(If you don't, you will find it in this blog)
But now, the reason has changed. I no longer ride to save others. I am riding to save myself.
For the last 6 months, I have been wading through a pool of grief in search for shallow waters. For the first few weeks, everyone surrounded me and helped keep the tidal wave away. But one by one, almost everyone has let go. And now I find myself in the deep waters - struggling to stay afloat.
The time since Mum died has been the biggest challenge that I have faced. Mum died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 62. But what came next is what has torn me apart.
- Pulling up in your parents driveway to find a coroners van and police awaiting your arrival.
- Watching your mum being wheeled out in a body bag from her home. (but glad you stood beside her on that final exit from her home)
- Wishing you had of kissed her one last time.
- Realising 3 months later Mum had claustrophobia and had mentioned that she didn't want the bag zipped over her face. I wish I had of remembered that on the night of October 7.
- Having to accept that an autopsy had to be performed despite it being against mum's wishes.
- Waiting 4 1/2 months to find out it was something as simple as choking in her sleep that took her life. But because of her nightly medication, she couldn't wake to fight it. Drug intoxication and asphyxiation caused by aspiration pneumonia.
- Having to understand the above cause of death by means of talking to the Chief Pathologist at the Melbourne Institute of Forensic Medicine. Those are conversations I wish I could forget, but haunt me day and night.
- Being stuck in a state of grief induced depression and realising the challenge my mum faced everyday as she battled bipolar and depression for many years.
- Trying not to be the crazy mother that I had and explaining to my 8 and 7 year old why mummy sometimes cries, yells and gets frustrated over the little things.
Getting through the grief is something that I have to do alone and in my own time. So through my riding, I am making that time. But not just riding anymore. I am adding swimming and running to the mix.
Instead of treading water, I will put my head down, kick my legs and swim. There will be days where I have the clear blue calm water and other days where it will be rough and choppy.
Time on the bike will be my free time to feel the wind in my hair, the breeze in my face and a time to release my thoughts.
And instead of running away from my problems, I will run alongside them and use their energy to keep me going.
The perfect mix to train for something I never ever thought I could do - a Triathlon. And I hope that by the time I get to the finish line, I would have found the strength and courage to face the choppiest seas, ride the steepest hills and run down the other side with a smile on my face.
To do this is going to be hard. Already my daily routine has me up by 6am and not stopping until 8:30pm. So finding time to add a training schedule has been a challenge. But I feel I have to. Comfort eating and a glass of wine each night has certainly not helped. But keeping a diary, understanding what I need and now putting it in place hopefully will.
Tomorrow I will wake up and it will be exactly 6 months since mum passed away. Half a year. 26 weeks where every single day has been a challenge in someway for me. But every single day I got up and I got through the day because I had to. I got through it because my kids needed me to. I got through it because my step dad needed to see someone else get through another day. And I got through it because my mum couldn't.
So welcome to my new Reason 2 Ride. This will become a blog of my training and a diary of "what happens on the trip". I am breaking rules, because I know there are others out there who appreciate my honesty.
And for all of my Angels and Fighters - you all still live with me every day. You all have families out there who are in different stages of grief, so hopefully we can help each other!