When Life Throws Your Man Off A Bridge

Ruth Ridgeway

I've had huge internal battle on whether I should write this post. 

Why?

Because is it the 'right' thing to do putting my personal & private life on my business page or am I messing with the boundaries.

Because do I come across like a total hypocrite looking to help others when my own world has fallen apart.  

Because I don't want to be the victim, the sob story, the 'woe is me' story. I don't want this to be what defines me. 

 Yet this is my story, my life. Our life. And I have better places right now to turn my energy, rather than putting it into hiding such a huge part of my life. 

 Steve, this cute but dork of a guy, is the guy who has completely captured my heart. I'll save you from all the bucket reaching mushy stories, but he makes me smile like nobody else can, and I LOVE being the person that can do that for him too. 

Today, 25th January 2015, is 6 months since his accident, and 6 years (and 2 days) since our first date.

Happy anniversary us. 

We're one of those urban myths - the long distance relationship that has actually survived. We've had our share of ups and downs with it, but after 6 years later and 320 miles apart we grow stronger and stronger. 

We'd planned to both relocate in September 2014 to Cardiff and finally move in together before emigrating to New Zealand the following year - although if I had my way Australia would have won, give me that sunshine! - and we had a few 'hypothetical' talks about our secluded beach wedding in the Cooke Islands. A simple wedding, just him and me, bare feet in the sand, ocean in the background whilst the sun went down. 

We had a little blue book full of planned adventures together - horse riding, kayaking, bike rides, wine tasting in NZ vineyards... We had literally mapped out our perfect future. 

On 25th July 2014 Steve emailed me an invite that he'd received for an interview for his perfect job in our soon to be relocated town.

“Perfect!” I thought.

We're getting there, our plans are coming to life.  

That same night however, he was pushed off a bridge. A 20ft high bridge. 

One side of his ribs were smashed, his lung was punctured and his spine had separated. I later learned his family had been called as the doctors thought that could have been it. 

The evening I received the news, well I don't even have the words for. My world literally turned inside out and upside down. I didn't know what to do with myself. Even now, thinking of that phone call… Yeah, it's one I try to block from my mind.

It's too much to deal with.

Since, wow. Where do I even begin.

My head was trying to rationalise what had happened. My heart was in a million pieces. I had no clue what to do with the pain I was feeling, seeing the person I cared most about in the world in that hospital bed and unable to walk. 

The emotional strain was HUGE.

I was attempting to process everything that was happening and while doing so felt like a hypocrite helping people with their own business and lifestyle design while still building my own new business to now support our new future, plus the constant travel back and forth for hospital visits…

I gained unexpected support from people I barely knew or had yet to meet, but I also lost friendships which came as a second great surprise. 

I don't want to tell Steve's story - that's his to share if he chooses. But there have been a number of complications and further surgeries since, and potentially more to come. His first release date of November came and went, and 6 months on he's still there. 

NOTHING pains me more than seeing the waves of uncontrollable pain he still suffers each evening. So painful even the medication doesn't touch it. When you hear someone is paralysed, you know they can't walk, however you don't realise the other daily medical complications it comes with, least of all a person with a spinal injury has a shortened life expectancy. 

This was not supposed to be our future, but I'm determined and WILL provide us with the best, happiest, new future I can. 

Whilst his passion (mountain biking) has been ripped from him, along with his now inaccessible home, his job, his career…

The one thing I want to provide whilst he figures out what the heck he now wants to do with his life, whilst we start to rebuild, is a safe place to do that from...

A HOME.


An Update…

The story carried on here along with an invitation to readers, friends and family to support me/us in getting Steve a home for when he was finally done with hospital (that happened to be almost ten months later).

Waves and waves of support came in, and in total people donated just over £13,500 towards our new home and that first year out of hospital.

I can never thank everyone enough for being there during a kind of time I wish no one to ever encounter. You helped and supported and shown so much love in that first year, honestly, on so many levels, I’m in awe at you for saving us.

With love, Ruth xo


Ruth Ridgeway

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