Sunday, 25 January 2009


A few weeks ago I had an urge to replace all the ‘should dos’ in my life with ‘want to dos’. I was so excited, practically bouncing in the seat of my car as I zipped towards Bracknell. I felt as light and sparky as a sunbeam.

My childlike mood intensified as I pulled into the car park. The sign proclaiming “Home of the Bracknell Bees”started sherbert fizzes in my solar plexus.

Bye bye boring gym. I practically skipped into reception. “Hi, I’m here for the adult beginners ice skating lesson.” I chirped “Do I need a token for the lockers?”

The receptionist looked as buoyant as a burst balloon. “Haven’t you been told? It’s cancelled this week. We called everyone last night.”
They didn’t call me. Charming. An hour and a half round trip for absolutely nothing.

“Well,” I said huffily, “they could have told me when I booked as I only called up yesterday.”

The receptionist deflected my haughty accusation with a weary, sad and extremely unexpected answer. “I’m sorry. We didn’t know until the evening. Our skating instructor died suddenly”.

I was so relieved I hadn’t launched into an affronted protest about my wasted journey. I apologised and asked if it had been a car accident. No, it hadn’t. She was fit and healthy, in the prime of her life and 25 weeks pregnant with her first child. She had been taking a lesson that day and had a headache, so had gone home to rest.

She never woke up. She died from a brain haemorrhage caused by a tumour. The doctors kept her heart beating long enough to give her baby’s lungs a chance to develop. I later found out that little Aya Jayne Soliman was born a few days later by C-section. 

I sat in my car and cried. We all take it for granted that we will reach a ripe old age and have plenty of opportunities to do all the things we want to do.

Ella, J, anyone I love could stop existing at any moment. As could I. That’s not a cloud you can live your life under, but Memento Mori situations such as these urge me on to live a life that I love NOW.

It’s so easy to miss the present and to instead be living into some nebulous future when finally I’ll be living my Perfect Life because I have more money/less wobbly bits/another child/written that novel….etc etc  

Despite the sad start, I am really enjoying my skating lessons. I had my second one on Friday and can now stop (eventually) without crashing into the barrier and I can turn in a full, graceful, albeit wobbly, circle. 

It’s so much more fun than the gym. I’m also far more likely to go ice skating at least once a week.


Nicola said...

OMG how tragic. And how amazing the little girl is ok. These events really do make you grateful for the here and now don't they? Give you a whole appreciation of life, even when you're on the verge of being driven round the bend. Thanks for the post. Has really made me rethink my day.


A Modern Mother said...

Puts things into perspective, doesn't it.

Glad you like ice skating.

Home Office Mum said...

That is really sad. And it makes me more certain about the thing I just blogged about. Well done you for doing ice skating lessons. Sounds like a brilliant way to get fit.

Swearing Mother said...

Glad you got started and good luck with it.

Coding Mamma (Tasha) said...

I read about her. Wonderful that the baby survived.

Well done on going and doing the skating lessons. And how great having a list of things you want to do rather than should! (Both my lists would be so huge, though, I wouldn't know where to start!)

Anonymous said...

OMG how shocking.

Well done on the ice-skating; I started ballet and tap a few weeks ago, and am loving it.

that girl? said...

God what a sad story. It makes you realise how uncertain life can be and to appreciate all you have now.
Keep up the ice skating - great idea!