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Monday 06 January 2020

Shelley Cooper's Diary - Part One

Posted by: Help For Heroes

Tuesday 6th July 2010 - 07.32 Afghan time - 04.02 British Summer Time:

The day we always dreaded whilst you were in Afghanistan. It started out as an exciting day; I was packing for my tandem skydive in aid of Help for Heroes tomorrow. I was having a lazy morning - kept having just one more brew before I cleaned up.

We were watching Jeremy Kyle and the dog was barking but we couldn’t see anyone by the door - then we noticed there was some guy wandering up the side of the house and the dogs were going mad, he then went to the front door and knocked. He said, “Are you, Shelley Cooper?” When I said “Yes” he then said: “The mother of Kingsman Anthony Cooper?” I didn’t answer him. I slammed the door shut, burst into tears and ran through the house. I picked up my mobile and gave it to your sister (Lucy) and told her to phone Dad. I automatically presumed you were dead.

My whole world fell apart.

The officer followed me into the house and asked me to sit down, he said you were alive, but you have received very serious injuries. All I could say was “Please tell me he can survive from these injuries? He said people have survived but they are very serious. I just kept repeating “Tell me he will survive”. I couldn’t take it in. I just wanted to hold you but as he said you were still in Afghan in theatre.

When Dad arrived, he sat down, and the officer started to go through your injuries. I ran and threw up - I couldn’t believe my son had suffered such horrific injuries and I wasn’t there to protect him. Losing your legs was the worst thing - all I could think about was your love of running. Me and dad just sat and cried. How on earth do we tell everyone you had been injured to such an extent? You left home a couple of months ago with your huge bags and laughing. No one was ready for this. We were still planning your leave ‘welcome home’ party and looking for the Pooh Bear outfit you wanted to wear for it.

Everyone's lives changed forever.


Wednesday, 7th July:

When we arrived, we didn’t expect you to look so poorly he looked so helpless, tubes and wires coming from everywhere, there were so much of your body missing bandages all over. Our son’s whole body was swollen. I felt you must have been so brave and now you have to fight this. We couldn’t get near you, so we just had to keep telling you to fight and get through this. The only consolation was you would not be going back to that war zone.

Saturday 10th July:

After an operation, you took a turn for the worse. How much more could you take? We felt our world collapsing again. Your ventilator had changed and was now on an oscillator which was a bigger ventilator that pumps up your lungs to keep them open. Your body was jerking all over the place due to the pressure being pumped in. It sounds like a steam train. You are now on 100 per cent oxygen and your blood pressure still requires a lot of support from drugs. They talked about the possibility of using dialysis and we were told the extent of the damage to your right hand. Everything seems to be getting worse - how could anyone survive all this?

Tuesday 13th July:

One week after the incident.

It seems so long ago, time has stood still, our whole life has had to take a different path, future plans all put on hold until we know what your future holds.