Thursday, December 7, 2017

My Dad

On Tuesday 5th of December, Motor Neuron Disease, which has been cripling my wonderful father all year, brought his lungs to a point where even his immense will could not make them go, and killed him.

Our conversations over the past few days have been interspersed with 'oh, we need to tell that person / group of people, they / some of them were really fond of him'. I think pretty much everyone who ever met him was. My siblings and I had a good laugh / cry on Tuesday night trying imagine the one person that didn't like Dad. I've had so many lovely messages from people who met him through me, sometimes only once or twice, and knew how wonderful he was.

I don't want to sound arrogant, but I really love who I am. And so much of that comes from my Dad. He gave me my love of public speaking, of dancing, of games, of logic, of puzzles, a lot of my sense of humour, warmth, love of people, of learning, of words, of music. From him comes my tendency to pick up a new passion or hobby, fall deeply in love with it, and do / practice / learn about it all I can. From him comes my (reasonably) quiet determination, and I believe his was all that kept him alive since the nurses said he could go any minute last Thursday.

Our time with him over the past week was a blessing. It was difficult, and the waiting for an awful but inevitable thing was exhausting. But spending so much time with my immediate family, in a way we haven't done in a long, long time, was beautiful. My brother reckons Dad organised it that way on purpose. He was mostly sleeping, but we had some really lovely moments with him when he was awake.

I am going to miss my Dad terribly. But I will also always have him with me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ask Culture, Guess Culture, me, and Tea

I find the concept of 'ask culture versus guess culture' fascinating. I find it really useful for understanding social interactions that otherwise didn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm normally very much an ask culture person. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. But I've realised one 'guess culture' thing I have. If I say 'do you want a cup of tea or coffee' to someone who is, for one reason or another, briefly in my home, that's not all I mean. It is a genuine offer of tea or coffee, but more than that it is also an invitation to stay and hang out, and a request for further company. I don't know why I don't say 'I'm enjoying your company. I'm not busy for the next while, wanna stay and hang out?' But I don't.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mini Marathon 2017

I've completed the Mini Marathon four times now. The first time I did so was not long after I had taken up running, and I was mostly just viewing it as 'another race'. When I took part I realised that it was much more a fundraising event. So many different people displaying their causes proudly. I nearly cried several times reading t-shirts. I knew that if I took part again I would do so for a cause. The second time I ran for Alzheimer Society of Ireland in memory of Terry Pratchett. And the third I ran for CMRF, as the staff in Crumlin had saved my son's life when he went into anaphylactic shock at seven months old.

It's still a race though. I've improved my time each year. I'm particularly proud of this year's time or 51 minutes and 18 seconds. 42 seconds faster than I was aiming for, nearly 3 and a half minutes faster than last year, and over 5 minutes faster than the year before. It was particularly pleasing because I've been missing a lot of BHAA races lately, and had felt a little like my running skill had plateaued. A 5 minute improvement on your 10K PB over two years is not a plateau! I really pushed myself to get there, as can be seen from these before and after pictures:

This year's charity was particularly close to my heart. My Dad was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease just after Christmas. I've been fundraising for IMND for the race and the response has been phenomenal. I was also interviewed for a 'human interest' story for the Evening Herald on the topic.

I told my Mam yesterday to make sure Dad understood that the reporter had played up the 'she really wants to see him at the finish line' angle because it made a good story, and that I care more about him looking after himself. I didn't want him pushing himself to come and see me. I meant it. But when I sat down on the ground after pushing myself over the finish, felt my mam touch me on the shoulder and looked up to see my Dad there. Well, I'm gonna carry that moment with me for a very long time.