I'm Amy’s dad, Steve, and I've been asked to do a blog post as part of the occasional series of guest blogs when Will is too busy (or lazy!) to do one.
It goes without saying it was a big shock when Will had his bleed.
My wife Jude and I were in Blockbuster Video trying to decide what DVD to hire - remember them?
So much has changed since that fateful day (not least the shops on the Ashley Road, where we live in Poole!)
Anyway, we had a distraught telephone call from Amy, which seemed to make no sense, but we rushed home, and a few minutes later, we were driving to Bristol towards Frenchay Hospital.
We met Will’s family for the first time that night, which is not how we imagined we would, if indeed we had thought about it at all. I then lost my wife and daughter for at least a month while they stayed in Bristol to be close to Will and I returned to Poole for work.
In retrospect, some wonderful things have come from the events of the last two-and-a-bit years. For a start, we discovered our lovely daughter had depth of character, which up until that moment, we had completely unsuspected. It turned out she really loved Will and was completely committed to him and his recovery, and without a thought, put her life on hold, while the events of 2013 played out. Don’t get me wrong, she still amazes us with her shallow moments! She is a huge fan of the online vlog: "The Saconnejolys" and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the "Real Housewives" programmes. But she has managed to share Will’s life and care for him while training to be a teacher.
We also properly got to know the new Will. We had met the pre-bleed Will occasionally. We had sat freezing with him and shared a cup of tea at Bournemouth Rugby Club. We had been to parties with him, but had not really got to know him. Now, we discovered Will in extremis and found a rather lovely young man with a great sense of humour. There are endless opportunities to rib him about his appalling short-term memory. He’s even taken to putting-on fake memory loss to confuse his nearest and dearest (“shall we go home to watch the latest episode of “Friends”?).
Once, when his previous rehabilitation hospital rung Amy to tell her (in error) Will had died, he wonderfully manipulated our regular title for him (“Will-I-Am”) to say he nearly became “Will-I-Was”.
There are things I am sad about. I am sad Amy is far away and I don’t get a chance to play and sing with her as much as I used to.
She has also not pursued her singing as much as I would have hoped for her. I’m ever hopeful they might find their way to the south coast, and continue to hope I might be taken aside at some time and be asked to pay for a wedding! But there is a lovely bittersweet aspect to these little sadnesses. They are the run-of-the-mill protests of a dad whose first-born daughter is growing up and leaving him behind rather than the much larger sadness of the last two years.
I also gained something from all of the trauma of Will’s brain injury, and subsequent recovery. I have ended up with, what I consider, to be a really good song about it. Obviously it is pretty well impossible for me to sing it, but with a bit of luck it might end up on the next CD. I might even get Amy to sing on it!