Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Cycling and bereavement

This is going to be a difficult one.  I've just come back to cycling after a couple of weeks away. My Mum died over Christmas and we had the funeral this weekend. I won't dwell on it as this is a cycling blog, but I will say that the funeral was beautiful and uplifting - as well as deeply sad and moving.

My Mum's favourite colour was purple, so close family wore a lot of purple including purple silk ties for the men. My Mum had asked to have a cardboard coffin and for it to be painted by the family. My sister, who's an artist, painted on some key scenes from her life (e.g. two of the houses she'd lived in) while her grandchildren painted on flowers, butterflies, ladybirds and birds. Then it was given a purple wash. Because she'd spent a bit of her life in Trinidad, the flowers on top were of the exotic kind (birds of paradise flowers, orchids). It was a freezing day on Saturday and in a very traditional church the coffin and flowers brought a bit of warmth to the occasion. Her four children - or perhaps I should say offspring as we're grown up - carried in the coffin at the beginning of the service. We chose hymns which people could really belt out (e.g. "bread of heaven" and "I vow to thee my country"). It also helped keep us warm. We had a huge family gathering afterwards, and, without sounding too hippyish, the love flowed.

Anyway - I said I wouldn't go on about it, but I did. But I did want to relate it to cycling in a weird way. I was back on the bike this morning after quite a big gap. I'd been almost wholly pre-occupied with other things. But - and here's the point - it was fantastic to get back on the saddle. And I suddenly remembered how good cycling is for thinking. Obviously not when you're about to be run over by a juggernaut, but when you're on a nice open area and you can get into the "zone" and just reflect. For some reason the combination of taking excercise and doing some thinking is fantastic. It's early days, but I think cycling might help with the grieving process.

And by the way - many of you guys have left really nice comments on the last entry in which I said that my Mum had died. I really appreciate them. Thank you.

7 comments:

Natalie said...

Nice to have you back KC. Sounds like a lovely service.

Look forward to hearing about some of your cycling-inspired thoughts and musings.

Paul said...

Indeed, sounds like a lovely service, particularly the paintings of key scenes. I know what you mean about cycling and thinking, something about the motion. You're in the landscape but also slightly detatched.

KarmaCycle said...

Yes, I agree Paul. And it's a great feeling. Until some mad motorist comes and breaks you out of the reverie!

JJ said...

I'm glad the service went well and it sounds like a lovely remembrance.

KarmaCycle said...

Thanks JJ - I thought after the weekend: "that was about as positive an experience as a funeral can be". Which is saying a lot, I guess. At the risk of stating the obvious - it's amazing how much difference a kind, supportive, caring family can make at times like these.

Sabata! said...

Sorry to hear of your loss, sounds like a lovely service. There is a sort of feeling of freedom when you're out on an open road on a nice day :)

KarmaCycle said...

Thanks Sabata, that's kind of you. And yes, you do feel free. I kind of felt it this morning in the sunshine - especially as it feels like an eternity since we last saw the sun in London. There are few better feelings than cycling in the sunshine on a good bike (working properly)and breathing in fresh air. I can sort of get that going along the canal.