Fantastic things adjustments, they make everything perfect; we all make them, sometimes to suit ourselves, but also selflessly to suit others. A change can be anything from something as simple as an extra sugar lump in one’s coffee to a massive overhaul of one’s mindset and beliefs after an OMG moment that has impacted every aspect of one’s existence. A little over a year ago, I wrote about the tragic event that happened to Aberfan. When, on the 21st of October 1966 in the blink of an eye, the routine of everyday life in that small, close-knit, Welsh mining community changed, forever. The impact of that tragedy affected the lives of everyone and sent a tsunami of emotion that spread around the Globe.
It is from the people of Aberfan and what they have endured that I draw my strength.
12 years ago I experienced my own personal disaster; what a day that was, I’ll never forget it. It was a beautiful August morning, bird songs filled the garden, and even at the early hour of five-thirty, the Summer Sun was beaming in a cloudless blue sky.
Dressed and ready for work, I leaned lightly on the washbasin and stared at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Everything seemed normal, and I was good to go. It was going to be another routine sunny summer day. Or was it?
In the blink of an eye; my life changed, forever.
Suddenly, I felt hot. It was a heat that came from inside my core. This feeling of overheating was joined by a sensation of dizziness, that made me tighten my grip on the sink. I watched the changing expressions of my face, reflected in the mirror; it was glowing red, wet with sweat, and covered in a frozen expression of confusion and fear.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was already on my way down; the bursting blood vessel in my brain felled me instantly.
I died that day, literally. I spent the blue-light, siren-filled journey to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in that warm, cosy place that is only found between life and death.
I thought my life was over. After enduring the immediate pain and discomfort of my Bleed, I had to spend the next three months in what seemed like a state of helpless infancy, being looked after by professional, caring people. I was moved from Hospital to Hospital as I steadily progressed along that seemingly endless road to recovery. After what can only be described as the darkest days of my life I was finally allowed home. Accompanied by my Dad (since deceased), my younger Sister Meggan, and my loving wife Jackie, I arrive back at Ladybirch – our home. I was in a wheelchair, but I was alive. Never, until this moment, had the phrase Home Sweet Home felt so relevant or sounded so pleasing.
Adjustments had to be made, lots of them, and not only by me but by all of those around me too.
What’s brought all this on? I hear you ask. Well, let me tell you. Since that dark day, remembered by us all, for all the wrong reasons; a lot of water has passed under the bridge, and lots and lots of adjustments have been made.
I eventually realized that I was guilty of blindly bumbling along from one moment to the next, always at the limit of my endurance, testing, pushing, digging deep for that extra bit of strength (which made me irritable and grumpy), never stopping to smell the roses; but instead, hacking through life regardless, oblivious to the beauty of the life around me, and the adjustments made by others to make my existence better.
I owe much to a lot of people for their commitment; It is thanks to others that I’m here today; They ask for nothing in return, other than to see a smile on my face.