On Wednesday my Wife came in from collecting the kids from school and walked straight in to the front room, normally the kids are in first but on this day they had not even got out of the car. She started to try to say something but then burst in to tears. I cuddled her and tried to think at the speed of a thousand Gazelles as to what could possibly be the problem. Before the kids had got in to the bungalow she had managed to tell me that the eldest Son of some people that we know had sadly passed away. Our Daughter had come out of school and told my Wife after being told in a special assembly. We consider the parents of the young lad to be friends, although we do not constantly visit each other we would speak to each other when we met in the street or if we were at the school and bumped in to each other. The meetings at school were no where near as frequent after both of our families moved out of the town both because our houses were no longer suitable due to wheelchairs. They had two Sons, both of which were suffering from Muscular Dystrophy and despite being wheelchair bound they were both so happy.
The Mother, whom we saw more than the Father as he was obviously at work at school time, is hands down one of the most incredible people I have ever had the fortune to meet. Having to care for the boys, support them through their pain and operations and yet whenever you spoke to her she would not complain or moan. She would be smiling and cracking jokes, making light of the situation. She would talk about how her Sons were, things they had done and things that they had said about various parts of their daily routine. The Father would be upbeat when we did bump in to him, and at no point in time did you ever get anything but positivity from speaking to them. So many operations, not minor operations but very big operations the Son who has passed away has had. A huge Chelsea fan, he had been to see them play, taken by his Dad and again, when the pictures are viewed, the strength of the love between them is so obvious with smiles.
We are not the closest friends of the family, we would always be here for support but would not force ourselves upon them. People have said to me since my accident that I am an inspiration to others, that the way that my paraplegic state does not bother me and that they can not see how I could joke about it the way I do, and now I will tell you how and why I crack on.
When I first met the family I was taken aback that they could be so happy despite both boys being born with the same illness, the positivity that radiated from the parents. The smiles that the boys always had on their faces made me realise that despite their problems and I would imagine pain, they were two very happy young lads. The parents having to support and comfort their Sons were still smiling and laughing. You had no idea what they were feeling on the inside because they dealt with it so well. Take the number of military personnel who have not survived their tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, The Falklands and other conflicts. Any one of those people would do anything to be in a wheelchair rather than in their final resting place. If the parents of two young boys with a serious illness can smile and laugh and be so positive, and the young boys aged just 12 and 15 with what I know they have been through can be smiling, happy and positive then how can I show negativity? All too often people want every one to know that they are ill or have a pain, the members of this family could so easily have shown no positivity and played on peoples emotions for sympathy but they did not, and have not even now. These few things are forever etched on my mind as a reminder on days that I am feeling down, that there is always someone who has more to be down about than yourself.
I had so much respect for the young lad, he was an inspiration to me. I admired him for his positivity, for his happy smile, for his fighting spirit and for his strength. I can also say very much the same for his Brother, Mother and Father. My thoughts are with the family, and my Wife and I will be here for them if they want to escape, we will not badger them though, the offer of a cuppa is there. There is no justification for such a young life to be taken from this earth, Rest in Peace young man. You have my utmost respect and admiration for your courageous attitude.