A grieving mum has told JMU Journalism how running is helping her to cope with the tragic loss of her son.
Jackie Walsh's 16-year-old son, Lewis, died after being hit by a car in Woolton Village as he cycled home from his girlfriend’s house in September last year.
Jackie said: “All the time I am running I am alone with my thoughts, lost in a world pretending Lewis is running alongside me because the reality is too painful.”
The daily battle of living with the loss of her child clearly weighs heavily on her, and she says: “I feel like I am trapped in a terrible nightmare.“
Jackie recently completed the Liverpool Half Marathon, bravely finishing the course in just over two hours.
It was her thoughts of Lewis, and the times they had spent together,
which helped her beat the pain and cross the finishing line.
“It is these memories that I have of him that pushed me on through
the half marathon, and as hard as it was, I didn’t want it to finish.
Jackie, a probation officer, took the decision to return to work quite
quickly after the initial shock of Lewis’s death, to the surprise
"Some people can’t understand how I went back to work so soon,”
she said. “But what they don’t understand is that work requires you
to focus on work tasks and, in a small way, for a short while you can block it out. But as soon as you leave work it hits you and you know he won’t be there when you get home.”
She began training for this year’s Liverpool Half Marathon just before Christmas. In the past, when training for other events, Lewis would join her for a run as part of his boxing training.
“When I am running this is similar to being in work, but better as I am focused on my thoughts of Lewis.”
An experienced runner, she also decided to raise money in Lewis’s memory for the charity KIND.
“I also thought the acronym KIND was fitting for Lewis as this was how many of his mates described him when they came round to see us and blew him up for all the things we didn’t know they got up to.”
Her pride in her son, who had his heart set on going to medical school, is clearly evident, and his untimely death has left a huge hole in her life.
“Lewis was such a lively personality; competitive, talkative and hyperactive. Not having him around the house is the hardest part of getting up of a morning and getting through the day. He always had a smile on his face; he always looked for the good in people.”
Stephen Yip, chief executive of KIND, said: "Jackie is an amazing individual. After losing her son in a terrible accident she is determined that some good should come from this terrible tragedy. All the money she has raised for KIND will be used to help give disadvantaged children an opportunity to see that they and life can be different."
By Liam Deveney, Level 1 News Editor
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Lewis and his mum, Jackie, who ran the Liverpool Half Marathon; Lewis at the Leeds Festival 2009
Lewis and his younger brother Luke