My journey starts off like well everybody else’s. You’ll read about how my life changes over the years, a lot of injuries, a few nice moments and well it gets dark, darker and damn right horrible so please read on. Some of my lowest moments that have haunted me for a massive period of my life……….
Some memories stick around, broken mixed emotions that follow life. The ones that leave an imprint, my first at 3 maybe younger being a tug of war , mum on the doorstep of 19 Lancaster Court, my biologicals first and last attempt at fatherhood.
So young but that thought still hung around and played on my mind for years.
Jumping from the derelict window on Alma Street, two floors up, hearing NO when I was flying through thin air, amazing what you’ll do when you think it’ll be fun, five years old and already copying my uncles. Back in the days when danger didn’t count like just part of the day out. Rope swings over devil’s rock, last time I visited that place I looked how high we’d fall, crazy happy madness without the safety of a mattress.
Flying through Corporation Park, watching as the bike completely fell apart, still remember Ian and myself laughing like lunatics as Aidy rolling around the ground, screaming out I wouldn’t use that again. It was a fold up bike that literally unfolded right at the wrong time, still makes me laugh out loud.
Climbing the chimney at Belper Street baths, crazy stunts for a twelve years old. I remember looking down and how my legs shook but I got to the top, a view I’ll never forget, almost gave my Gran an heart attack, all the way up, still remember her shout “you’ll kill yourself if you fall”, still laugh at that statement, still she never told my mum. I miss my gran a lot.
My other love was
my bike, a raving loony hurtling down Oak Street, back brake skids before I hit Whalley Range, good old days. Was a bit of a disaster when I gave my sister a backy, that bike wasn’t made for two. On went the back brake and off we went, I hadn’t compensated for the extra weight, carried her and my bike back home that night. Five minutes later I was pulling the back brake again on my way down the same street.
Hospital visits, well I’m surprised they weren’t more serious back then only stitches so easily fixed. I do remember doing a jump on Larkhill and the brake lever penetrating my inner thigh, extremely close to my privates, yet another hospital visit but no real harm done.
Oak Street did house a factory, in their carpark lay a skip, I was always climbing so why not scale this. It was a solid skip with a roof and a lockable hatch to seal it shut. I foolishly grabbed the pin that kept to hatch open. On doing this I released the steel hatch and it came crashing down on my hand, it was way to heavy to lift off but luckily my sister was yet again with me and quickly ran for help. An elderly man came rushing to my aid and eased the hatch upwards, I remember my hand being firmly stuck with the weight and on lifting my hand followed before I could tug my hand to freedom. Rushing home which was just around the corner I saw a lot of blood following me so yet again another visit to A&E, more stitches and one very sore hand.
My left hand still bears the scar of that event.
I grew up around that area until I was around thirteen. The area had become a mixed raced community with a lot of Pakistani families, some of whom I’m still friends with today. Every area has an element of racism, I didn’t fully understand the term back then but white honkey or paki bastard would be thrown around in childish standoffs, a fair few fights and well just kids being kids really.
We eventually moved to Ewood, Bolton Road. My dad loved the idea of moving so close to Ewood Park, home of Blackburn Rovers. My first match many years ago was when Blackburn played Millwall, a very cold evening match, still remember a guy giving me some coffee to try warm me up. This was the first time my Dad and I had ever done anything with just the two of us.
Fighting was like a game I hated and loved all rolled into one, each fight I had as a youngster, adolescent, young man I’d shake everywhere, I took this as a sign of being soft, what I didn’t realise was this was adrenaline pumping through my body. Today when I fight, on a mat in the confides of a Dojo or competition and not openly on the streets, well not unless I was defending myself or those around me I thrive off the energy it gives me, I often wonder if I’d have made a good boxer but I totally enjoy karate. It settles me, not during training sessions but afterwards I’m calm, collected and feel great. I struggle taking in new moves but I get there eventually, I did pass my Blackbelt last year at the age of 47 so I’m proud of my achievement.
So time to rewind a few years.
I started work two weeks before I officially left school, I wanted to go to college but my mum was more interested in me putting board money in her hand than me furthering my education. After a year of working I had a really bad accident where I amputated three fingers on my right hand, could have been worse I suppose, had it been the next machine I’d have lost most of my arm. A nineteen hour operation and months of physio got me back on the road to recovery but I’ve struggled with my injuries since. I’m unable to use the top joints so my fingers are fused, the cold kills me during winter or wet conditions and if I accidentally catch my fingers on anything it’s a cloud of tourretts, four letter obscenities and such.
Injuries have followed my path for a very long time, it’s not even that I’m clumsy, just very unlucky and in the wrong place, wrong time kind of scenario.
I’ve come off two motorbikes, well the first was a scooter that left me with a broken collar bone, the second a 600 cc sports bike, luckily my leathers did their job and the only real damage was my bike and a huge dint in my pride and a bruised ego.
I lovingly brought the bike back to life. An expensive mistake. It was a scary accident, as I slid down the road I saw my bike heading towards a jaguar that was parked up, my initial thought was I too will be hitting that car imminently. The force of hitting the gravel road must have took the wind out of me, I woke up in an ambulance after being unconscious for a while.
I’d took an intensive training coarse and was able to ride any size of bike after only a week of training. Crazy really because these machines can give you enough power you feel like a jet pilot, bloody brilliant fun, not so much when you’re sliding down the road but on two wheels they’re absolutely awesome.
You’ve been reading about my past memories, some great times but I’ve witnessed some horrific episodes. The great ones I love but the other side of great lay my demons. My work accident for one but my greatest nightmare came over the period I was married, a very turbulent exhausting relationship to someone I fell completely out of love with, not sure if I ever really did love her at all if I’m honest. When we met she was sterilised, I really wanted to be a father. She decided to have an operation to reverse the procedure and very soon became pregnant. Hospital visits due to unexpected problems where each and every week. At 26 weeks we had gone out for a night out, nothing to much. We decided to go for a takeaway on the way home. On entering to takeaway I noticed a certain individual that our paths had crossed previously, well his brothers but I suppose hit one you hit them all. Well I ended up standing right next to him. He had been drinking heavily but the moment he turned towards me he started pushing and got a few punches to my face. My wife screamed at my attacker and tried to stand in our way. All I saw was his foot firmly plant itself directly into her stomach. I went crazy. The scuffle quickly ended has I screamed in anger that she was pregnant, his response was I don’t give a fuck. He left the premises and we made our way home, she felt awful and requested me to take her to hospital. She was rushed over to St Mary’s hospital in Manchester where she undertook an operation to bring our baby girl into the world, extremely premature, less than a bag of sugar. Signs where good, so good that the hospital released her back to Blackburn, Queens Park hospital where she’d stay in the intensive care baby unit. Very sadly she became extremely ill and an infection took her from a world she hadn’t had a chance to experience. Only a few weeks of thinking she would soon be coming home I had the heartache of ringing my family and telling them the sad news.
We decided to try again and she became pregnant fairly quickly, intensive checks and antenatal appointments. Things were going well until one scan, I saw the nurses face change as the scan showed the babies heart was no longer beating, a still born birth was arranged, a very sorrowful event and once again phone calls made of the devastating news. The sorrow of seeing your son motionless without a chance was horrible, I felt sick and slipping into depression.
Our relationship had already bore the brunt of heartache,and just too much in between but we decided on one last attempt of having another child. The consultant kept a very close eye on her during this pregnancy, tons of extra care and a pre-planned date for sessarian section, 17th December so a great Christmas bundle to look forward to. Kirsty LeeAnne Wright was born and what a little princess she was. I was over the moon that sadness had not followed this pregnancy. Kirsty and I grew so close, a true bond between father and daughter was immediate.
Kirsty was coming up to three years old when we went to Kos, Greece for a family holiday. That sadness had stayed well away but my world would quickly be turned upside down. Three days before we had to go back to the UK we were saying goodbye to friends we’d met, they where flying home that afternoon. I could see Kirsty playing by the side of me, I could hear her giggles and little screams of excitement as she played. I remember the noise or lack of it, I turned around and she had moved from her play spot, I spun round frantic of her whereabouts, I scanned everywhere, all of a sudden a child’s voice shouted, your daughter, she’s in the jacuzzi. Oh my god I couldn’t believe what was happening. I flew towards her and grabbed her from the water, I was shaking with panic. Her little body was motionless, I tried with everything I had to resuscitate her but she had taken in too much water and at that point my world went black, I had lost the most important part of my life. I was literally broken, full of anger and a sadness that still haunts me to this day.
Losing a child and having to go through the process of loss, the grieving and the constant mental memories is something no-one should ever have the misfortune of experiencing. There are no definite answers, no calming attributes and facing the funeral after going through this tragedy twice before is damn right cruel.
It was a little after Christmas that a friend told me my wife had gone for an appointment to see if there was any chance she could become pregnant again, on our third attempt with Kirsty she was sterilised again. I was in shock on hearing this news. That night we had a massive argument, I told her I was leaving and that night I rang my brother and started a new chapter in my life.
I was heavily into the gym back then, think if I hadn’t have had that to fall into I’d have probably drunk myself to death. I didn’t have a drink problem but I did drink excessively over a period of months.
The same friend who told me the news about future plans to become pregnant would txt occasionally, we struck up a friendship that led to us seeing each other on and off for a few months. The distraction was immensely needed. She was also in a very complicated relationship with her sons father, they where on/off all the time so think we both needed a shoulder and a way out of the madness. It didn’t take long before excuse after excuse was common place so I decided enough was enough and we parted company, kind of friends but lost contact, we still say hi if ever we see each other but it’s purely a friendly hello.
My head still full of turmoil and extremely depressed I filled my life with one night stands, drinking and yet more crazy antics with girls I should have just stayed clear of, it wasn’t ever going to go anywhere but I just needed my head to think about anything other than my loss. I was in a serious world of shit.
I needed an escape so I took a job in London and its surrounding areas, I started work on the landfills driving a huge dump truck, a massive tonka toy of a beast. Long days and travel kept my head busy but I still missed home and I constantly missed Kirsty, I wasn’t trying to forget her but the tragic nightmare I was living felt like it was going to crush me. Still does at times, just no escape from that kind of sadness.
I spent about 4 years up and down the motorways going to different sites. The smell in those places is one that never let’s you forget, open your rubbish bin and times that by 1000 and you’ll get what I mean. The stench is awful, even more so in the summer months.
I decided enough was enough and came home, it was almost the anniversary of Kirsty’s birthday when I made my mind up. First place I went on my return was the cemetery, two graves, two headstones lay ahead of each other, I say my hellos and generally just utter whatever comes out before kissing my hand and touching the marble before leaving, I can’t stay there too long or it brings me to an whole time low that I struggle to free myself from.
So by now you’ve accomplished the fact I’ve lived through a few nightmares too say the least. I kind of visit those sad times way to much, not that I want to totally depress myself it’s just they’re like a constant never ending loop. Writing about it has played with my emotions and broke me yet again but they are the demons I carry around and I really needed to release them instead of just thinking and hoping one day I’ll be at peace with it, I’m sure I’ll never be free of those demons.
So I’m back in Blackburn, I’ve a mortgage to pay and I’ve walked away from the landfill smells of yesterdays leftovers. A friend back then was working for a charity, he dressed up as a superhero, yes you read that correctly. A kind of overweight superman. He seemed to do OK and was still raising funds for a good cause. I thought about it, maybe I’d enjoy or atleast until something came up. So then there were two supermen walking the streets of the UK. I must admit it was a little embarrassing but also gave my confidence a great boost. We went up and down the country, most of England, a lot of Scotland and Wales. I spent around a year doing this but my duo superhero friendship hit a wall when I realised how much administrative costs where being taken from the money raised, it sickened me when I worked out the percentage. By this time I’d started dating my superheroes sister. I’d known them both most of my life, we lived on the same street, Walnut Street during school years at St Albans and then Notre Dame, the Blackburn version.
She was a little messed up if I’m honest, their father had died whilst out working and their mother lived in a nursing home, she’d been ill for a long time and a stroke left her a very changed person. After a short time we started dating, I realised her past relationships where still very much in her life. She assured me it was just a friend thing. One of her ex boyfriends actually worked with her but still assured me that I had nothing to worry about. We ended up moving in together, one part of me often thinks she did so she didn’t have to live under the same roof as her brother, I don’t think she ever truly loved me. Turns out the time we were together she had a constant phone affair with her ex, well actually a few of them. I caught her texting one of them, we had a massive argument about what I’d read. She’d actually agreed to an affair with one of them and I’m sure she’d already been unfaithful before this. We split up that same week. We tried to patch things up over the next year but it was always on my mind and every thought was one of mistrust and wondering everytime we were apart. Life was one huge lie so I started seeing my current partner whilst still with my ex. I thought well if your going to play me I’m actually going to do the same. Shortly afterwards I myself was caught out by a txt message, my phone had gone dead, I had gone out on my motorbike, not for long as the wind was terrible and I was still a little timid after my crash a few months ago. I decided to go back to her house, my phone was out and she looked like she’d been crying. She asked about my outing on the bike but flatly refused to except my excuse. I knew what she wanted to hear. This was my chance to hurt her as much as she had recently hurt me so out came my confession and on that day we parted company and we were done.
Having already started seeing Angela I told her what had happened, we had an affair about a year before this, brief but we got into each others heads. We got along, had a laugh, most of the time. She has 3 children and I got on with them, her eldest a little less so but I can’t blame him, he’s definitely his father’s son and well simply I wasn’t his father. We get along today but it took a while. He himself is now a father and actually does a great job with his newest arrival, his story is not mine to tell so I’ll leave that here. We all have pasts.
So here I am in a new relationship, we are enjoying life, out for meals, drinks and generally getting on with everything.
Angela took a job in the local pub, The Brown Cow. A mix of people, most good characters, some I’d have happily barred but they’re entitled to drink where they choose, I just kept my distance. We’d often go in there as a couple or I’d go with my brothers and have a good laugh.
One night she had a shift, I’d asked my brother Michael (Mick) to come up for a beer or two. He was busy so didn’t get chance to meet. For some weird reason some guy I’d never met started buying me drinks. He seemed happy enough to do so, I still don’t know who he was or if he even remembers buying so many beers. I actually got another drink from an old school friend who was just passing through.
The night was going great until I realised my ex had come in with a friend, oh well it didn’t bother me too much. I had got her right out of my system. I’m not sure if she was still there later but my world was about to be turned upside down once again.
A lot of raised voices where heard from a small group at the bottom end of the pub. All of a sudden we all heard glass smashing, they’d broke the pool table lighting, I was the first down the steps to see what the hell was going on, I actually only remember going in with my hands kind of raised, not in an aggressive way but more like come on guys what are you doing. The second I entered that pool room a pool cue was smashed into my face, actually breaking the cue and part of my face. Obviously I didn’t have a clue, it happened so fast. I didn’t have a chance to defend myself and was dragged to the floor. Almost unconscious you’d think that it would have been enough but I remember being stamped hard into my head several times and to add insult to injury a barstool was used to smash my face once more. The pub quickly emptied apart from a few, I could feel the blood running from my injuries, my jaw was broke and I felt like shit. I remember saying to Angela come on let’s just go home, I didn’t have a clue on how serious my injuries were.
I must have at that point passed out, next thing I remember is being in an hospital bed in Blackburn and I faintly remember another hospital dash in the ambulance over to Burnley to check my facial injuries further.
The day after was a bit of a blur, infact it really was, I don’t remember if I woke up in Burnley or Blackburn but what I do remember is just how swollen and sore I felt. I’d literally had the shit kicked, punched and stamped out of me and I felt ashamed that I’d actually not been able to defend myself in such an unprovoked attack
The doctors and nurses who made regular checks on me all agreed I was extremely lucky to not be brain damaged or to have actually survived the trauma. I’d definitely took a beating for sure. I was so swollen my own mother didn’t recognise me. I was really out of it and not that able to focus on anything. A nurse came round to examine me, she asked me to try and open my eyes. I could only manage to open them ever so slightly, the pain was immense. I managed to make out a figure stood in front of me, to my shock I could only see out of my left eye, I tried to focus with my right eye but it was like looking through a very dark fog, almost like trying to look through a very dirty window, I just couldn’t make out what was exactly in front of me. I had several tests and two further surgeries to try and fix my sight but it could not be, a detached retina and severe bruising to my eye had left me blind in that eye.
After realising I couldn’t see through it I decided to try see myself in the mirror, what a stupid thing to do, I’d already been warned not to but it got the better of me, so I opened my eye has much as possible and holy shit, I didn’t look great at all, I looked deformed, both my eyes were black and purple, I had massive swelling all around my face but my nose shocked me. I stared at this brurry reflection and was almost close to tears, my nose wasn’t where it should be but what was worse was the tip of my nose was resting on my cheek. I was on shock by what I saw looking back at me, I hadn’t thought about anything not looking the same and believe me I now realised why my mum had struggled to recognise me. A few weeks after being home I had an operation to reset my nose, thankfully it went back into place, a slightly different shape than it use to be but a hell of an improvement than I reluctantly saw just after the attack.
My jaw gave me grief for what seemed months, I’d not been able to chew down on anything hard, eating was a constant reminder. I remember giving a man-hug to a family member, it wasn’t a massive squeeze but oh my god the pain felt like my jaw had broke all over again. Hand shakes became the norm after that episode.
The run up to the court case was one I wasn’t looking forward to, see the guy who attacked me already knew my partner, they’d actually grown up around the same area so it was an awkward day all round to be honest. I saw my attacker sat not that far from me, his family all to the side of the courtroom, I actually felt guilty about being attacked by this guy. All his family seemed to be looking directly at me like it was in fact my fault he was here facing charges of grievous bodily harm, the judge was very stern as you would expect and after reading several statements gave him a sentence of 8 years. On hearing this I actually put my head towards the floor, he had children and because of his own actions was going to miss a massive part of their lives. The guy almost killed me and there I was feeling guilty about it. I suppose I just missed being a father so much that the thought of him actually being taken away from his family played on my mind even though his stupidly had brought him before the courts.
The two things I hated most of all was obviously being blinded, the other was I felt unable to ride my motorbike due to not being able to see over my right shoulder. I’d still love to find the confidence to actually get back on one, maybe a cruiser these days, I’d love an Harley Davidson, something matt black, customized and loud. That’s a dream that keeps coming back to me so who knows one day. Maybe.
My past always sticks around, some days better, some great but some I still feel broken, down and frustrated. Depression and anxiety mixed with the horrors I’ve witnessed have took me to some very dark places, I’ve always bounced back but I easily slip backwards from time to time. My story and my journey continues so let’s see how it pans out.
Thanks for reading, my past has brought my writing to become my blog, my past and present demons create the words I now possess. There’s been a massive number of other insidents that have mounted up over the years but my biggest upsets, regrets and feelings you’ve just read, I know I’m obviously not the only one out there and if you relate to anything you’ve read I wish you the best of luck in dealing with your issues and I truly hope one day your sadness leaves and your happiness returns without ever fading.
Lee David Wright