Ten years ago, life as I knew it came to a screeching halt when my husband sustained a severe TBI. An avid athlete, he was hit by a car while out on a cycling workout. He lost his job, his identity, and his way of operating in the world. I lost the life we shared before his injury, and our daughters lost both of their parents to a frenzy of hospital stays, rehab, and reshuffling for nearly two years. I once wrote, “If I had a crystal ball to tell me my future, I swear I wouldn’t look,” because the future looked that dim, that full of darkness.
Fast-forward to now, 2013. Hugh’s personality has changed a bit, but more and more he seems like his old self — or have we just accepted the changes and moved on? He has regained his physical strength and his ability to enjoy sports again. He works full-time, attends an evening MBA program, and is trying to learn Spanish.
Our relationship is closer than ever because we now share a purpose: to help other families struggling with TBI. Our twin girls, who had just turned fourteen when Hugh was injured, are now grown and living on their own. They made it through college with very little handholding, and they are actively pursuing their dreams with the full knowledge that life is finite and meant to be lived to the fullest. I could not be more proud of them! The lessons we’ve all learned are still sneaking up on us.
Ten years ago, I never would have believed that:
- I would ever feel safe in the world again.
- I would ever sleep without a sleeping pill again.
- I would know my kids would be alright.
- I would ever see my husband work an executive job again.
- I would ever see my husband ride a bicycle again.
- I would ever stop worrying about money again.
- I would ever feel happy and full of life again.
- I would ever have written and published a book.
- I would have found a way to help others that actually helps me feel like I’m giving back to everyone who helped us.
But I did.
So here’s what the most important lesson may have been for me. Life does go on, time does heal, children grow, and while I can’t control everything that happens, I can make the most of every minute and do everything in my power to choose peace and happiness over bitterness and despair, and in doing so, enjoy a life worth living every day.