What Dani read out, for me, on Friday.
”As Russ cannot project his voice and tends to slur, particularly if trying to read something aloud or say something poignantly, he’s asked me if I would speak for him.
He’s been quite literally blown away by the support he’s received from so many people over the last 4 months.
The people here tonight represent a huge proportion of the total number of those he’d call his friends.
He’s genuinely amazed daily by the attention that a Welsh idiot like him has managed to generate, through as simple an act as falling off a bicycle.
His maintains that he is still very much at the start of his long journey back to recovering anything like a decent quality of independence.
He says that without the love and patience of those around him, he’d sink into despair.
It’s your devotion to him that gives him the drive to get better. He needs you there, so that he can’t let YOU down.
He knows he’ll never be the same again and thinks sometimes very dark thoughts. However, those bleak times are slowly getting less.
He hopes that all of you, through him and the visits you make, and through reading his blog, will have learnt something about what it is to have had your normal life and rights as a man taken away from you.
There is never an easy day now, each day has the potential to be sad and humiliating.
To go from being so athletic and physical to being disabled and in a wheelchair is worse than your worse nightmare.
He does though have optimism for the future, relearning how to get through the day, from the simplest tasks to the more complex ones.
It’s not going to happen quickly, but he’s determined to master it.
Since his accident he is aware of a tangible change in the way those that his friends and family have interacted.
He’s really aware of the coming together of people who know him. Old friends who’ve not seen eachother for years are now meeting up regularly. Russ’s family and friends are now much closer than they’ve been in the past. Something good seems to have come from something tragic, a greater awareness perhaps of what you can lose in a moment.
The fragility of life and happiness perhaps seems closer now , to all those here tonight.
As someone who for 46 years, it has to be said, lived every day to the full, it’s Russ’s advice to you that life is there to make the most of, to be the best you can, to be the best person you can, to be the best parent/ husband/wife/ partner/ child you can be.
As well as giving all you can, you’ll set yourself up to recieve it, from your friends and family and who knows who else, in the event that life as you know it is snatched away from you.
Russ, until his accident, was never philosophical, and rarely thought more deeply than his next cycle ride or canoe paddle purchase.
He wants you to remember that the same badly behaved guy is still there, albeit on 4 wheels now.
He doesn’t want you to be any different to him than you were before.
He needs a bit of time to adjust and fit his new lifestyle, but hopes that in time he’ll be able to help others in his situation.
He’s happy to accept all the help offered to him, to forget the concept of struggling along by himself. We’re all here, as friends, to help eachother in times of difficulty.
Thank you all for coming tonight and for showing what great friends YOU are.
Russ, and I, will never forget what you’ve done. ”