Treasured Connections

Slowly recovering my energy after a week of returning chronic fatigue and intense headaches leading to a medical assessment that my liver and adrenal glands are once again not functioning properly, I headed out for my first run in ten days this afternoon. I follow a similar routine each time I get ready for a run: I put on underwear, shorts, and a vest, before tying my hair up, putting on socks and shoes, and finally putting on my heart-rate monitor as I head out the door.

When I reached the final step and dug my watch out of my bag, having not used it since my training camp last weekend, I felt my heart sink – the screen was black; I had forgotten to recharge the battery. I was fascinated by my initial response, which was to delay my run until the battery had charged – which wasn’t at all sensible, as the sun was sinking steadily towards to horizon. I paused to analyse my reaction, and realised that I have spent so many years dedicatedly recording, measuring and judging each run I have done – my distance, speed, elevation, and heart-rate – that I simply can’t conceive of going for a run without these measurements. Having got to the root cause of my discomfort, I could see how illogical it was to not go for a run just because I couldn’t measure and record it, so laughed at myself, pushed my uneasiness aside, and headed out into the wonderfully warm evening.

I ran a short 1.6km to the hill opposite our cottage and, to my delight, found that free of the self-induced pressure to measure my run, for the first time in many years I stopped when I reached the top, and walked down through the long grass to my favourite rock, which provides a comfortable seat with a spectacular view.


As I sat there, breathing in the scents around me in deep, conscious breaths, glancing from the near-by grasses catching the sunset rays, to the Protea bushes that cling so steadfastly to the steep hillside, and the along the wide skyline – from the mountains behind Shongweni on my left to Alverstone rising up on my right. Below me I could see our cottage, and beneath that the beautiful forest and waterfall, then to the side the busy freeway with its constant buzz of traffic.

Suddenly, I found myself suffused in gratitude for my deep enjoyment of the moment, and for my mother, and her part in teaching me to seek out and appreciate such lovely views. I felt tears prick my eyes, and decided to relax into the emotions wanting space within me. I realised I haven’t made conscious space to feel that loss, and feel close to memories of my mother, in a fairly long time. Grabbing the opportunity with both hands, I sat and sang song after song that my mother sung to me when I was a child, and we had sung together many times – mostly old folk songs.

“Are you going away with no words of farewell?

Will there be not a trace left behind?

Well I could’ve loved you better, didn’t mean to be unkind

You know that was the last thing on my mind.”


“The water is wide, I cannot cross o’er

And neither have I wings to fly

Won’t someone find me some little boat

To carry o’er my true love and I?”


“Perhaps the love we feel today, tomorrow will be gone

Perhaps we’ll leave our dreams far behind.

But today is still today, and before it all fades away

While we’re together, while we still have time…


Come and share my life (dee dee dee), come and share my love

While we are young, and we are free

Come and share my life (dee dee dee), come and share my love

Come and share the good times with me


I don’t need forever; I don’t need much of your time

Just time enough to live and love for a while”


“You know my love goes with you as your love stays with me,

It’s just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea,

But let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie”

Every now and then, my voice would catch on a line and the tears would come again, then my voice would return and I would keep singing – loud, heart-felt and unafraid, with nothing but the wind and birds to hear.

I ran home feeling lighter, re-energised, and full of joy. Loss is an inevitable part of life, and the moments in which I can feel pure, unsullied gratitude for all I have been privileged enough to learn  from and share with those who are no longer part of my life are moments to treasure.


4 thoughts on “Treasured Connections

    1. Oh, sis… I am so grateful for being able to share these memories and emotions with you, and so glad for you about your dream: because even though it’s loss, it’s a way to feel connected with her, yourself, and your experience of losing her. It would be fun to sing those songs together again some time! Sending you heaps of love xx

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