in packed pubs, laughing with cousins and close friends… and then…then 10 days later he was rushed in to hospital again….and then he didn’t leave. We were all there, we all got to spend quality time with him, we laughed with him, and he never once mentally gave up. Sure, physically, you could see the collapse. His body fucked him about for days. Mentally,  he fought and fought, battled, scrapped with the terror taking him. I’ll never forget spending the night in his hospital room, darkness drawing life out of the room at 3am, despite the artificial, lifeless glare of the overhead lights. He couldn’t breathe,  his O2 was up at Max, and he stayed calm. He breathed shallow, controlled, hour after hour after hour…until daylight and the life of a new day returned. He slept then, recharged as best he could for what lay ahead.

I’ll never forget that. In the year since it has inspired me on more than one occasion. Of course, I’ve never been through a battle like that, what I do doesn’t compare even slightly. But his strength pushes me all the time.

So, this week is going to be tough. We put so much stock and attention in to anniversaries that it is impossible to treat this week…or that day…like any other. My mother, sisters and I will have dinner together on Thursday, 18 May 2017. I dont know how it’s going to be but I’m happy to be with them. Mrs Nomad and I have tried to anticipate this week, we’ve aimed off for the emotion with the children. I didn’t think it would actually be that bad. 

Feelings are already beginning to roll in, to hit, like the first, clean, building waves of a storm against a shore, before the chaotic riot of water, surf, weed, and hidden rocks tumbling me over and round, uncontrolled. 

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Your kids have to be useful for something…as free weights! (and, the Bean Game)

Just a quick one today as I’m out and about other places. I am unable to train today and so did a workout with the children yesterday instead of resting. ¬†Whenever I get home and ask our 3 what they would like to do with daddy, the first answer is ALWAYS, “Exercises!” For whatever reason, my passion for fitness is rubbing off on them and they love taking part in whatever workout I have planned as well as then showing off their own awesome physical gymnastic attributes. Our eldest is 7 1/2, while the twins are almost 5 – all girls – all action princesses.

And who am I to disappoint them ūüėČ

So, for a warm up, the Bean Game.

Over 5 mins, call out from a range of ‘Beans’:

  • Runner – Run around the room.
  • Jumping – Two-footed jumping around the room.
  • Broad – Jump in to a wide arm, wide legged stance.
  • String – Stand straight and tall, arms straight up above you.
  • Kidney – ¬†Like String but then bend over to the left and right.
  • Jelly – Start shaking and wobbling like a plate of jelly.
  • Baked – Curl up on the floor in a ball.
  • Beans on Toast – Lay flat on the floor with arms stretched out wide.
  • French (Stop and cry out, “ooh, la la!”)

You can see that with a little imagination you can have your family (and you, because you HAVE to join in) doing burpees, running, stretches, jumping, star jumps….it’s brilliant!

Then we had a little race that they like to do around the house, for time. 7 x 10 sec sprint around a course in the house gets them going!

And on to the “workout”:

5 x For Good Form

  • 5 x Push Ups
  • 5 x Squats
  • 5 x Sit Ups
  • 5 x Lunges

We went through the first 2 rounds as a warm up, practicing the movements – obviously, they’re squatting is much better than mine although I’m happy to say that I’m pretty close these days! For the final 3 rounds, I used 1 child as a weight for each movement, either on my back or in my arms (including the situps), while the other 2 children completed 2 more rounds each. The twins were testing enough at about 16kg while the eldest’s 26kg was a step up!

They all absolutely loved it and we had great fun messing about with exercises; I’m so proud of their enjoyment of it.

My Father’s Day. I miss you, Dad.

Dad,

It’s been just a day over a whole month since we parted. If I’m honest, I’ve not done too badly so far; a few wobbles here and there; I’ve been there for Mum. My sisters and I have talked a lot and of course we’ve kept the Welsh side very engaged. It really just feels like I’ve not spoken to you in a while and that at any point you’ll email me or send me a WhatsApp message about the rugby. Then you don’t and I feel confused. We always talk after the rugby. Always, Dad. To be fair, it’s been pretty torrid. New Zealand are predictably dancing a merry dance over us despite our best efforts; and they are good efforts but they’re just not good enough, as usual. Obviously, the thousand and one forward passes that NZ seem to get away with has helped and I’m sure you’d have something to say about some dubious high tackling and challenges in the air too. The thing is, Dad, I can hear you saying them and that’s …..kind of alright, apparently….except it isn’t. I want to challenge you, to pick your brains and to hear your thoughts. But all I have are reflections, ‘recordings’ of you in my head that I can’t interact with. I know what you would say about things we’ve shared together but what about all the stuff we won’t share, Dad? I think I know how you would react, feel, frown, smile…..but what would you say? You were a man of carefully chosen words and I appreciated that so much; I tried to learn the same skill from you but I don’t feel like I got it all; how can I know what you would say about Bethany’s first boyfriend or Freya and Chloe ganging¬†up on the school bully to protect someone?. How are they going to know their Pops’ words?? There was more to come and I’m missing out now. How am I supposed to complete my learning as a man and a father without you here? I’m going to get lost, surely? Help me, Dad?!

Except that, Dad, you know what? As I’ve gone through Fathers’ Day today and gulped down the tears at every card, advert, restaurant menu special, I’ve realised that when once you were my teacher, then my coach, you¬†since became¬†my mentor. I’ve reflected on the last few years and seen that where once there might have been telling, direction, coercion, coaxing, now there was merely suggestion and a gentle word. Where we might still have disagreed, there has been acceptance that I’ve made my decisions based on the sound direction and guidance you’ve given me in the past. Where we’ve agreed, it’s been as 2 best friends; 2 friends who shared some hidden secret for 37 years, a bond that was utterly unique and golden. Even the silences we shared on long car journeys or in the house or pottering in the garden were the silence of comfortable companions, happy that the space didn’t have to simply be filled with anything. You’d have been pleased yesterday, Dad; I got my shed to the point where I was about to label everything and ban anyone from going in there. I think I just stepped back from the brink there though.

It is this understanding of where we were as friends that has given me comfort today, Dad. When I look up at the photos of you above¬†my desk, I see the happiest, strongest, most caring father a man could wish for. In each of the photos, I can see what you are thinking in your eyes, I can see the joy in you and I immediately hear the words I need to hear. And because I can hear you, I don’t feel lost. I know you taught me all you needed to teach me and the words you wrote in my birthday card were true, “All that need be said between us has been said. So Proud Of You Son”. You had reached that point where you could just take a step back and smile. You looked on me with pride, I know, I feel it every day. That pride, from someone as loved and respected as you, gives me the confidence I need to be the father I know you saw in me.

It doesn’t make it easy though, Dad. This feeling of our communications just being ‘cut off’ still confuses me greatly. I want to phone EE and tell them to give me your new number. I can’t believe you’re not there. This is still so unfair. I miss you so much all the time. But you’re still there. You’re still there when I need to hear you laugh, I can picture your upset at another Welsh loss, I can imagine your pride at Bethany’s sports day, or the Twins’ gymnastics. I can imagine your love for them as they grow up and begin to lead lives of their own, even one day having their own families. And I know what you would say for each scenario that presents itself.

How can I picture all of this and know this with such confidence? Because you taught me well as a child, Dad. You coached me through some pretty mental times as a petulant and trying young adult, and you mentored me in to the husband of a wonderful, loving wife and father to 3 warrior princesses. I know that I see the world through the eyes that you and Mum gave me and that had you thought there was anything more for me to learn, you’d have let me know. As our girls grow up, they will hear your thoughts and words through me; you will live on in that way, Dad, and they will know you.

I miss you, Dad, that is true. I’ll miss you every day, forever.

“Thank you for Everything” seems too short; for that I am sorry, you would¬†have thought of something better. But I mean it. I mean it with my whole heart.

UDRM, Dad.

I miss you, buddy. xx

Love always,

 

Son.

x

 

Thurs 2 Jun – Left foot. Right foot. Repeat. Lunge for Life.

Slightly over the top title but by then end of this, it wasn’t far off. This WOD proves that there is NO excuse for not getting at least something in every day.

KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid.

image

With the funeral tomorrow, emotions run hot and cold. I was lucky to have been so close to my Dad and there have been times where it would have been easier, albeit dangerous, to just wallow and melt. Exercise has been my balance.

Left foot, right foot, repeat.

Sure, the product hasn’t been great over the last month but it’s the ‘means’ and the process that have been important. Just 10-15 mins of intense, functional movements have made an incredible difference to my general well-being.

MetCon

For Time:

400m Walking Lunges

Time: 10:57 Rx

Keen to emphasise Rx, the back knee touched the ground of every one of the 366 steps. The first 150 steps unbroken, the remainder were in 20s and 10s with only a 1 sec pause between sets. Lunges were sets of short and sets of long, engaging quads and glutes accordingly. It’s an 83rd percentile score on Beyond The Whiteboard too.

Nutrition
Bacon, eggs, tonne of salad, homemade scotch egg.

Probably some beer later, there is some family death stuff going on, of course!!

Well-being

It’s hard, being at Mum and Dad’s place, but being with Mum, my family, my sisters et al makes it better.

And the lunges. They helped too!

Left foot, right foot, repeat.