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Middle-aged, middle-weight, mother of 3 on mad marathon mission
Middle-aged, middle-weight, mother of 3 on mad marathon mission
When I started this blog, it was to track my progress from an occasional kayaker to taking on the Devizes to Westminster non stop 125 race. Little did I know that would start me on a long distance obsession which has resulted in my completing the 30th Marathon des Sables. It has been a strange and sometimes painful ... but always wonderfully challenging journey

This is my occasional account of a middle-age mother's attempt to take on things which are really quite beyond her.

A Truly Tragic Week

crawlingkiwiby crawlingkiwiJan 15th 2011
This week I was given a lesson in what really matters. At the start of the week I was very focused on the floods in Australia, particularly when we lost contact with my niece who lives in Brisbane next to the river. She turned up safe and sound, if a little shaken 24 hours later (no electricity to charge phones, so no way of contacting relatives).

But the true horror of the week was to happen yesterday morning. School had started and we were getting ready for our first lesson, when scores of weeping Year 7 students were ushered into the hall. (That's 11/12 year olds). One of our young girls had died from swine flu the night before, having been on life support all week. Groups of youngsters sobbed together, teachers tried to comfort them while feeling utterly shell-shocked themselves. While a lot of children were too distraught to stay at school (streams of horrified parents arrived to collect them), for the rest we tried to keep things as 'normal' as possible. Once again I could see the power of sport - out in the cold, I took a group of year 7s for a version of netball. From a subdued start, it was fantastic to see them forget their sadness for a little while, to run around, shout and play games, like the children they are.

As a mother of daughters around the same age - and having left a slightly older girl at home yesterday with flu - I felt sick for most of the day and seemed unable to move my thoughts away from the little girl and her traumatised family.

My eldest has recovered (her father looked after her, she wasn't left alone) and for us life goes on. I took myself off for a very tough 3 hour paddle today - I needed the space and the time alone to try and get some perspective on what has happened. I don't think I've managed to, but I feel the need to mark this little girl's life in some way, I'm not sure how, but as a school we will find some way of celebrating her life and to do justice to her memory.

RIP Rosie.
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