The recent deadly fires in London reminded me of something that happened years ago, when my youngest son was 19 or 20. It was his first year working in London, and was sitting outdoors on a warm summer’s evening with friends having dinner when the Brazilian restaurant’s kitchen caught fire very rapidly. Without a second thought for his own safety, he had dashed in there and helped a lady worker to safety. For months afterwards, he received offers for free food at the restaurant.
I was blown away by his act of bravery. He had always been my baby, my cosseted one. It is his older brother Kit who is in the military whose exploits shone – such as the time he was out in the Caribbean busting drug lords and building homes that the hurricane destroyed in his down-time.
My youngest son Jack’s courage on the streets of London made me realise that there are heroes in our midst, on the bus next to us or sitting in the next table at the cafe. When the serviceman Lee Rigby was decapitated, a group of mothers stood by his dying body whilst one confronted the crazed killer (who was still in possession of the bloodied murder weapon), telling the killer defiantly, “You will never win” (or something to that effect).
But look closer. There are heroes in your life too. The child who finds school difficult, for example. The child who hates sports but sticks with it uncomplainingly. The child who has undiagnosed dyslexia and called stupid.
I think my partner is brave for sticking with me. I know he fights his fear regularly, internally, so that all I see is a stoic, stubborn man who will never run away. For it is not easy to take on a woman who needed adult diapers, had tufts of hair falling out, scaly skin, depression and a whole hosts of issues, not knowing what the future holds. He had valiantly insisted that we went out for lunch at my special restaurant – so much pain! – revisited all my happy places, fought to start new things and most of all, held me silently when terror beat in his heart. And the battle is not over.
Recently, he went for my check-up with me. He was quiet and contemplative throughout, and held my hand tightly until his knuckle showed white. Did he want to leave? What demons were trying to pull him down? What was going through his mind? Did he want to leave?
“It’s only a check-up,” I said.
“Yes,” he smiled briefly. “We’ll be fine, hey, Jac?”
Courge in everyday life is making that choice, however difficult the path, and sticking to it, come hell or high-water ❤