What Mahj Did… An Open Love Letter To Her Fiance And The World.

*Hello Lovelies, Charlotte here. Normally I wouldn’t barge in on a real bride post but I simply had to on this occasion….

This is a gut-wrenching and beautifully written account by whom I think must be the bravest girl in the whole world.

Mahj, I salute you. And I want to thank you from the bottom of my Blog Queen heart for agreeing to be such a significant part of these pretty pages. Can’t wait for the wedding pet.


I have a story to tell you all. It isn’t nice. But it does have a happy ending…

In August of 2008, whilst on a night out with friends, Martin was attacked by 3 guys, hereafter known as the scum of the earth, for not having a cigarette (yes really). He was badly beaten but somehow managed to make it home, whereupon it became blindingly clear that he wasn’t ok at all. Hoping, praying and wishing to every God I knew, we took him to the hospital where it transpired he had suffered bleeding on his brain from a kick/stamp to his head during the attack (in court, the kick was described as being hard enough to kick a football 40 yards).

You know when people describe having the rug pulled out from under them? Or their blood running cold? Both of those happened to me. It wasn’t real. That wasn’t Martin, my boyfriend lying unconscious in that hospital bed. This was all a dream. I pinched myself so hard to convince myself of this, that I drew blood.

But I was wrong, it was so very very real. Luckily (thank God) living in Stockport meant that we weren’t far from Hope Hospital which is a specialist hospital for head injuries. And Martin was rushed there for emergency brain surgery. The doctor who performed the surgery said that Martin was as close to death as someone can be when they took him in. His prognosis wasn’t good. They didn’t think he would make it and if he did, he would never be the same.

And so began the waiting period in ICU, the High Dependency Unit and various other hospital wards. I remember vividly the first night in ICU at 3am, sitting with him and asking, pleading with whoever was listening above that if he made it through, I would be a better person, a better daughter, sister and girlfriend. That I would never ask for anything again as long as I lived.

In my darkest hours, on my darkest days, I tried to imagine life without him. Of living on my own. Of starting again. Of no longer being Martin and Mahj. The fear was crippling. That first week was a bleak and dire time for me. On the outside I felt like a cheerleader, rallying everyone and staying positive, but on the inside I was crumbling. And then there came a point when I literally told myself to get it together, to keep it together for him. That there is always hope.

The doctors told us that the after-effects of his injury, would be akin to Martin having had a stroke and after around a month, Martin started to slowly regain consciousness again (he had been placed in a drug induced coma to help the swelling in his brain decrease). Seeing him with his eyes open and moving around a little was the best thing I have ever seen in my 28 years. But it was hard for him, a proper slog. He essentially had to learn to do things all over again when he was ready. He had to learn how to walk and talk again. How to look after himself. But y’know what? He did it. He gave a big, fat finger to those that said he couldn’t, that his injuries were too severe. That he would never recover properly.

I remember the first time he could say ‘I love you’ back to me (before he would just blink to say it), I think I remember bawling and he just rolled his eyes at me! I remember when he waved at me for the first time when he had been transferred to the rehabilitation ward. I remember all the little kisses we would steal and how I would sneak food in for him and how we would giggle together at his bedside. I had started a new job and I remember counting the minutes till I could see him again. I remember walking with him again for the first time in months and when he hugged me, how he put everything into it.

Martin spent a total of 4 months and 1 day in hospital. He was released the day before his 27th birthday on the 17th December. It was the best Christmas I have ever had. 6 months later whilst we were on holiday, he asked me to marry him.

It sounds cliché to say that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone or in our case, you don’t know what you’ve got until you nearly lose it, but it’s painfully true. Whilst we in no way dwell on what happened 3 years ago, we are aware of how much it changed our family and friends and most importantly us. Our relationship is what I would call solid and though we are in no way perfect and have our ups and downs like every other couple, we have found a balance that suits us. We’ve been through the ringer, come out the other side and still have each other.

And so I wanted to take this opportunity to tell my future husband how amazing he is and how proud I am of him and to be marrying him. How he is possibly the most extraordinary person I know and he wants to spend his life with me? I am in awe of him every single day. He has made me and continues to make me so happy, even when he is tickling me when I’m trying to do my hair! He is the strongest and bravest man I know and tomorrow, I get to call that man my husband.

But it would be remiss of me to finish my last post as an engaged lady (sniff) without a few thank you’s a la Naomi!

Firstly to my parents, who don’t read this blog but I will have to forward them the link! Thank you so much for your overwhelming generosity and support. For my Mum’s sewing skills with the sari tablecloths and for being so overly enthusiastic. For always wanting to make the wedding just that little bit more Pakistani! To my Dad who put up with endless emails from me, pleading that I simply had to have this photographer or that stationery lady and for essentially letting me get my own way for the past 2 years!

To my bridesmaids, my beautiful ladies who have supported me, planned with me, got giddy with me and drunk lots of wine with me! You guys have made my life! Thank you so much for standing with me tomorrow on the biggest day of my life.

To my future family of in-laws, who are more like an army in size, thank you all for being so welcoming, loving and supportive. Though given how many of you there are, I don’t think I had a choice!

And finally to Rebecca, Charlotte, Adam and the RMW Universe. Thank you all so much,from the bottom of my already-bursting-with-love-heart, for letting me write on these here hallowed blue polka dot pages. You gave me confidence when I was down, you made me feel as though tikka-gate was something to be debated and pondered upon and above all, despite the protestations of various family members, you all made me know without a shadow of a doubt, that tomorrow will be Martin and I’s Day, our way.

See you on the other side.


Mahj xoxo

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

87 thoughts on “What Mahj Did… An Open Love Letter To Her Fiance And The World.

  1. Mahj-you the lady.


    You sound so.ready. for this, it’s going to be AMAZING.

    Good luck Mahj and Martin, with lots of love and the bestest wishes in the whole wide world


  2. Wow.

    There are no other words.

    I hope you have an amazing W-Day, I can’t wait to see the skittle like photos.

  3. Wow.

    Here I was just trundling along and logged on for another dose of RMW pretty (which I got from this morning’s post) and there’s real life – right there. And what an honest yet postive and smile inducing post it is.

    Mahj and Martin, I wish you the best in absolutely everything. Not just for your wedding day tomorrow (I’m so looking forward to the colour!) but for the rest of your lives together.


    Rachel xx

  4. Mahj. In my already emotional state (god knows how I’ll be in five weeks time!), I am now more emotional.

    A beautiful, heartfelt, heartwarming, amazing post. Stunning. You are both clearly meant to be. It’s often the bad stuff that makes you realise this too.

    Have THE most amazing day, you both completely deserve it. Lots of luck, happiness and love too!

    I honestly can’t WAIT to see the photos… your day will be AMAZE. Fact.


  5. Gosh I’m in tears. Mahj I can’t even begin to imagine how awful all that must have been for you but you sound like an amazing couple and I wish you all the very best (and I CANNOT WAIT to see all the pretty!) x

  6. Oh Mahj – what a beautiful post.

    An ex long-term boyfriend of mine was attacked in a similar fashion for a similar random and meaningless reason and was never really able to get over it – sadly it was in part a reason why we split up as it changed him and his outlook quite profoundly. I’m so, so pleased your story had a happy ending though.

    BUT on a much much brighter note – how awesome will tomorrow be!!! Wishing you an utterly wonderful day and loads of love and happiness. Can’t wait to hear all about it right HERE!!! xxxx

  7. OMG – Mahj I don’t know what to say…..

    You and Martin are the most brave and courageous people EVER. I am so humbled to have known you (in a blue polka dot kinda way!)

    You both deserve the world and every little amazing thing life can throw at you.

    Congratulations for tomorrow and as Naomi would say “see you on the flip side”


  8. Oh my. I’m hiding in my corner at work with a huge lump in my throat and the threat of tears…

    What a heartfelt story, with the ultimate happy ending! Thank you for sharing it.

    Have the most incredible day tomorrow, you both deserve it!! I cannot WAIT to see the photos!!

    Wishing you both all the love and happiness in the world,


  9. What a beautifully written post.

    It brought a lump to my throat and I am trying to prevent the tears. So happy to know it all had a happy ending.

    Enjoy it tomorrow the both of you, you deserve it! Can’t wait to see the photos, so excited!


  10. Mahj, what a beautiful post! I have a real lump in my throat, you are so right – it’s often the incredibly difficult times that really make you solid as a couple – and what a happy ending yours has!

    Congratulations, wishing you both the most amazing day tomorrow!

  11. Wow. What a story, with such a beautiful ending.

    Congratulations to you both, and enjoy every second tomorrow xx

  12. I got a serious case of the goose bumps reading that and then welled up like at work like a baby!

    Mahj, as well as having an incredibly brave man you are also clearly a very, very brave lady. I can’t imagine how I would handle such a horrific situation, that’s some strength to be proud of!

    Congratulations and I hope you have the most amazing day! x

  13. I’m back for my first comment after my own wedding, and all I can say is that you will have such an incredible day tomorrow – just relax, smile, and enjoy it! With everything you have gone through I’m sure it will be very emotional – hopefully you have already faced the hardest test that life together will bring and you will have many happy years to come. Really looking forward to reading all about the big day!

  14. Mahj, you wonderful, wonderful lady. I am trying not to start crying for fear of not being able to stop. What you both have been through is truly horrific and how you have both come out the otherside is nothing short of a micrale. The love and determination you both had to get through this is extraordinary.

    I have no doubt that you will have the best wedding and a life full of happiness. You both really, really deserve it. I wish you all the best and cannot wait to read your write up.

    Loads of love and all the best Mrs Brammall to be x x x x x x x

  15. *sniffle*

    Beautifully written post. An awful thing that happened but it seems to have made you a stronger couple – two fingers to the “scum of the earth” that did it.

    All the bestest best for your big day, and for the rest of your lives together.

    L xx

  16. Trying desperately not to well up at my desk, but that was such a fantastic piece! Love these hallowed blue dotty pages!

    Good luck to you both Mahj. You most definitely deserve a fantastic day. xxxxxx

  17. So beautifully written.

    I hope those scum of the earth got what they deserved.

    I hope you have a truly A.mazing day tomorrow.

    When you walk down the aisle you will love him more than you ever thought possible.


  18. This touched me so much I had to hold back tears !!! truly an amazing couple the best of luck to you… life is harsh life is delicate all the best on your wedding day!! 🙂

  19. Crying at work – a good look I think!

    Beautiful post Mahj, and so inspriring. All the best and congratulations to you both for tomorrow xxx

  20. I am very rarely moved to tears, let alone moved to comment on a blog, but this has left me with a serious lump in my throat and a desire to say that I hope your wedding day is the best day of your lives. You both deserve tonnes of happiness and great memories together.xxx

  21. So well written, and what a topic I just don’t know what to say.

    I wish you all the happiness in the world, I really hope tomorrow is the day of your dreams.


  22. Ah what a beautiful post, I had a tear in my eye!
    Good luck tomorrow, I hope you both have the most wonderful day, you deserve it! x

  23. Well I’m working from home alone today so no holding back the tears – I’m in pieces!! Thank you for sharing your story – you seem so obviously made for eachother and I wish you a fabulous wedding and a wonderful life together. You deserve it. Go Martin and Mahj!!

  24. Damn you Mahj, you shouldn’t be allowed to write such a beautiful thing.

    There were indeed tears in my eyes as I read it, but it just proves what a strong bond the two of you have.

    Have a cracking day my lovely.

  25. What an absolutely beautiful and amazing story. Wishing you all the luck and happiness in the world for tomorrow and for forever. Can’t wait to hear all about it! x

  26. It really is true and not a cliche when it is said that love conquers all. You are a beautiful person and I think God knew that if anyone could have handled this and see his beautiful child through all of this, it would be you. It warms my heart and fills my eyes with tears of joy to know that you will marry your love. God bless you both and may you have a long and wonderful union. xo

  27. sniff sniff wow what a totally beautiful story.

    I have a friend whose father was attacked whilst walking home from the pub one night all, he was also kicked in the head and left by the side of a busy road. All to take his mobile phone!
    He wasnt as fortunate as your Martin and has been left totally handicapped and to make matters worse his wife, my friends mother had died a few years before of a brain aneurysm which meant that she had to look after her brother and sister whilst her father had to live in a carehome (which he is still in now). They have never caught the terrible people who did this despite many local appeals.
    I am so pleased to hear that despite this terrible ordeal that you have such a wonderful happy ending.

    I wish you so much happiness for your big day tomorrow and for your future together xx

  28. i love mahj

    there, i said it.

    in fact, i think i might love her quite a lot. but she’s super cool so i’m pretty sure I’m allowed.

    Mahj my darling – I know that your wedding will truly rock because you truly rock.

    and I can’t wait to see the pics!

    mrs r.now x x x

  29. This was such an amazing story and I held my breath through the entire post!! I’m so in awe of of your love and determination!! I wish you much love and happiness!! XOXO Lissahn

  30. And the Mahj-love is back with a vengeance!! 🙂 What. a. post. MY own blood went cold imagining going through your situation myself and I cannot for one minute invisage making it through in the poised, dignified way you appear to have done. Whatever happens in your lives, Martin is so lucky to have this post to refer to. Perhaps the loveliest wedding gift to a husband EVER.

    Wishing you TRULY the best of luck in the world and the happy day you absolutely deserve. Go get your man! 🙂
    Luci xxx

  31. That is some story. I’m not sure either Charlotte’s intro or yours prepared me for what I was going to read. There truely are some awful people in this world. I am so happy that your story has the most wonderful happy ending, am sending you lots of love and happy ever after wishes through this wonderful blog-isphere!

    😀 xx

    ps cannot wait to see the wedding pics, they are gonna rock!!

  32. Wow, I am not a crier, but this seriously had me welling up at my desk.

    Wishing you both the most happy wedding day and happy life together 🙂

  33. Oh Mahj, you are an incredibly brave lady to go through all this and be able to share it so openly. Your story is one of my greatest fears, as a theatre nurse I unfortunately see this far too often.
    I wish you and Martin all the best and a life of luck, love and laughter as you become Mr and Mrs.

  34. *blub*

    I hope you both have an amazing wedding day – you truly know the meaning of “for better, for worse” and have come out the other side.
    Looking forward to reading all about it 🙂

    Sending you the very best wishes


  35. Actual tears at my desk.

    Mahj, I salute you and your simply amazing Martin.

    Here’s to sticking a big fat finger up at the nay sayers.

    I hope you’re wedding is amazeballs. I can’t wait to see the full of love riot of colour that it’s sure to be


  36. Actually crying Mahj. What an unbelievable story. Never before have I read a tale which so clearly deserves a fairytale happy ending.
    I wish you the very best for tomorrow and lots of happiness for all the years ahead. I know it will be amazing!!
    Le sigh!!
    lots of love xxxxxxx

  37. Mahj. Martin. You are both an inspiration. And the unforgettable wedding you will have is nothing less than you deserve.

    Seriously, it’s not just the guests that will be celebrating with you this weekend. The WHOLE OF THE INTERNETS will be celebrating. Myself included. Congratulations, both of you x

  38. Oh Mahj, oh my god. You guys have been to hell and back and survived. Martin you’re an absolute trooper!

    This is such a wonderful story (as in the ending) and it’s great you feel able to share it with us Mahj. I’m glad I waited until the end of the day to read it so no one is in the office to see my face! The look of shock at what I was reading and the tears!

    I hope your wedding day is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! You both deserve it! Can’t wait to read your write up. Hope you both have the most amazing day tomorrow and it is everything you wished for!


  39. Wow… thanks for sharing.

    Also want to add… Martin is hot!!!

    Gorgeous couple, hope you have an amazing day tomorrow.

    C xx

  40. Crikey, that certainly puts things into perspective and shows just how precious and sacred the vows they’ll be making really are…

    Here’s to one heck of a celebration and the happiest of marriages! Big love xxxx

  41. Wow. I really don’t know what to say except have the best day ever tomorrow, you both deserve to. Wishing you a very happy ever after xxxxx

  42. Wow. that made me cry and I don’t even know you. We should all be so grateful for what we have, and realise silly little stresses mean nothing…
    Have a wonderful wedding day! xxx

  43. I completely know where you’re coming from Mahj. Unfortunately we were car-jacked in our house at knife point by similar scum of the earth almost four years ago now, whilst I was eight months pregnant. Luckily we escaped physical injury, but as you say when you’ve been through the wringer and survived the odds, you truly realise how solid you are as a partnership. Wishing you both the best for your wedding day and beyond – big love xxx

  44. Sending you lots of warm wishes for a lifetime of happiness. Have an amazing day tomorrow – it’ll be an emotional one! x

  45. Wow I have had a rubbish day and week but reading this puts it in perspective-wow what a heartfelt an beautiful post- I am bawling my eyes out on the bus- I wish you both all the happiness in the world- xxxx

  46. Wow Mahj, that was some story! I am so pleased you and Martin have got your happy ever after.

    I’m sure tomorrow will be perfect, wishing you both lots of love, health and many years of happiness together.

    Looking forward to the photos already 🙂


  47. Can no longer see the screen. I’m sobbing too much. That was such an awful thing to have gone through but what an amazing couple you both are for have gotten through it and come out the other side.
    Have a fantastic day – can’t wait to see the pictures!

  48. i have a lump in my throat! arhhhh you guys are gorgeous! i hope you both have a wonderful day, enjoy every second you deserve it! with love from down the road in chorlton xxx

  49. A touching and piercing account of your emotions and true inner feelings, I’m so pleased there was a happy ending for you both, with the cherry on the cake coming tomorrow! Enjoy every little second.

    I work as a physiotherapist in neuro-rehab, and have lost count on how many times I have seen lives devastated by head injury and stroke. It’s an unfortunate fact that when you work with it day-in day-out it becomes almost ‘common place’ for want of a better word, and it is easy to lose touch of the impact that this has on families and loved ones, as well as the person themselves. Sometimes it catches me unawares – I will spot somebody eating their dinner with their one remaining functioning arm, or using every bit of energy they have just to take their arm out of their sleeve, and it reminds me that those small things and pleasures we take for granted can be lost in the blink of an eye when we’re least expecting it.

    You have summed it up perfectly, and it is true credit to you, Martin, and your families’ determination that he will be standing next to you at the alter tomorrow. I am sure every RMW reader will agree that he is undoubtedly as proud of you as you are him, and he has good reason to be.

    A relationship built from solid rock. Congratulations xx

  50. As a long time lurker and first time poster, i have to say that I am in flood of tears and totally moved by the tragic but ultimately wonderful journey that you two have been through together. I hope that things continue to go from strength to strength and that you grow old together, and that 2008 is nothing but a distant memory xxx

  51. Holy shizzle. You guys, sniff sniff.
    Thank you so much, with all my heart for these ahmazing comments. My bridesmaids and I are just sitting in the garden of the hotel, drinking some fizzy stuff. Bliss. I cannay wait to become a wife tmrw. Its gonna rock!

    Mahj xoxo

  52. Bit late to this party but wanted to say Mahj hope you have the most gorgeous lovely day tomorrow and you are going to look amazing! You deserve it after all you have been through! Truly true love xxx
    Rachie xo

  53. Such a beautifully written post. I can’t imagine the ordeal you both went through. It really does put things into perspective, thank you for sharing your story.

    I’m so pleased you’re getting your happy ending / exciting new beginning! Enjoy every moment of your special day xx

  54. As I was driving to work this morning I looked at the beautiful blue sky and was thinking about you (not in a creepy way I promise – that would be weird!) I hope you and Martin have the most fantastic day and as Anna K says, we will all be celebrating with you!! x x

  55. Woohoo the blue sky is coming through (I’m only down the road!) Mahj & Martin you will have the most fabulous day surrounded by heaps of love and happiness, it’s much deserved. Laura x x

  56. This post moved me to tears and you are so brave for having written it.

    My mum suffered a brain injury several years ago so I know all too well how agonising it is to watch a loved one have to go through such a lengthy rehabilitation process. It’s a long and trying journey and one that tests you to your very limits.

    You have both shown incredible strength and determination, and I have no doubt that your relationship will be able to stand the test of time. I wish you both all the best!

    Amanda xxx

  57. Sorry for the delay my lovely cheese soulmate!
    You and Martin are a stunningly beautimus couple and I can’t wait to see your amazing wedding day here on these pages! You are so brave and I am sure will have the most fantastical day ever!
    Wishing you lots of love and health in the future!
    P.S. I am going to totally miss your posts.Big. xxx

  58. Wow.. that brought me to tears.

    What a powerful piece of writing probably the most moving and beautiful piece I’ve ever read on this blog!

    I know you will have the most wonderful day and I wish you both lifelong happiness together.


  59. Wow, im 100% not allowed to be reading this at work (but I do everyday) and I was totally given away by crying whilst reading your story. I was bought together with my fiance through something quite horrific and your right “you dont know what you’ve got till its gone”, and if you’re lucky “nearly gone” so you can treasure every moment you have together. Congratulations to you both, looking forward to seeing your wedding on here xx

  60. Crying my eyes out at this! It is obvious you two are meant to be together and I wish you every millimetre of happiness! x

  61. Wow – what an incredible story!! Wishing you and Martin the most perfect day and a wonderful life together 🙂

    It’s been wonderful getting to know you through all of your Real Bride posts, and so excited for you!!!

  62. Mahj… Darling….

    This is the first time in a hundred years I have been able to get on RMW. To see your post. I have also had to fight tooth and nail with a computer in Vietnam to let me type this comment. (4th time lucky??)

    But you know what, it’s worth it. Because I love you. I actually think you rock to the core. I cannot wait to get on to see your wedding! You deserve all the happiness that marriage will bring you.

    And I can tell you now from experience… marriage f*cking rocks.

  63. What an emotional read, I’m so glad you’ve come out of this stronger together and I hope that your future together is bright and wonderful.
    Congratulations Mahj and Martin! xxx

  64. Mahj…
    you rock my world, you are so amazing xxx

    my dearest dad went through a brain injury and it was and will probably be the hardest time of my life…

    I wish you every happiness for your wedding, and can’t wait to see the photos xxx

  65. Yep I cried too!
    Hope you both have an amazing day. Lots of love and luck for your long wonderful life together! xxx

  66. A beautiful heartfelt post thank you so much for sharing your story with us, I had a few little tears! Congratulations and I wish you all the happiness in the world!!! x

  67. What an amazing story. Some people are just so vile but Mahj and Martin are the flip side of that. And what a stunning couple they make (Mahj – HOW do you make your hair so shiny?)- beautiful on the inside too by the sound of it. Can’t wait to read your wedding post.

  68. I’ve been away this weekend so just catching up on my reading so I’m so late commenting!

    Wow – this made my cry. You’re such a strong couple. I’m so glad it had a happy ending and you now are building something really positive out of something so negative.

    Have an amazing day


  69. Wow wow wow! Being a recent discoverer of rmw (and since then hopelessly addicted!) I have just come across this story. Firstly Mahj can’t believe what you and Martin have been through after his accident, so inspiring and life changing for you both. And surely you’ve been through the toughest test and come out stronger.
    Secondly, I’m so happy that you shared your skin problems and the response has been amazing from all those lovely girls.. I too suffer from skin problems and from the moment I got engaged my one major worry is not the task of organising the biggest day of our lives, or the venue or the dress but my pesky pesky skin. It has been the Bain of my life since my teens and although I wear make up very well to cover it, I’m just so paranoid that it will look awful on the day and in the photos 🙁 I’m so self conscious about it i don’t even talk to my best friends about the problem (they are all clear skinned goddesses!) I’d love to hear how the microdermabrasion sessions went in the end- did they have the result you hoped for and would you recommend?
    Finally, but very importantly, I’m hooked on your story and as your wedding was in July I wondered if your photos and w day blog are on here somewhere that I can’t find? Would love to see how it all went- the prep looked amazing! Xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.