More years ago than I care to remember, I came home from school to a family crisis. My grandmother's sister Connie had been hit by a car on Waterloo Bridge in the early hours of the morning while returning from her cleaning job. She was, we were told, in a very bad way having suffered a severe head injury.
In the days, weeks and months that followed we prayed that she would survive, that in time she would be back with us, exactly as we knew her. It never happened.
At some point, I don't remember when, she was released from St Thomas's, the London hospital that had been caring for her since the accident, and sent to an infamous psychiatric hospital in Surrey. Over the years, 'patients' included Charlie Chaplin's mother Hannah and David Bowie's (half) brother Terry. Indeed, it was the inspiration for an equally infamous song on Bowie's The Man Who Sold The World album.
We visited but she was not the Connie we knew. She didn't recognise anybody, not even a glimmer, and conversation was limited to a few indecipherable grunts.
Broken-hearted, the visits became less and less frequent until, in time, they ceased entirely. One by one members of her immediate family, her mother, her sisters and brothers, all died until there was nobody left.
A couple of years back, whilst visiting my mother's (and grandparent's) burial plot in north London, I suddenly remembered the location of the other family plot which happened to be in a part of the cemetery that had recently undergone a major facelift. It wasn't long before I found the grave where my grandmother's mother and sister were buried.
The accident had happened in the early 60s, yet Connie had died in 1995, over thirty years of... what?
I make absolutely no apology for the fact that ever since the gravity of Michael Schumacher's accident in December became apparent, the fate of my great aunt has played heavily on my mind. The dreadful thought that one of my racing heroes might similarly never again be the man he was has been a constant fear.
Earlier this week we received the first official bulletin in almost two months, and, as has been reported elsewhere, it was a curious statement, a statement that had been put together meticulously, a statement that told us so very little.
Accompanying the statement were a number of 'notes' advising that, amongst other things, no further explanations to the state of Michael's health would be given, that further phases of rehabilitation were strictly private and would happen under exclusion of the public domain, the statement would not be followed by further information and, finally, that no information or disclosure on when and to which institution Michael had been relocated would be given. In addition, there would be no information about the type or scope of therapeutic measures he would receive.
And yet, and yet...
That brief, four-line statement has given way to another feeding frenzy as the media speculates and hypothesises. Despite the total absence of genuine, new information in that official statement, and the clear legal warning that came with it, sections of the media went into overdrive. Indeed, the Daily Mail, a tabloid which has made an art of scraping the bottom of the barrel, took the opportunity to publish a series of "heart-warming", "intimate" picture of Michael with his wife Corinna.
Personally, and I stress personally, a long while back I made a conscious decision to stop using portraits of Michael, as I found it difficult to deal with. Consequently, I have used pictures of the three main helmet liveries he used over the course of his F1 career together with an action shot of him in the Mercedes, the last F1 car he drove, and the 'Schumacher logo'. I can't explain, but personally I felt there was something wrong in publishing pictures of him grinning , smiling on the podium, or posing with Corinna (whilst skiing!!!) at a time we all knew the reality... that he was fighting for his life.
Unlike my poor gear aunt Connie, Michael has amassed a fortune and as a result he will be getting the very best medical care available. It is now in the hands of the experts - and the gods - as to whether there is a happy outcome or not.
Michael Schumacher was a seven-time champion of our sport, he is up there with many of the other legends we have cheered over the decades. He might be our hero but we do not own him, we do not have a divine right to know every single aspect of his treatment. At the same time we should afford him, his family and those treating him with the privacy and dignity they need and deserve.
Speculation, especially the sensationalised drivel we have been fed in recent days, helps nobody, indeed it merely causes pain.
The fact we don't receive daily updates doesn't mean we have forgotten him. Indeed, far better to have accurate information as and when it is available from those actually treating him.
Fact is, it is in the hands of the gods and while his millions of fans want information the truth of the matter is that unscrupulous sections of the media will merely see that as the green light for more speculative and hurtful drivel... 'it's what the public wants', will be the cry.
Unlike, my great aunt Connie, Michael will never be forgotten. Let's just give him, his family and those treating him some space.