Matters of the Heart
IRONMUMS ambassador Belinda opens her heart to the IRONMUMS community about the past 3 months since starting her ambassadorship with IRONMUMS..
It has been anything but easy.
Setting a goal to complete an Ironman 70.3 is hard enough as a Mum with kids and family commitments. When I applied for this ambassadorship, I knew it would be hard. Hard to fit training in with work, school and life’s commitments in general. But nothing has prepared me for what I am going through now. The last 3 months has been harder than I could have ever imagined.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share this part of my life with the public, but I think it’s important not only for me to move forward but also for everyone to understand my journey so far and the journey I have ahead. I want to explain what has been happening behind the scenes in my life since I started my ambassadorship back in October.
My Mum has been battling chronic kidney disease for more than 40 years of her life. But three years ago, my Mum was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive cancer. After 2 & ½ years of operations and chemotherapy, the doctors told us that there was nothing else they could do for her. This was 6 months ago, and it has changed my life forever. This was my reason for applying to IRONMUMS. I knew that my Mum’s life was coming to an end and I knew that I wasn’t getting any younger myself & I could no longer put off those goals that I had been putting off for years because I was too scared. I could no longer bury my head in the sand. I had to change my life.
For the past 4 months, my life has been so hectic. My sister & I have been caring for my Mum at her home. We took turns every day, getting up early in the morning to be at Mum’s house to shower her, bandage her legs, cooking for her, clean, shop, drive her to doctors’ appointments and do her washing. Not only were we looking after our Mum, but we were also running our own households with help of our husbands.
In the last 6 weeks my sister & I took over as Mum’s fulltime carers. I’d drive for the better part of an hour to get to Mum’s house, do my 24-hour shift, drive almost an hour home, spend a few hours with my family, go to bed and get up the next morning to head back up the highway to do it all again. It was hard & exhausting, but I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. But, less than two weeks ago on the 17th January my Mum lost her battle with cancer.
The emotional and physical stress of caring for my Mum for the last 4 months has taken a massive toll on me. I thought that I had had enough time to prepared myself for her passing, but how wrong I was. Nothing can prepare you to lose one of your parents, no matter how much time you think you’ve had. It’s shattering. Right now, my body doesn’t want to train. My body doesn’t want to do anything. It feels like I have started my training all over again. Everything hurts!! My whole body is tired, achy and heavy. But most of all my heart isn’t in it. All these goals I have set for myself seem trivial.
But I know that my Mum wouldn’t want me to give up. She would want me to finish what I started & achieve my dreams. She wasn’t a great lover of sport and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to exercise for fun of it. But she was proud of what I have achieved so far & she was proud that I was an IRONMUMS Ambassador.
The last 4 months has taught me that life is short, life is precious, and you need to live your life. Set those goals and achieve your dreams. The pain I am going through now might be hard, but it’s nothing compared to what she went through. This keeps repeating in head when my body wants to quit on a run or a ride. My Mum was a strong, brave and beautiful woman, who never once complained about the cards she was dealt.
I still have my goals and I will achieve them no matter how hard & frustrating my training gets. My first race is only 6 weeks away and I’m not sure if I’ll be 100% ready, but I will cross that finish line regardless. It’s going to take time to rebuild myself emotionally and physically, but I know that I have the support of my family, my friends and my coach. My Mum was my hero and I miss her so much but she will continue this journey with me in my heart.