Just Blew Me Away …
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
My husband and I used to be avid bicyclists all throughout the trail system here in Calgary (in Alberta, Canada). Sometimes we would be out and about for the whole day, putting on as much as 50 km (31 miles). Mostly this was back in ‘83 to ‘88. Then we bought a house. The trail system wasn’t as good in that neighbourhood. As a result, we only went sporadically over the following years.
Even that came to an end in 2001, when I sustained a TBI (traumatic brain injury) at the hands of a distracted driver who hit us while we were stopped at a red light. Because of ongoing balance issues, I no longer had the desire to ride my bike again. (So sad the things we lose because of TBI.)
Then in 2006, I had an idea about someday getting myself an adult tricycle. That way I would not have to worry about my lack of balancing skills – especially when you have to do a shoulder check (scanning over your shoulder without making the bike swerve). But because we were then living in apartments, storage was an issue. My dream of getting a trike never came to fruition … until this year!
My husband was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer in March 2015. He died April 1, 2016. It has been pretty rough. We had been together for 37 years. I have also been dealing with my own kidney failure since August 2013, and I do peritoneal dialysis every night for 8-9 hours. The waiting list for a transplant in our province is 6-8 years, so I have a ways to go yet. With my husband’s passing, I wanted to start doing things that would get me outside more often and be more active. I also wanted to do something to keep me busy for our wedding anniversary and my birthday, which were coming up on June 30. So I came up with a grand idea that if I could find a “folding” trike, I could then store it in the back of my car. And that is exactly what I’ve done. I wasn’t able to find such a trike locally, so I had to mail-order one and put it together.
On my very first ride, I drove down to the area of the city where my husband and I used to live back in ‘86 and ‘87. Talk about a trip down memory lane! Within seconds of riding my trike, I felt like I was 32 years old again – whizzing down the tails we used to ride with wind blowing through my helmet and hearing the birds singing and chirping along the way. The freedom I felt at being able to ride again … was fantastic! Then tears came to my eyes because my husband wasn’t here to enjoy this with me …. But as I was heading back to the car after about an hour of riding, I noticed in big letters written in chalk on the asphalt trails the words Love U. I knew then that my husband was there in spirit. I felt that he was so proud and happy that I had finally managed to get my trike and that I will enjoy many more great rides.
Thank you, Deb Angus.
Any views and opinions of the Guest Blogger are purely his/her own.
(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)
(Photos compliments of Deb Angus.)
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