43

My dad passed away of lung cancer on the 02/12/21 at 4.30pm. He was at home and with my mum and was asleep and just never woke up. I had a call at 7.30am that morning asking me to come that day or the next day at the very latest. I could only get a flight on the Friday.

Before he left I had a video call with mum. She showed me his face and asked if I could see the difference. “Yes.” I said calmly. I decided to go running around lunch time that day. I checked in with mum and she said he was sleeping peacefully but his breathing was slowing down. Vs the pain he was in first thing in the morning before nurses gave him some medicine I was relieved in a way but knew what was coming. I was ready.

On my run all I could see was dad´s face. The sun was shining the sky was blue and I was grinning. All I could see was my dad. All I could hear was the sound of my feet on the road. Road work is sometimes the best work. It is therapy in motion. It releases energy and brings in something better.

I got home from my run and ran a bath- Work had been up and down all day so didn´t care stage had been accomplished. Emails could wait. Bids could wait. In my bath a small voice said gently “your dad´s gone.” I got out the bath 10 minutes later thinking how awful it would be if I missed a call whilst in the bath about dad passing. I ignored myself saying calmly “I´m ready” as I dried myself off.

Dressed and relaxed I checked my phone. Oh a missed a call. I phoned mum. She told me dad had left us. I video called her back as an alternative to voice and told her how much I love her and dad and how one day I´ll have kids of my own and how…. hanging up the phone after the call I broke down. It had been happening off and on all day.

It felt like parts of me were falling away. The gut twisting anger of the day before, the grief like waves breaking on the shore seemed to be observed by me. I felt outside of myself. This is what shock is. I thought. My plans to train that evening were cancelled but I did spend time with good friends.

I had calls off of cousins and uncles and aunts over the following days. Thursday feels like two decades ago. My gym were and still are just as concerned caring and loving as everyone else in my life. We are a family. Just like me mum and dad always will be. We are forever.

The death of my father at the time of writing is something I am still coming to terms with. We say goodbye to dad tomorrow and next year me and my mum are travelling to South Africa to scatter his ashes. This may seem too personal but right now I feel raw. Next Wednesday I turn 43 which from what I´ve been told is young ,so when it comes to many things in my life I intend to just carry on as normal. This includes Muay Thai. I need to give it a lot more of my time. The silence and flow is where the healing starts.

When it comes to community activism, police monitoring and anti racist campaigning the beat goes on. However, that particular torch is going to get picked up again in the new year. For now I need time to heal and need to support my amazing mum. All of these things would make my father proud.

I´m back home in Bristol for my 43rd birthday next week then I´m planning to spend Christmas and new years with my mum shortly after. Time as they say is the best healer but you know what, so is Muay Thai. Rest in eternal power Owen Pegram. Thank you not just for being a lion of South Africa but for being an amazing dad. Even on my best day I wish I could be half the man you were. I´ll see you on that road.

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