Devastated, that's the only word that came to mind.

We've always been very close to Matthew.  He's the youngest of the boys and long after his older brothers had stopped he would still come camping with us in the camperwagon - he used to sit up front and be the navigator. 

When Matthew had his accident, we thought he was a goner first of all.  We were all in shock.  He was out cold for many days, and then when he came round he was paralysed.  Sheila and I went down to see him and he said, 'Granddad, could you scratch my eye, I've got an itch.'

We went down to Wales to see him many times and we just didn't see any improvement.  It all seemed final; how on earth was he going to survive this awful injury.  I remember the family all being around the bed and then the staff would come in to do something to him and we'd all have to leave and go and sit outside.  We could see the helicopter from where we used to wait, going off to bring someone else in with another bad injury.

Our faith helped us through

It was upsetting for all the family, but Matthew kept cheerful and that helped us a lot.  I don't know how it would have been if we'd been faced with Matthew thinking that all was lost.  And our faith helped us through; we knew there were so many friends and family praying for him and so we didn't feel alone.  Sheila and I had three quotes from the Bible that we found very comforting and we used to say those every morning, including one from Isaiah:

But those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

We weren't expecting a miracle but drawing strength and thanking the Lord for what had happened so far.

It's amazing how the human body adapts.  It might happen very slowly, but now, when Matthew's in his chair and up and about we almost forget about the injury.  He's in his own place, he's working, and he's involved with local  clubs and the church.  We're thankful that we're in a position to have been able to help.  I'd always ask him how he was getting on for pocket money, and Matthew would always say, 'Oh, I'm alright Granddad' but we chipped in to make sure he got the right wheelchair.  We're no big benefactors but we've been able to offer a little extra.

I can't recall ever having spoken to my grandparents to tell them how I was getting on.  But Matthew is always phoning us up to tell us what he's up to.  In many ways, he's become the centre of the family for Sheila and I.  It's my 87th birthday soon and to celebrate we're all going down to see his new flat.  Over the years, we've always had a lot of fun spending time with Matthew and the only thing that has changed is that we're probably closer than ever.

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