I’ve now returned home from my extended visit to Australia, meeting (most of) my partner’s large family for the first time.
This was the third year of my kilometres = years birthday walking challenge on behalf of the Samaritans. I walked 32 km while still in Australia, and another 30 km back home here in the UK. I was a bit worse for wear after the long flight home so it was a bigger challenge than I expected. I do this walk in remembrance of Pax and Catherine: Read more about the motivation here
There were over 2,200 views of this blog in June – the most ever in a month. The single most popular article was <The long road of grief & the dangers of losing hope (sorry, there aren’t 5 stages)>
I suppose it speaks to the difficult state of grief that many people find themselves in. I trust it also might have sparked some hope that the darkest moments do not last forever.
C.S. Lewis described such acute pain of loss in “A Grief Observed”, not glossing over the pain but facing into it and travelling through it. This has made his book such a powerful book for anyone who is grieving, and even more so for those who struggle with their loss from a faith perspective. (Copyright-free download here)
Back to my own news: This past weekend I ran a 2-day workshop in Ashtead. It went great and all of the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Now I’m looking forward to a few quiet weeks to work at home and try to fix our garden that went rogue during our absence. Our next retreats are in Gloucestershire, Yorkshire, Scottish Borders, Sussex and Devon, and I hope that some people reading this might join us there. Find out more about these events here: Living with Loss Retreats
May you find hope and strength in your own journey onwards. Enjoy the summer.
“My way” – 62 kms – in love and memory of Pax and Catherine, and in support of The Samaritans
The first 12 kms were by the sea all of the way in the Gold Coast on a glorious sunny morning – 27th May – Pax’s anniversary.
The next 10 kms was an evening walk from where we were staying in Labrador towards Surfer’s Paradise. This giant figure reminds me of Catherine, who always loved hats.
No shortage of beach walks! This was the third day. I started in a park trying unsuccessfully to spot the ‘flying foxes’ (bats) and then went for another 10 km walk, this time ending up in Main Beach. You can see Surfer’s paradise in the background . This finished the first half of my challenge…
Back in the UK and ready to resume the walk with quite a different colour scheme. Gone is the aquamarine sparkle of the ocean; now it’s the deep green of the English summer. Today was 19th June – what would have been Catherine’s 39th birthday which I find quite difficult to imagine. Our loved ones who die young seem to be frozen in time. Today’s walk was on the Denstone-Oakamoor cycleway, underneath Alton village where Catherine is buried – and Alton Towers, the famous theme park. This was a bit of a slow walk as I was still struggling with jetlag and back pain, and I only managed 7 km.
The fifth walk was in the evening along the beautiful Churnet Valley in Staffordshire, starting in Froghall and finishing 10 km further along the canal, past Deep Hayes Country Park and at one of my favourite pubs. However the rain poured down for the last part of my walk and I was soaked, so we skipped a visit to the pub and drove home.
The rain and sun produced this beautiful rainbow over Staffordshire
The final day of the challenge was my birthday on 21st June. I headed up to one of my favourite walks along the River Dove from Milldale to Hartington, and then went across country to the Tissington Trail and eventually met up with John. I needed to do 13 kms to finish but I walked at least 16 – I hadn’t planned it very well. As it’s the Peak District, unsurprisingly there was quite a bit of up and down, and I was well and truly ‘finished’ at the end of the day.
Wildflowers at the side of the path, with just a few feet to go! That was 62 km completed. Half ‘down under’, half close to home. And a good amount of donations raised for Samaritans – thank you so much to everyone who gave whether financially or through your friendship.
Read more: Subject index