Our grief was matched along the way by many of Rob’s friends. Seeing young people trying to make sense of the death of one of their peers is a painful sight. I wish I could have thought of something to say that might have helped, other than that life sometimes simply makes no sense and isn’t fair. The first major RGF fundraiser was organised by Rob’s cricket mates – “Let’s cycle from the Eiffel Tower to Colchester & East Essex Cricket Club!” To spend six days in a state of laughter and exhaustion with 19 of his school and cricket friends was simply an honour. They toasted Rob, they swore at him, they loved his memory – it was totally fortifying.
Friends and relations continue to run, swim, cycle, bake cakes, grow moustaches, the list goes on – all in Rob’s memory. The one big remaining challenge though was Rob’s challenge to me – to cycle the ride we had planned to complete together: John O’Groats to Land’s End.
I spent hours, and I mean hours, pouring over GPS maps, planning the route. Not the fastest point between the two ends of our country, but a real journey. A total of 1114 glorious miles of cycle paths, forest trails, canal towpaths, cathedrals, lochs and lots of golf courses! Sixteen of us cycled and during those long days on my bike I really felt close to Rob. Not in a spooky or indeed ‘any assistance on the bike’ sort of a way – for instance, the whole of my route seemed to be uphill and into a head wind, and Rob was definitely at no point pedalling! But at the extreme of discomfort and exhaustion, covered in mud and soaking wet, too tired to eat, although always able to lift a gin and tonic, I realised that I was still truly alive; it was possible to feel that through to my core – I just needed to work really hard to find that place. At that time I felt Rob’s arms around me – and I know I’ll carry on. I’ve even written a book about it, in part the ride but also Rob’s story. It’s available on Amazon, titled End to End – with love. x, by Lorraine George. All proceeds to the RGF.
I believe surviving those we love will never be easy – how could it be? The pain proves that the love truly existed and still does. It’s tempting to cast aside others who you love, as you witness your pain reflected in them and struggle to help them, too, but what good would that do either? The numbness can feel crippling. The touch of love from others is a reminder of what is lost. But life goes on, and being sad and wasteful of my life won’t change a thing.
Robert Joseph Philip George 9.5.92 – 9.12.13
“End to End – with love. x” by Lorraine George – available from Amazon £15.99.
For more information, please visit the Rob George Foundation website at www.therobgeorgefoundation.org.
28 August 2016