A story of grief by a man and a boy

new shoes

About a year ago my wife, Desreen, came into our living room with a naughty look on her face and new shoes on her feet.

‘Why are you wearing my trainers?’ I asked.

‘Hmm, they’re not yours, Benji. They’re mine’, she replied.

‘Of course they’re mine. I bought them two weeks ago’, I asserted.

‘Yeah, I know, and I bought mine yesterday’, she said before screwing up her face in a look she always used when she was silently saying I know that I’m in trouble but I don’t care. 

I shook my head and chose to say nothing as she chuckled her way to the front door to go out for a run.

The truth is very few of my things were ever only mine. One of the many troubles of not being the tallest chap in the world was that my wife wore my clothes all the time.

‘What do you think of this new coat?’ I’d ask her.

‘I think it’s going to look fabulous with these shoes’, she’d reply holding up a pair of heals and making a note in her diary to borrow my latest purchase at her earliest convenience.

Sadly Desreen didn’t get to wear her trainers many times before she was killed. Strangely enough, however, they still had the ability to make me laugh. One day earlier this year I went for a run around Regent’s Park at lunchtime with a colleague and it wasn’t until I changed into my sports gear that I realised I was wearing one trainer in a size six and the other in an eight. I rolled my eyes at how my wife was still stitching up my wardrobe even after her death.

Just as I had, Desreen had also bought her new runners for the Brighton Half Marathon, which ultimately I ran without her. And now as I embark on my training for that run again in February 2014, as well as the London Marathon two months later, it’s time for some new footwear. Somehow, though, it didn’t feel right not to get Desreen involved. So this morning I created my new shoes through Nike ID and took my inspiration from my wife: they have each of our surnames printed on the tongues; they have a hint of leopard print, which she would have absolutely loved; they’re fluorescent so that (hopefully) traffic can see me coming when I’m running in the dark; and there’s a little yellow in there too because she loved to break the winter with colour.

So, Dessie, you can’t have these ones but they’re still for you x

My London Marathon trainers are dedicated to Desreen

My London Marathon trainers are dedicated to Desreen

6 comments on “new shoes

  1. the mmmmm family
    October 23, 2013

    Oh that is a brilliant idea and such a wonderful way to have her running with you, this brought a much needed smile to my face.

  2. Diana
    October 23, 2013

    oh how wonderful, love the colours.

  3. anathorsdottir
    October 23, 2013

    love the design, ben, very cool!

  4. Deborah Kennedy-Brown
    October 23, 2013

    I am writing you from Charlotte, North Carolina (USA). Good luck with your marathons and know that I thought about you and Desreen today.

  5. Kate
    October 23, 2013

    Desreen will be with you every step of the way 🙂

  6. Judith
    November 2, 2013

    Just found ur excellent blog & finding so many similarities in what u and I are experiencing. I lost my 32yr old husband 58 weeks ago. Ran the Dublin marathon on Mon past. It was for him. Excellent idea re trainers.

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