At the end of a difficult, stressful day I decided to go for a walk by the beach. It always clears my head and lifts my spirit. Usually, I can only walk short distances and have to take frequent breaks along the way.
Today, I was determined to walk further with the longer term goal of hiking as far as my dad hiked daily. Come rain or shine, even at the age of 84, daddy walked 12,000 steps or 6 miles (although I mistakenly thought it was 10,000 at the time).
I greatly regret not being able to do that entire walk with him while he was still alive. Sadly we lost him only a few months ago.
Listening through my headphones to my favorite music and enjoying people watching along the way, I kept going and going beside the sea wall. I was up to over 5000 steps when I stopped to take a break on a stone seat that had a couple of steps leading up to it.
After a while, I was tempted to take some pictures of the sun beginning to set. Forgetting about the steps, I tripped and fell, twisting my ankle and perhaps my hip too. It reminded me of when I fractured and sprained my ankle in Puerto Rico because it was as painful!
What to do? I could barely get up but somehow managed to crawl back onto the seat. I wasn’t about to go anywhere! After some time, I realized I would have to try to walk.
If I called an Uber, what address would I give? There wasn’t an intersection nearby as it was all sea. Plus I was on the wrong side of the road with a barrier between. It didn’t occur to me to call a friend!
Despite the pain, I managed to stand up. Then I leaned on the wall for support, slowly limping my way forward.
An elderly couple stopped to ask how I was. The man advised me to take it slowly. Could I go any slower? There was still a further 2.5 miles to get back to my place and to complete what I thought was my father’s daily distance.
All of a sudden, something surreal happened. I heard his voice! It was in my head but as clearly as though my father was standing in front of me!
He said “bilkul theek” which translates from Hindi to mean absolutely okay or absolutely fine. It was a phrase he used often when people asked how he was, even in his final months of excruciating pain in a hospital bed.
He was a strong-minded man, believing our thoughts are powerful enough to change our reality. I felt my mother’s presence too but more distantly. She was also very strong and we lost her three years ago. They were both there with me reminding me to have strength, not just on this walk but in life.
I could hear my dad repeatedly telling me I was fine, that all is well as he used to try to encourage me to believe when I complained of an ailment or problem. Then all of a sudden I was able to put my full weight on my foot without pain! After that, I found myself continuously repeating the words “bilkul theek”.
Miraculously I started walking normally in no time and without any thought of ordering an Uber! I know I was not alone that evening because I am a cautious person and would never on my own have considered walking that far after an injury. Something…I think my father’s presence was pushing me to not give up, to finish the walk.
Finally, after a total of 11, 097 steps (4.7 miles), I was back in my room. It is only then that I realized the side of my foot was throbbing with pain and I had to ice it. Amazingly by the next morning, it had completely healed!
My departed parents had made their presence known when I was at an all-time low in life to remind me that even when things look bleak, I can pick myself up and keep going. I have the strength.