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Nick's coast to coast walk - A time to reflect
25 June 2018

So this is a very big hill. The Man took me up this hill today - sadly it was the wrong hill!

He was lost....again! So we had to go all the way down the hill and up another one - the right one! It only added an hour and 2.5 miles to our day.

He is skilled in some aspects of life but his map reading skills could do with some work. We walked 15 miles today and have had our final day in the Lake District. I think we’ve had enough of big hills and steep declines.

Had a short day yesterday and only walked nine miles. It meant that we were in Patterdale by 2pm so we went on a boat trip round Ullswater - fabulous views and we really enjoyed it

The Man has been in a quiet mood today. He knew there would be times on the walk when he would feel sad but he has also been thinking about grief and the grieving process.

When The Woman (Annette) first died, it was almost as though a fog had engulfed him. He was going through the motions of living his life but not really connecting with all that was happening around him. The pain was so acute and although Annette’s death was not a shock he couldn’t really function.

Much has been written about the stages of grief, anger, denial as being a process your go through. But he feels that is not how he sees it. The expression “life goes on” can be really irritating but it’s true.

Grief doesn’t go through stages and then you’re over it. It’s always there. The sadness of loss runs in parallel to your life. Sometimes it burst through your daily life when you least expect it. A song you hear. A phrase someone uses or, as it was last night, seeing a Gluten Free menu!

You never know when it will burst through, how acute it might be or how long it may last. It can be seconds, minutes or hours. And it’s OK. Other people want you to “recover” to “move on” and start your life again.

You haven’t stopped your life. You work and you socialise. Living your life does not mean you’ve moved on.  The grief becomes part of your life.

There are times when the sadness and the loss is overwhelming but for so many where the death of a loved one is expected, the grieving process has been going on for months or years prior to the actual death.

So that is what The Man has been thinking about today and he did say that he wanted me to blog about some more thoughtful issues other than the long walks.

We’re off to Orton tomorrow where we will be joined by The Man’s wonderful niece, Bethany and her partner as well as two other friends.

One of them is really naughty and encourages me to jump up - The Man has been trying to train me for years not to do it but this other man encourages it. The upside is that he also claims to be able to read a map! No more getting lost!

 

Bye for now

Stanley (and The Man)

 

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