Finally, it’s that time of the year again…hockey season. I’m really looking forward to playing again. Last year I played two seasons back to back with the women’s league then the B Grade non-contact. It was great for my skills to play for a year non-stop, but hard on my body.
I’m hoping that the six-month break will have rested my poor old frame long enough to see the season out. Non-contact hockey is not at all dangerous so I have no worries about injury, but hockey in general is a very physical sport – you use a lot of muscles racing up and down the ice chasing after that puck! I’ve been trying to prepare myself with running and gym classes, but there really is no form of exercise that matches the demands of hockey.
This year we have a new team member, my daughter Megan. She’s been skating a few months now, and is already at least as good a skater as I am. And hockey is a great way to improve your skating skills – you go hard-out and you soon forget that you’re skating as you become immersed in the action. If you fall over, it (mostly) doesn’t hurt with all the padding you wear.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
It’s September 11 in New Zealand today. It’s been 10 years since the World Trade Centre towers came down. It’s a big anniversary for Americans, and I’m sure for many others. Kia kaha.
But for me now September 11 will just be the day after Simon died. Two years on, I have mixed emotions. Last year it just hurt. This year I feel a little differently. I have a sense of relief on his behalf. He was in so much pain, so sick. And he struggled against death. It was hard to see that. So now I feel like I can celebrate his life. I can remember what a great guy he was – so clever, funny, kind – without the pain of missing him (so much). I guess I’ve moved on from that immediate grief.
I have this other feeling that’s hard to pin down. It’s something like a sense of discomfort around expressing my feelings of grief and loss for Simon, who was my best friend for 10 years, now that I’m married to my new best friend. I can’t put my finger on exactly what about all this makes me uncomfortable, but it does (just a little). It certainly has nothing to do with Stephen or Simon, they met a few times and liked each other well enough. Simon was glad that I’d found someone to be happy with. Maybe this is how widows feel when they get remarried.
Now that the weather is warming up and it’s lighter at night, I’ve been running more. I love running. It’s my “off” switch – the thing that allows me to unwind and keep my emotions and stress levels on an even keel.
So tonight my run route took me past the Palms (our local shopping mall). When we decided to buy our house, we smugly noted how close we’d be living to the Palms – only a couple of blocks away. Well, it’s been closed the whole time we’ve lived here. It was badly damaged in the February earthquake, and then again in June. It was so disheartening. We didn’t realise how much we took it for granted, just being able to pop down for coffee, or for groceries, or to pick up this or that from K-Mart.
Anyway, the point that I’m getting to is that the Palms is finally reopening! Tomorrow! It feels like a huge step forward. As I ran passed the security guards stationed all around the carpark entrances (about 10 of them, not sure why) I was grinning from ear to ear. They all smiled back. They know what it means. We are moving on. Things are getting better. Not the same. Not normal. But better than they were.
I continued on my run, and noticed that the portaloos that usually lined the streets around our house are gone (most of them anyway). And the septic tanks that stood in the street for people to empty their chemical toilets into are also gone. It made me really happy.