I didn't know the extent of Alastair's injuries and wasn't overly worried as I was making my way to the hospital.  Then he told me that he couldn't feel his legs and the world collapsed for both of us.

Alastair was having lots of tests but we didn't know what they were all for.  The Consultant came to us and told us that Alastair would never walk again.  It was such a blow.  It was the first thing he said and after that I didn't hear anything more.  I know he was talking, talking, talking, but I didn't take it in.

I had to go back to work and, actually, it helped

At the time, I was doing my first year of teaching.  I left the hospital at three o'clock in the morning, got home, showered and had about an hour's sleep and then went into school to tell them what had happened.  They said that all they could do was give me five days compassionate leave and then I'd need to be back at work otherwise I wouldn't complete my qualification.  'Thanks for that', I thought.  It was a really hard decision but I had to go back to work and, actually, it helped.  Being in the hospital is hard on you and teaching became my coping mechanism; you are so immersed, you've got 30 kids asking you questions, you need to be stable for them and it meant I could be myself and keep my mind off everything else that was going on.

Heather and Alastair

We've been together a long time, and Alastair had been thinking about proposing for a while before the accident.  He was annoyed as his plans had to go on hold for a few years.  Every girl wants to walk down the aisle, and then back up it with her husband, but that wasn't going to be possible.  We talked about hiring an exo-skeleton so that Alastair could stand for the vows and walk with me, but I just thought, 'that's not you, so what if you are in your chair, I just want you and everyone to have a good day'.  The day was really hot, and because Alastair can't regulate his temperature so well now he had to go off at one point with the lads and sit in the air conditioned car; it's one of those things that you get used to.  When it came to the first dance, Alastair was really worried but I convinced him.  We looked on YouTube and found loads of people in wheelchairs dancing, and we practiced a 30 second dance.  We chose an Ed Sheeran song, where the first lines are, 'When your legs don't work like they used to before, And I can't sweep you off of your feet...'  We thought it would be comical, but the laughs in the room were a bit awkward as people weren't sure whether to be laughing or not!  I got my dance, then all of our friends and family joined us.  And it was beautiful, such a lovely, special day.  It was probably extra special for us as it felt like we were moving on with our lives and starting a new chapter.

We've been told that it's amazing that we've stayed together.  But we've always been there for each other and this was only ever going to make us stronger rather than break us apart.

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