Watching the news today I was struck by how easily our heroes fall; at the start of the year Jimmy Savile was a fondly remembered fund raising hero, Lance Armstrong was an inspiring sporting hero and survivor and John Terry was a respected national role model.
These are people about whom we are bombarded with carefully crafted PR and that we build pedestals for and so it is perhaps not that surprising when some of them slip off; maybe we need to start looking for our heroes in different places?
Well, I have had a look in my own life and have found literally hundreds, but there are two in particular I thought I would share with you.
The first is a man who has been part of mine and Jake's journey for the last 6 months, but who we are saying goodbye to today (hopefully only professionally). Sebastian started driving Jake when he was still in Boot Camp and when he couldn't walk, communicate or control his emotions. Back then we quickly came to rely on Sebastian to be sensitive, caring, thoughtful and never patronising. As time has moved on he has become more of a friend to us both and Jake is always pleased to see him, if not always pleased that he's being taken back to the Rehab Hotel! Seeing them shake hands and exchange small talk (even if it made no sense!) has been a really good benchmark of how things have moved on. From my perspective Sebastian has been flexible and understanding when things have had to change last minute, he has been empathetic and supportive when I have failed to hold it together, known when silence is the right thing and he has cheered me up with his quirky humour when I have been struggling to see the funny side. He even tolerated my endless fiddling with the radio!
It is people like Sebastian that make us feel safe and in control and, although it is exciting to be finally at the stage where I can drive Jake myself, we will no doubt miss him.
Thank you Sebastian.
The second is not one person, it is an organisation; The Imp Club. For those of you that don't know, Jake has a 44 year old Hillman Imp that he has had for 23 years. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the Imp and Jake was determined to finally get the 'Imp of Doom' as he calls it, fully restored in time for the anniversary club meet next Summer.
When we moved to our new home just 2 months before his accident, Jake finally had a garage and for the first time since he left his parents many years ago, his Imp, most of the spares he needed and his tools were all in one place. He was all set. And then life happened.
Well, this weekend for the first time since his accident Jake got excited about the car again. The challenge of course is that Jake had a wide range of physical and cognitive impairments that may or may not improve and so starting work on his beloved Imp is not something he can do alone.
All the medical experts agree that having an interest to focus on that he is passionate about will significantly help his recovery and I am desperate to help him to get the Imp to the anniversary meet.
Sadly I have neither the knowledge or capability to do this, so I appealed to the club for help and my timing could not have been better as yesterday was their AGM and Jake was an agenda item.
They got in touch to find out how they can help, are reinstating Jake's club membership on our behalf, are making me an associate member and clearly just want to do whatever they can without any expectations in return. I have also been contacted by members of the Imp Club forum with offers of help and support. These heroes don't know me from Adam and have only ever had contact with Jake on-line before, but they are keen to get involved and have restored my faith in human kind. Getting Jake and the Imp of Doom to the anniversary meet would be truly wonderful and the Imp Club heroes have made me feel that this may now be possible.
I wonder what heroes you already have in your life and who is waiting in the wings to step up and be heroic when you need them?