I prefer running in the woods. Trails have wonderfully uneven surfaces: rough, smooth, muddy or grassy. Generally in these woods, these trails, there are less people to say “wow. She’s slow” and less hardship on my body. There is less impact, more embracing the knees and shins.
Concrete sidewalks can be sad, lonely places. Whipping by people’s homes – wondering if this beautiful yard belongs to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, or simply to time. How many broken hearts tend to this lawn? Does this garden bring comfort to them, like mine does now to me?
My garden gives me a place to think and wonder at the gift that John was to me and why I wasn’t allowed to have him longer. (Even though the few days after he passed I wanted to raze the effing plants and burn everything in sight – because how dare something be beautiful without him).
Does that mother walking on the other sidewalk with her baby wonder if she will outlive her child, does she cry for her mum that left too early… Depressing shit, right?
Yay, woods! On the trails, it’s chipmunks, deer, partridges (that scare the bejesus outta me when they thump skywards from the under brush) and my own breath, my own step, my own bartering system making a deal with myself for one more km.
I sigh when I run concrete sidewalk, but it does allow me to remind myself that I am not alone. I never will be alone in suicide loss. It’s everywhere. We walk, run, amongst you.
I haven’t broken down emotionally on a concrete run yet, whilst I have in the woods. I am offered more freedom to do so in my solitude.
Maybe the concrete is giving me strength, I dunno.
It’s spring now and things have been visually changing when I run in town. Magnolias. Tulips. Muscari. Forsythia! I enjoy spying on people’s yards. John and I would drive around sometimes just being nosy. He would have been a great old man.
This week, I started thinking maybe this concrete sidewalk running ain’t so bad, after all.
It’s flat, predictable and you can see where it’s going – no twists, no turns, no upsets. Predictable. Just what my life hasn’t been for a while, as every emotion can be a shock, and show up unannounced. damn it.
Concrete is solid.
Occasionally, there are cracks, though.
Sometimes, it’s just a crack; dark, cold and empty. Other times, there’s a strong, resilient flower digging her roots downwards while pushing her petals upwards. She shines.
I guess it’s up to me to figure out what I can do with the cracks I’ve been given.
I’m hoping more flowers grow.
Those cracks are always going to be there, but sometimes I think the flowers really, really want to thrive.
As suicide loss survivors, we have to learn how to nurture those seedlings, to acknowledge the cracks won’t heal, but also to honour the person we’ve lost by letting at least a few flowers grow.
We owe it to them.