It may look picturesque and relaxing but….

Looks can be deceiving. The lane bends to the left and then suddenly drops. And wow does it drop. One hundred yards of hell. Having had the pleasure of running up this slope I can officially call it a ‘ball breaker’.

Life is like that. Contentedly tottering along the paths that take you through life then suddenly you face an unexpected uphill struggle. Suddenly life becomes tough, it saps your energy, it tests you. The argument goes that when you get to the top of the hill you are a better person. Or your hot, sweaty and distinctly limping.

Three years ago mum went into hospital on my brothers birthday and left us a few days later on my birthday. Days after the funeral I found out the my partner was dying and had no more than a couple of weeks to live. Happily walking down the country lane and suddenly dealing with this and trying to get our young son through the shitstorm (sorry for the language but it’s the most apt word I can think of). It feels like the mother of all hills to climb and we are still climbing. Maybe the slope has eased a bit but the brow of the hill is still not in sight. Maybe it never will.

The meaning of my birthday has now changed forever. It’s not a day to be enjoyed anymore. I suspect if it was just me climbing this pesky hill then I would have sat down by now. But it’s not. That’s why everyday we start charging up that hill again. Son deserves that.

50 thoughts on “A hill

  1. Life-changing events like the death of a loved one can make everything seem harder, more tedious. I recently moved from a very toxic situation, and I almost feel like I left a cult. I know that is a strange analogy, but it feels the same. I am certainly not the person I once was, and I have to, for the sake of my daughter, press on.

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  2. I hope someday while you’re climbing that the grade will lessen and you’ll enjoy the walk once more. Until then, climb for your son, yes. You’re showing him that life continues after a shitstorm. That it may be a steep, difficult climb but the views from the top are lovely. And down the road there may be valleys or more hills waiting, but you’ll be by his side to help if he stumbles.

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  3. You’re right, your son deserves the daily charge. You’re being very strong. My birthday was wrecked in much the same way. We celebrated it in hospice, gathered around my mom’s bed as my family sang happy birthday to me, because my dad/sister insisted my mom wouldn’t have it any other way. She died a few days later. I’ve absolutely hated my birthday ever since…

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    1. I’m so sorry. It really sucks. I remember my sister giving me a birthday card and present in the car park after mum had left us. Few minutes later later walking with son trying to explain death and life. Since then in my eyes don’t have birthdays anymore. Today’s been lucky it’s 1.30pm and it’s nit been mentioned yet – long may that continue.

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  4. That’s alot to go through! You should celebrate being here. Being in one peice and being strong even when life has tried to throw you down… that’s one of the biggest celebrations…

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  5. After you have had your 21st birthdays are grossly over-rated in my opinion. Good only for drinking too much with your friends and/or family, both of which generally tend to be in shorter and shorter supply as the number of candles supposed to be on any potential ‘cake’ gets larger and larger.

    If you make it to 100 of them you will get a letter from the King! (won’t that have been worth the wait??) 😉

    A Question: Why did you run up the hill before the world changed? I assume you could have chosen to walk it or even to go another way?

    Humans tend to need a challenge… if life does not provide them to us we will make one for ourselves. Life has thrown you a doozy for sure, but you can survive it… and there are still the few occasional moments of good times to enjoy – along with your son.

    (Even if those are sometimes at your ‘expense’, like with the edible earplugs! ) 🙂

    Make the most of those, and see if you can appreciate more of the times when the path isn’t on a massive gradient (Up or downwards) but you are able to walk on the level, even if it is only for a few minutes or hours. Don’t walk those while carrying some very heavy baggage on your shoulders, conserve what energy you have, leave it behind until it’s time to pick it up again, or better yet, see if you can let it stay where it is while you move onwards.

    Hope your ‘Memorial Day’ gets a little lighter each year for you both.

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      1. Had you considered doing the circuit the other way around so you ran down it instead of running up it? Or was there a compensating downhill that made it equally tough/rewarding either way? (things evened out?)

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      2. Sometimes life does seem to have a way of making you do the ‘hard yards’!

        Often times there can be a good reason for it…

        Other times Life just seems to be peevish and out for revenge!

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  6. Oh wow ! What a horrendous multiple and cruel anniversary. And right at the start of the school summer holidays too. So hard for your son as well as you. I do hope you have people you can call even if you can’t socialise with them.

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  7. I don’t like it when my birthday looms on the horizon because of the horrid memories it brings back of what happened four years ago.

    Goldfinch gives me great advice on not letting those painful memories dominate…but I can’t remember how he puts it right now. I know he is right, but sometimes I feel too weak to push those dark clouds away. I just have to wait for them to pass along and for the return of some sunshine.

    What I do know, is that I have to be open to enjoying sunny times.

    A “ball-breaker” of a hill – I started to laugh when I read that (before I read the rest of your post!) you should come running with the Welsh side of our family! 🙂

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  8. I never liked my birthday. It always reminded me of the failures in my life. However reading your post, my issues are petty.
    To lose someone you love; twice… And having to be strong enough for someone else, I can’t even imagine what that is like.

    When you’re on top of the hill, it feels like you’re on top the world. Going down hill is easy and sometimes fun. However climbing back up is the “ball-breaker”. And if you have to carry someone else up as well, the task seems impossible.

    You can take heart in knowing you’re not alone in your struggles. Family and friends are there to help you through.

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  9. I think that shitstorm was a perfect word and the hill is a perfect metaphor. I hope your hill eases up on you. I think you are doing a great job with your son and helping him with the hill he is climbing as well. Thinking of you

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  10. Hopefully you can start celebrating the human that was your Mom instead of being so sad. I dread that day myself. When I lost my beloved G’ma, I thought my world ended. But I came to understand you have to celebrate them. They do not want us to be sad forever and think bad/sad thoughts at a time when you should be having happy memories make you smile in remembrance…..I hope she’s not standing there in Heaven , looking down and shaking her finger at you………………….

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  11. Hang in there. Having had a recent “drop in the road” myself, I can relate to the analogy and agree with others that shitstorm is perfect in this case. Happy birthday and please take comfort in the fact that your words are read, absorbed and incorporated by others. I love the wonderful and supportive relationship you have with your son. Keep on running for him and for you.

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  12. I have been very behind with reading your recent posts and this one was especially heart breaking. To have those two losses so close to each other is so very painful. I know you carry this with you every day. My father died one month before my 23rd birthday luckily I don’t associate it so much with that. But I understand the interconnection for you. Sending you a very big hug, my heart hurts for you so often reading of your journey.

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  13. Damn, if that photo weren’t the perfect embodiment of life–the sudden drop-offs and the steep incline to what we pray is level land again. You sound like me when I have a panic attack while driving the kids: physically a wreck, mentally unsure, but emotionally determined to keep going forward for the sake of the children.

    You can do this. xxxxxx

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