Wednesday 17 September 2008

Coincidence - or the boys work?

read the previous entry first (the blog is in chronologic order)


Have you ever had a day or a period when, without planning, there seems to be a synchronicity that joins the events of the day into one fluid apparently spontaneous thread. (for instance I would not have been here in Windermere if Simon Davies from TCT hadn’t sent out his email about doing the event and, having forwarded it to numerous people to try and gain sponsorship, if Anisa hadn’t emailed back to point out the date of the event and suggest that it was something to do and if Jackie hadn’t decided to walk 90 miles and co-incidentally end up in Lake Windermere.)

I woke on his birthday at 5.50 am.

I had set an alarm for 07.30 as it’s customary in the B&B world that is the lake district, to be ready for breakfast sharp and on time and my host for the weekend, Mike, had decreed that breakfast would be at 08.30 (I am putting on weight but having had a huge dinner the night before, I needed to set my alarm to ensure that I took on calories to prepare me for the swim (honest guv!)

5.50? Well of course! 23 years ago at 5.50 the boy was making his first appearance in the world amid much screaming and yelling from his mum.

Having enjoyed the full English preceded by the bowl of fresh fruit (its slimming you know) I met with Jackie and Mick and, after the most creative of journeys (note to organisers of Great North Swim…1 road in, 1 road out, one boat that can carry 80 people an hour, and 2200 participants plus hangers on and spectators makes for a logistical challenge of epic proportions – will be improved next year I’m sure), We found ourselves in the lobby of a very fine hotel meeting Simon and Geraldine, Simon handed me a package that a kind soul who lost their child a while ago had sent for us, it contained 6 Chinese lanterns and, knowing that some friends had set some off in Thailand at midnight on new years eve for Adam I immediately determined that we should let them go on the lake at sunset ‘he would like that’ I thought.

Its odd; we all seem to do a lot of ‘he would like that, or would have liked that’ I guess it’s a good way of keeping his memory alive, I still talk about him a lot and engage in conversation with him about things.

The Great North Swim is a mile open water swim in Lake Windermere, the lake temperature as we all jumped in to ‘warm up’ for 10 minutes was 15.1 degrees. (Note to GNS organisers, WARM UP? 10 minutes in the water to get used to the temperature? ARE YOU MAD!!!)

Whilst treading water I spoke to a couple near me and we were all bemoaning the fact that it was overcast and cold, I announced with all authority that the sun would come out as we lined up for the start, naturally they looked at me like I was mad, ‘trust me’ I said, ‘I know it will’

I knew it would because, right since the day that we chose his grave and as we walked towards it the clouds parted and a beam of sunlight seemed to track across the cemetery and stop over the grave, every big event for Adam has had good weather or just at the appropriate moment the sun has come out.

We got out of the water and, as we stood on the start line, sure enough the clouds parted, the sun shone and we were bathed in the warmth of the sun, I looked at the couple, they looked at me (oddly). I smiled, they smiled back, I looked across the way at Jackie, she looked at me, then upward and smiled the same knowing smile as me…. And, as we entered the water, I felt that the sun would shine until the end of my race and then it would rain (I decided not to voice this feeling as the others would really think I was crazy!)

So, I swam, with a couple of hundred others in my wave, quicker than I imagined I would, but slower than pretty much everyone else, save for the woman who, as we got to the last buoy and turned for the shore, was behind me and said, ‘oh look here comes the rain’ … go figure!!!

There were other ‘coincidences’ during the day but suffice to say that by the time sunset came, Jackie, Mick and I were sitting on a couple of large rocks that were in the lake and as we watched the sun fall and the light fade I received a text from Pauline who was having a pretty rough day saying that she was driving but watching a beautiful full moon whilst driving, no sunset, just dark, clear sky and a full moon, with a ‘sad’ face.

We looked around us and marvelled at the fact that we had no moon at all, just a beautiful view

of the sunset over the lake, it got darker and we sat, absorbing the atmosphere, waiting for darkness before we lit the lanterns. There seemed a magical quality to the time there and suddenly, without warning, and fast enough that you could see if move, the fullest and brightest of moons emerged above the hillside to our left. Orange sky sunset to our right and full moon to our left.

As the hairs rose on the back of my neck I knew that Adam would have known how much that kind of night meant to me and how much I enjoy the spectacle of the displays mother nature often lays on for us all.

We lit the lanterns and were amazed at how high they soared and how great they looked as they glowed a flickering orange from the flame that gave them the life to rise and stay aloft.

I did my modern man thing and shed some tears as my mind was filled with thoughts of Adam and the pain deep into my soul that I can only liken to feeling like my insides have been torn out of my body rose, it was a mixture of the sadness of missing him and the feeling of closeness with him that was new to me.

Jackie and Mick quietly disappeared and left me alone on the rock, enjoying the solitude, feeling the atmosphere and watching the occasional bat fly low then skim down and snatch a midge or mosquito .

And there I sat, crying, missing, longing and wishing; feeling as if Adam had stage managed the whole day to ensure that I was there, by a series of co-incidences, on a rock over the water in the sunset feeling closer to him than on any day since he died….

As I left the rock I felt a calmness of mind and an enormous positivity, I took a call from a friend and was re-telling the events when I thought to myself that of course, having helped me in organising a few events, Adam would have wanted a big finale…..Just as a firework display started on the top of the hillside…. BANG ON SON!!

It was hard to leave the lake as I didn’t want the feelings to end… but having used endless calories I felt justified in indulging in a huge dinner again, before planning the next full breakfast (it’s only polite you know !)

And, the following morning, still full of the previous days events , I walked down to the lake to try and recapture some of the feeling as if by doing so, I would re-connect with Adam once more, but when I got there, there was no feeling, just a sense of having achieved some kind of mission.

The strange thing was that I didn’t realise I was on a mission before I got there and it was only after the event that I was able to reflect that perhaps I was always destined to go there and be there on that day and at that time. Thoe of you with a spiritual bent may understand it better thean I.

To all of the people near and far, who had a hand in me being there and experiencing something that was truly magical, you know who you are and I thank you from deep in my soul ,for you contributed to something priceless that I wouldn’t have missed for the world.

And maybe, just maybe, I should be thanking our beautiful son for knowing well what his dad needs nd finding the energy to move a few pieces of our lives around …

Love to all……

There are some photos on the blog at

12 September 2008 - Lake Windermere


As I sit here on the shore of Lake Windermere, watching the gentlest of sunsets, the sky to my left is orange behind the clouds and to my right, simply clouds, I am reminded of what a difference there is between this evening and that which we had 23 years ago.

About this time I had taken Pauline into the hospital for what was to prove the evening before our son was born, it’s a long story and often told but after much screaming and yelling, around 5.50 in the morning he came noisily into this world,

Those of you reading this who have had children will understand why I fell in love with him at that moment and will know the feelings of pleasure after the long wait and the hoping and the worrying are over, the sense of relief that all is well and a healthy child is born, then, after the initial excitement dies down, there are feelings of potential and a life that has been created and is to be nurtured and protected and most of all, lived.

The years of nurturing and preparing ones child and developing them, in the best way you can, to be fully rounded people with a place and a contribution to make in society seem all the harder to fathom when ones child is taken so early, there have been so many hours spent searching for the reasons for this brutal cessation of the love affair we had with our son.

Of course, logic suggests that there is no point on such speculation as it has happened and there is damn all anyone can do to change that. But logic doesn’t always prevail these days and emotion seems to get the better of me so often. How much worse this time is for Pauline as a mother is something only another mother can know, there is a difference between mums and dad’s, there has to be, no matter how much a dad can love his child, a mother had that person grow inside her and begin to bond from the moment of conception.

Its darker here now and the contrast between the scene left and the scene right is more evident,

I feel similarly that the contrast to my life backwards and my life yet to come is huge, Adams presence in my life was so large that the gap he leaves seems impossible to fill, and yet, I know that it is indeed impossible to fill and it would not be right to fill it. Life for me, for us, has changed; and the notion of it returning to normal is misguided; for this is now normal and it is simply a case of readjustment…. Simply? Well, in truth, not simple at all, but unavoidable.

I feel more balanced when I am near water, he liked water and it is possible to feel him closer to me in peaceful moments such as this, although what the others walking past make of this guy sitting on a bench, crying and typing away on his lappie in the drizzle, I neither know nor care, the drizzle I can handle, but the damn midges are beginning to bug me. The prospect of an hour in the cold water of the lake tomorrow seems fine about now; this may well change by the time the swim comes of course!

Thursday 11 September 2008

Adam - 21+2 13 September 2008

On Saturday Adam would have been 23.

Those who have lost someone say that it is the anniversaries, particularly in the first year, that are the worst times. I guess it’s a good day to be busy.

In order to be busy, I am heading up to lake Windermere to swim a mile in the lake as part of the Great North Swim along with a couple of thousand other lunatics, it seems that the water temperature is around the 15-16 degrees… I checked yesterday and the aircondtioning in my car has a minimum temperature of 16 degrees!

My sis, Jackie has spent this week walking in the lake district to take part in a 90 mile trek to raise funds for TCT and there are others who are variously taking part in a number of other events such as swimming in the Thames and, in the case of some of his mates I’m sure, drinking a whole load of lager!

He said to me often, ‘dad, I don’t want people to be sad, but I do want them to know that I’ve been here and to remember me’ so I would say to everyone who still reads the updates, take a moment, close your eyes and remember the boy at some point during the day, he will be up there, kicking back and winding up a few angels I just know it!

And if anyone finds themselves in the premises of somewhere that sells alcoholic beverages, then the tradition we established on Dumball 2008 is great to uphold.. the first drink of the night is a toast to ‘the boy’

I know that Saturday night will involve a beer or two for me and I take this opportunity to raise my glass in advance and say ‘ thanks son… for brightening our lives and making us all smile so often’

Love to all.


Thursday 4 September 2008

I'll have a medium please

I had one of those regular, ‘Adam’ moments just now and, as I often do, took a while out to dwell on thoughts about him, I often sit and watch his video or re-read the writings on the blog, some days its comforting and some days not. Today not sadly, so I write this amid mountains of Kleenex and whilst watching a blurry screen through tears.

So many people that we meet use those time honoured words ‘I can’t imagine how you feel’ and in truth I guess that unless you are or have been in this club, you truly can’t imagine how it feels.

The grieving process is a weird one and the thoughts that prompt outbursts of emotion are manyfold, varied and unexpected at the best of times. In particular I am most vulnerable to tears when people are kind or giving praise.

I saw a medium yesterday, one that I’ve seen before and she got as close to convincing me that she was properly in touch with Adam as anyone ever has, I guess the thing about believing is that there comes a point where you have to either trust it or not, being someone who needs proof and evidence for anything that I am unsure about it is hard to convince me but when I asked how his leg was and she replied, ‘not sure if this means anything to you but he says its back’ I was as near convinced as I think I can be.

She also mentioned him holding an electric guitar, she said a blue one, and those of you who are young enough to be on facebook may have noticed that I recently added a photo to his tribute page that shows him holding an electric guitar, not a blue one, a yellow one but hey the communications from the other side aren’t by Vodafone you know. (that’s probably why they are so clear and the signal holds)

SO… for anyone who does believe, then Adam is apparently having a ball, in a place where you get everything you want, helping other children with their journey across the worlds, only experiencing pure love and none of the negativity of human emotion and is whole in body again and helping many of us from afar, he is also bashing me around the head for feeling guilty about him dying and he thinks I need a holiday!

The medium said that he told her about the unique (some might say sick) sense of humour that he and I shared and he says that that connection is still there.. She then said he is taller on the other side… anyone who has witnessed him and I standing back to back in front of a mirror arguing about who was the tallest might just see his personality coming out there! I am now waiting to see him on the other side and find a huge mirror!!!

I undoubtedly gained some comfort from the reading and if she is to be believed then he is an old soul with a cheeky smile and a great sense of humour and a compassion for his fellow man…

Yep .. that sounds like my boy…

Love to all