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Thursday, 1 March 2012

A Very Sad Day

Unable to sleep last night, I spent until 3am writing a new and much overdue post.
Subsequently feeling quite under par today, my plans to finish off the post and upload it were delayed until now: however in the light of today's tragic news in regard to the incredibly sad and untimely death of PC David Rathband- I felt that I would prefer to delay said post and spend a few minutes this evening paying respect to this brave man and the unfortunate set of circumstances that have lead to his death.

As I'm sure you are aware if you have been anywhere near a television or radio today- tributes have been flooding in thick and fast from fellow police officers, members of parliament both present and former, as well as numerous other celebrities who had met this brave individual at charity events and award ceremonies such as There Pride of Britain Awards- at which David himself was presented with his own such award in 2010.

PC Rathband's public legacy will no doubt be the amazing work that he put into setting up The Blue Lamp Foundation, who provide financial support for the criminally injured emergency service personnel in this country.


As someone who is in the process of trying to set up a charity themselves, I can vouch for the incredible amount of effort and work that has to go in to such a process. David Rathband achieved this feat at the same time as overcoming his injuries and adjusting his life physically in the necessary ways, whilst also trying to adjust emotionally to the fact that his life as he knew it would never be the same again.

I'm sure there will be many things that we are not, and nor should we be privy to, that David will be remembered for on a private and personal level- and as such I'd like to take this opportunity to wish his family my sympathies and to take a moment to pray for them to have yet more strength and courage, on top of that that they have already had to find over the last couple of years.
One of the most poignant things I ever heard David Rathband express, was his immense sadness that he would never see his daughter get married or the face of the person that she would marry.

 I feel such a sadness that this incredibly tragic occurrence highlights a distressing point, (that is also the primary element of my proposed charity)- which is that becoming disabled, be it through illness or injury- being made blind, deaf, paralysed or ruled by illness or chronic pain- is SO incredibly tough. not only on a physical level- but I would be so bold enough to say that in almost every case, it is much, much harder emotionally- and subsequently MUCH more emotional support, should be provided for these, (us) people as standard.

The post that I wrote when I was unable to sleep last night due to the merry-go-round of thoughts and emotions in my head- was actually ironically this exact point.

I state to you very candidly this evening that I have been struggling emotionally of late. I have been put back on anti-depressants and I have received counselling for the emotional dip that I have experienced as a result of a recent physical set back and increase in pain and complications.

I choose to be open about such usually personal and confidential topics as I have come to realise that in doing so I am in a very small way breaking down the incredible wall of stigma and taboo that sadly is so commonly associated with such matters, and I feel passionately that if we can all be more open and accepting of depression and it's associated appendages such as anxiety, paranoia etc., then we can perhaps move in the right direction towards avoiding people feeling that they are unable to talk to anyone and must resort to such lengths as harming themselves.

By laying my often raw soul bare for you upon these posts, I am so often encouraged and saddened in equal measure to receive the comments and messages that many of you so kindly take the time to write to me in return.
These messages are primarily expressions of relief to hear the songs of their hearts being played so openly. Subsequently I am encouraged to hear that I am not the only one feeling such often difficult and at times embarrassing thoughts;  but equally saddened to hear that so many of you are struggling in silence and alone.
 So often I am told that in reading my words of emotional struggles and battles- so many of you are hearing the words and thoughts that you have struggled to articulate to others at either becoming disabled yourself or of your partner becoming disabled.
There NEEDS to be better emotional support out there for people who become disabled, to help us through the difficult emotional process that lays ahead of us all.

It has been told to me by many psychology professionals that I have so far sought guidance from in order to set up my charity to hopefully implement this much needed increase in emotional support for people who become disabled and their families- that the psychological process that one goes through after becoming disabled, is one of grief or bereavement and should be treated as such when helping such people emotionally accept their changed circumstances.
Those of you who have thankfully never experienced such circumstances,  may understandably be shocked or confused by the use of what you may perceive to be harsh or even dramatic language- but those of you have have sadly experienced this yourself, will know only too well that this is actually very much the case.

It is hugely important to stress that this process is not only to be experienced by the individual concerned, but also by the husbands, wives or partners who may now no longer be able to travel with, watch films with, enjoy mutually loved sports or physical activities such as playing in the sea together, make love to, dance with, have children with, walk down the street holding hands with, ( one of things that saddens my husband the most), or share a conversation with- their loved ones.
Their lives are immeasurably changed too and subsequently they need to receive help to go through this bereavement process also.
I also feel passionately that the web of destruction stretches far and wide and friends and families' lives are altered also; but I believe that the same support that should be awarded to the partners of people who become disabled, should also be offered to the children or parents of the individual, who more often than not become unwitting and at times even understandably unwilling carers.
The dreams that these parents may have had of watching their children excel as a dancer or sportsperson; or simply to watch their children walk down the aisle on their wedding day, or at the most basic level be able to watch their children live a 'normal', ( apologies for the banned word, but I feel it sometimes has no more appropriate replacement)- life.

The family of David Rathband have not only had to experience the thoughts and emotions mentioned above- but now have to deal with a whole new scope of difficult feelings.
The bereavement process must commence all over again, but in a very different way.
I have had brief contact with Kath Rathband before, and it was hoped that we could discuss how much this  network of support is needed and how difficult getting through one of you in a marriage becoming disabled can be.
My thoughts and prayers are with Kath Rathband and her and David's children Mya and Ashley this evening; along with those for David's extended family and friends and colleagues also.
There is obviously nothing more to be said other than this is an extremely sad day.

I hope that people can use today to focus upon David's incredible achievements, such as setting up the Blue Lamp Foundation and running the 2011 London Marathan. These incredible feats are naturally only the public ones and those of us who have become disabled, or who have a loved one who has become disabled, will be only too aware of the huge personal and rightly private achievements that he and his family must also have had to overcome over the last two years.

This innocent member of our brave and all too little respected emergency services- was so callously shot whilst sat unarmed in his patrol car, by a man whose web of terror and destruction has now sadly claimed yet another life and incomprehensibly affected the lives of David's family forever.
Please join me in saying a prayer for;  sharing a moment's silence for;  or raising a glass to- (whichever of the former you find most appropriate)- to a brave and incredible man.

Thank you for your time this evening. I will endeavour to speak to you again as soon as I am able, hopefully over the weekend, but in the meantime do please take a few minutes to take a look at the charity that PC David Rathband put so much effort into setting up.    http://www.bluelamp-foundation.org/

Stay safe and as healthy as can be tonight. God bless you all.