Autumn Leaves

October is my favourite month. At home, surrounded by the Rutland countryside, it always feels like nature is wrapping you in a windswept, loving hug, with winter coming on. There are yellow leaves, crisp blue skies, sudden showers. Red kites and ospreys, wheeling over the lake. A cleansing coolness. By this time of the year, there’s that sense that something has been achieved.

During August and September, Nic & I have been travelling with our story of sepsis, survival and resilience. We’ve spoken in the Isle of Man, in London, in Blackpool. We’ve been on a plane, on trains and we’ve driven a thousand miles in our trusty poster paint red Ford Focus. Oh, we also had a holiday week in Cornwall and we’ve been in and out of Manchester to help our daughter get settled at uni. We’ve stayed away from home, in hotels, some nice, some not so nice. We’ve met so many people, nurses, doctors and consultants, and hundreds of other people affected by sepsis.

We’ve told our story one thousand times by now, yet somehow the dialogue between Nic and I on stage remains fresh and relevant. It still touches me deeply. The more confident we become in presenting, the more often I find myself caught spellbound in split-second moments, feeling the profound meaning of words and events. How have we survived?

We find ourselves in odd parts of the country, far from home, standing up in front of strangers to tell our strange story of sudden life change. Sometimes, at 2am driving home on the A1, past the locked up articulated lorries and the scrapped car graveyards, we wonder if the lifestyle is healthy. Is there merit in constantly reliving our battle with Sepsis?

It can be hard, and two decades on from when sepsis came so close to killing me, my own mental health is a work in progress. But I love to speak in public, the response is always so positive, and Nic & I have important messages about how love and teamwork can overcome the toughest challenges life has to throw at us.

Starfish the film has become such a good friend to me. I love to see it, hear it, and be represented by it. The dialogue is just so full of love, so resonant of the life we once had, and the progress of emotions through the storyline is so delicate – sometimes subtle, sometimes sharp. It scares me and makes me cry. Yet, I love what the film says about love itself. And the music soundtrack is like being by a warm autumn fireside.

It seems that everyone and everything around us is going through changes, and that more than ever, Resilience is required. We’re all having to compromise, adjust, make way, concede. From negotiating Brexit on the big European stage, to our own personal day to day struggles, sophisticated responses and reactions are the order of the day.

Back to London for a conference this week, then I’m doing additional hours in the call centre earning a few extra pounds. And later this month I’m at an event for the Shaw Trust 2018 Power List as I’ve been named as one of the UK’s top 100 most influential disabled people. Wow.

As ever – thanks to all the people who have helped me, along my journey.

I know you may be facing difficult struggles of your own. If that’s the case, we’re with you. Remember that however hard things are, you are loved and respected. Have a great week, everybody.