That Kind Of Man

Resilience is sometimes the hardest thing to find within myself, though I try my very best to remain calm, even-tempered and positive.

A black and chilly November rises up around me, huge, dark, assertive and endless at the windows. I’ve been pushing myself to work extra shifts at the call centre in order to earn more, so I’m finishing at 10pm. The stump of my right arm hurts with the weight of my prosthetic arm, as I type as fast as I can to answer the customer queries. I’ve made an appointment to show the doctor the red sore at the end of the bone there, as I’m concerned it might get infected.

The helicopter accident at Leicester City football club has preoccupied us in the last few days.

It came down just over the fence from our car park, a half hour after my son and I drove out of the ground. We’ve been back since to lay flowers and sign the book of condolence, and today we watched the first home match since the event itself. There was a very special atmosphere at the ground, the club gave us all a commemorative programme and a white scarf, it was a very moving experience being part of it.

It reminded me that we all want to be part of a team.

That’s what football represents, really. It’s not just the simple physical activity – deep down, it’s about sharing and belonging. At Leicester’s King Power stadium, we’re in a family that’s 32,000 strong. We moan together, we shout together, we sing together. After the game today, the team did a lap of honour, and even the last 2 managers they had sacked were there, joining in.

It signalled to me that in summoning and growing our resilience, we need to be forgiving.

We need to build bridges with people from our past, and always resist trying to isolate ourselves from the difficult experiences we go through. By maintaining dialogue, keeping communication open, we gain strength, understanding, peace.

Even at the age of 56, I’m learning all the while how to be a grown up, and how to take things in my stride. Sepsis dealt me a knockout blow, and it’s been the best part of 2 decades now, but every day I’m inching my way back towards a kind of happiness.

Sometimes I feel angry, late at night, and when the pain in my arms and legs is sharp.

It wasn’t my fault I got sepsis, and that the hospital failed to spot it. Sometimes I feel a kind of hopelessness, when I think I’ve missed out on opportunities that I might have had if I wasn’t so disabled. I say to myself ‘it is what it is’ and I try to be as philosophical as I can, but it’s hard not to feel a bit isolated.

Then, I’m surrounded by family. And in that, I am blessed, rich beyond measure, reassured at every turn.

My wife’s smile is like treasure. Plus, there’s the football. We drew today against Burnley, but I was so proud of the team, after what they have been through. Our goalkeeper, Kaspar Schmeichel, ran from the dressing room and climbed a 6 foot fence to try and rescue the victims of that helicopter crash.

As I say, it can be difficult to stay resilient sometimes. But that’s the kind of man I want to be.