March 20th, 2012 is when it all began. I am not able to tell you the reason as to why I did it, but I started walking. Now in all honesty I can say, I am not a very sporty person, I am by no means athletic and I am not very fond of sore muscles or anything that would cause having them in the first place. I don’t walk for a hobby, I don’t walk to proof a point and definitely not to stay in shape, but I started to walk because that’s all I knew how to do.
Nearly two months later, I managed to walk over 460km (or, since A is not very fond of the metric system, nearly 286 miles, that’s almost 6 miles every day, although in reality I would walk 15 miles one day and the next day only a couple). I feel great about myself, I feel fitter and healthier, the soreness in my muscles is bearable and I almost feel happy, I feel content.
The reason I tell you this, is simple: I was heartbroken. I never thought it was possible to feel the way I did, it wasn’t quite like people say. When people talk about their broken heart, they emphasize, how all they wanted to do is stay in, hide in their bed, wait for the pain to leave. The difference is that I knew, the pain wouldn’t leave, it would still be there, tomorrow, in a week from now, in a month, in a year, in a decade, that’s what a broken heart does – it take its’ time to heal. I am in no way indicating, that my broken heart is mended, but it is getting better.
I lost my grandma not too long ago. I wasn’t there in her final moments on this earth as cancer got the better of her, I wasn’t able to take her pain, nor was I able to prevent her from the dark places she went to. Mid-December I attended the longest walk of my life, which is kind of ironic, since from the church, in which her final service was held, to the place, she will lastly lay in, it was only a two minute walk. But a broken heart can’t run.
The images of that very day haunt me. Ever so slowly do they creep up on me, play hide-and-seek with me. They sit next to me, when I watch TV, they hold my hand, when I read the newspaper. They greet me first thing in the morning and wish me a good night, every evening. My mind’s eye is the most reliable thing in my life these days, it never fails me, is always on time, never bothers to leave. I say this, because I tried to leave. Tried to bury the feelings, eat the emotions, tried to hide the pain, but what good is the best hiding place if no one comes and look for you?
It’s sadness in its’ purest form, almost delicate even, but more than that it’s the pondering, wondering feeling, that bothers me the most. Why her? Why now? What to do with all the empty promises she made? It’s like ordering a cake at your favorite bakery for your own birthday-party, you had this whole big event planned out. Marching bands, chocolate fountains, a huge reception, but no one shows up, because you forgot to send out the invitations.
So I walked and walked and walked. Every day, back and forth from A to Z, from north to south, from east to west. Like a hamster on his running-wheel, you just keep going, until one day, you are too exhausted to move any further. As far as I am concerned, I just started my journey, I started to walk for my own sake.
I always wondered about Forrest Gump. I mean, why run and run and being followed by so many people and not once say a word to anyone? When I was tired I slept, when I was hungry I ate. – As simple as that, that’s how we humans work. I haven’t found peace yet, I still find myself restless every now and then, anxious to keep moving. But it’s all a process, one that we all have to go through at one point or another.
I know that one day I will wake up and the pain I feel within my inner core will be hurting less, that’s at least what I am betting on. But until then, I will be walking, walking until the sun rises in the furthers east, walking until I can’t walk anymore, in memory of my beloved grandma, who in her last few months, weeks and days on this earth walked through hell and back, without having any strength in her legs and feet anymore. And since I can’t be with her anymore, I will do my best to honor her in the best way I can, and that is making her proud, by walking – and telling her story.