The Kiss Goodbye

Elephant on a bench in the skyI was so sad to hear the news that Phil Hughes had died yesterday. Seeing the weight of grief on all those close to him touches my heart.

In her shoes

The loss resonated deeply with me as I imagined myself in his mum’s shoes, watching her son proudly from the grounds. I imagined her shock at seeing him injured and the increasing worry when he did not get up. It is as if the universe unravels as the realisation descends that he will not be waking up again.

The fabric of our lives

News like this chills the hearts of all those parents who regularly support, encourage and deliver their children to the multitude of sporting activities around Australia every week. I am one of those parents, taking Biscuit and Berry to soccer and sailing week nights for training, and weekends for matches and racing. It is the fabric of our lives that weaves us together as we work for a common goal, championing our children to be the best they can be.

But this sort of news reminds me that all sport carries some risk, that no matter what protection is put in place, freak accidents do happen. And that scares me.

Small acts of sentiment

When I drop Biscuit at sailing I can’t leave without kissing him goodbye. It takes me a while to prise my eyes away from his busy little form setting up the boat. These small acts of maternal sentiment belie a darker fear; that I may not get to hold the warm animated boy again. That fear has just been realised for Virginia Hughes.

It is this knowledge that makes me want to hold my children tight, to wrap them up in cotton wool and protect them from the world. But that’s not living, it’s suffocating.

Life without risk is no life at all

So I encourage my kids to take risks (little well-managed ones) and experience the thrill of sport and adventure. I bury the fear that tightens my throat when they sail off into the unknown, and say a little prayer that they will come back brimful of stories that bubble over with laughter and excitement.

Life is for living so I let them live it to the full.