Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Riding for Jim

DAY 42

One year ago today, Dad  passed away.

I decided to honour his life with a bike ride.

I met Harry Heritage at the bike shop because he was having a new brake cable fitted by a very nice bike mechanic called John. Then, the journey into remembering  began - in thick fog. I rode Harry across the bridge over the  river adur and started to make my way up the narrow road that lead to Botolphs. Within a couple of miles my fingers had gone completely numb with the cold. I  dismounted the bike and sat on my hands which didn't really work, so I tried hiding behind a bush instead and  pissing on them which warmed them up a bit.  

The climb over Bostal  was brutal - my legs were aching from the cold and the fatigue was horrendous but in 'the true spirit of Jim'  I continued to work my way through the gears.  I could hear Dads voice inside my head - cmon lad,  I believe in you. For a moment I sensed the presence of a demon hill climber pedalling alongside me, holding my heart, encouraging me to keep going. Father and son riding side by side - mighty companions.

I started to reflect on Dads final moments.

On recieving news of Pops rapid decline I called up the nurse at the East Lancs Hospice, who informed me that Dad was preparing to leave his body. He was semi-conscious and no longer able to speak. The nurse held the phone against his ear. I could hear his shallow breathing. The second he heard my voice the nurse told me that his eyes opened wide. I thanked him for all the support he had given me during this lifetime, and the healing that had taken place between us. Then, I  gently encouraged him to let go and take a step towards God.

 'DAD ...  I LOVE YOU ' 

I hung up the phone and wept uncontrollably. Then, I ran myself a hot bath and bathed in candlight. I retired for bed feeling at peace.

Dad died peacefully in the early hours of the morning with his beloved Jenny holding his hand.

 Eventually, I reached the summit of the hill, tears streaming down my face. There is nothing greater than grief and sorrow for opening a pathway to the heart. 
My fingers had started to thaw - the pins and needles were so unbearable that I almost fell off the bike. I quickly jumped off, and hopped around at the side of the road vigorously rubbing my hands together.

The descent into Lancing was lovely - the mist had lifted and the sun was shining. - I was living life at the speed of bike.

I stopped off at Lake View cafe  for some nosh; fish finger sarnies, chips and a mug of tea. There is nothing better than a bike ride on a freezing winters day for working up a hearty appetite. ( See right for a photo of my big 'riding for Jim' lunch )
There will never be a day without Dad in it. Our love is stronger than death - without beginning or end.

Thank you Dad... for always being a pal.  Xxx

Note* Please click on the following link to read a really cool blog by Elloa Barbour called Dear Jim.


  1. Nige, this was so beautiful. It had me so teary.

    My favorite line: "There is nothing greater than grief and sorrow for opening a pathway to the heart."

    Thanks for keeping my heart open or making me laugh in your blogs!

    Sending you love this day.

  2. Your writing is beautiful, tender, heartfirst, and much, much warmer than your hands were on that bike ride (even post weeing on them!)

    Jim is so proud. And you carry his legacy forward each day.

    Love you xx xx xx