Inspiring Runner 2017: Erin Bates
My father died of cancer eight years ago and a nurse from St. Luke's Hospice provided memorable support when he was near the end.
I remember her [My Father's Nurse] coming to our house in May 2009 to dispense morphine to him, thin and frail as he was with a spindly body, then beyond recovery.
The specifics of a conversation the nurse and I had about his worsening condition escape me now, but I recall she was kind and explained we should prepare for his organs shutting down one by one over the following two weeks.
Mercifully, he passed on the following day, 5 May 2009, which brought respite from the cycles of cancer and treatment; including chemotherapy, that lasted roughly two years. My father was an occasional runner, who was part of a club for some time in the late nineties.
He gained a reputation in our family for abandoning his club mid-run to pop into Rondebosch Library on a Thursday night when it was open late. His first love was reading and a good run would have fit in around that pastime.
He had a pair of luminous yellow-green running shorts that were particularly embarrassing for his children but probably kept him visible on the road. This will be my first Two Oceans Half Marathon and I wanted to run with some purpose.
Running for St. Luke's will be an opportunity to give a nod to the St. Luke's nurse who appeared at an especially tough time, but also to celebrate my father.
Memory has a habit of ironing out loved ones' faults, but I try to remember him as a full, complex human being. He was, I realise as I mature, a fundamentally good man and I think that's something worth 21 kilometres of my sweat and grumbling.
He's in the photo below doing what he loved best, reading.