This time last week I could hardly move! Literally every part of my body was in utter agony and believe it or not it’s taken this long for the pain to ease off.
I can honestly say that the 13 mile walk broke me…. emotionally and physically it chewed me up and threw me in the hurt locker!
It’s no secret that I’m not in the best shape of my life. I’m 36 years old and overweight. I don’t particularly like exercise and will make excuse after excuse not to do it because I’m embarrassed of the way I look. However just a couple of weeks before the Midnight Walk I thought it was a wise move to sign up to take part in the event and commit to doing the 13 miles. I wanted to do something good in Emma’s memory and I wanted to help raise money for St Luke’s Hospice so that they can continue to help families when they’re in the darkest of places. I joined the gym and I spent three weeks building up my strength a little and shifting a bit of extra weight…. it’s a shame I didn’t start a couple of months ago, the walk would definitely have been easier if I’d managed to shed more than a stone!
Emma passed away three years ago on the afternoon of Sunday July 24th 2016. She had spent a week in St Lukes Hospice during the worst part of her illness getting her medication under control. It was a really tough week but everyone at the Hospice really did put the effort in to make it as easy as possible, even when she was being stubborn….she didn’t want to be there and felt nothing of making it known!
The month of July has definitely not been an easy one to get through since losing Em. As a family we decided to try to start doing a few things to replace the sadness with positive feelings. Remembering good stuff instead of letting July be filled with a big emotional black hole is proving to be tricky but at least we can say we’re trying.
My sister loved to walk. In fact she walked everywhere. Even when she was ill she’d refuse to let me give her a lift anywhere. She’d tell me, “whilst I can walk I bloody well will”…. and she did! I believe it was an escape for her, a chance to feel like she was still in control of something and she did it for as long as her precious body allowed her to!
During the 13 miler I thought about so many of our memories together, good and bad. Several times I had to take a deep breathe and compose myself before I burst in to tears. Those last couple of miles were the worst and several times I seriously doubted that I would complete the route. Our friend Kirsty continuously encouraged us throughout the walk, at one point she happened to say how proud she believed Em would be of us both and at that very moment I looked down to see a white feather at my feet!
So, although the pace slowed down dramatically and every single step hurt my body from top to bottom I continued to just put one foot slowly in front of the other. That may sound quite dramatic to some, you may even think I’m over exaggerating but for me this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever accomplished… (surprisingly I also did it with a hangover…. the night before was my husband’s Military Summer Ball, if you know, you know).
When I was in pain, all I could think about was that she’d been through so much worse and never complained… what was a few more miles?! I was also totally inspired by my beautiful and strong-willed 14 year old niece Emily, Emma’s daughter. She walked beside me the entire way and when she noticed I was struggling she’d keep repeating, “come on Auntie Danni, we can do this”… and she was right! We somehow managed to finish the walk, and in not too bad a time at 4 hours and 18 minutes.
Crossing that finish line felt like such an achievement, something to be really proud of and definitely one of those moments that I truly wish my sister had been there to see… or walk with us.
When I eventually got into bed that morning I think I cried a thousand tears. I think it was a build up of so many emotions…pain, tiredness, grief and a sense of achievement that I’d actually done it and in doing so managed to raise nearly £700!!
So, a massive, massive thank you to everyone who supported the three of us. Your donations really will make a difference to a person or family in need. Be proud of yourselves for helping because I am!
For those of you who said they would still like to donate click HERE
So much love and gratitude to you all. Dx