Just What We Got

Kara Swanson, Brain Injury Blog
Just What We Got

When I was first brain injured, it felt so extraordinary because I had just turned 31. It seemed awfully young to have your whole life turned upside down and it was devastating. Nobody around me had a brain injury, that I knew of. Nobody really knew much about such things.

I think a lot of us feel that way. Singled out, maybe. Cast into some sick spotlight. Sentenced cruelly.

While time certainly does NOT heal all wounds, it does gift us perspective, if we are open to the offering.

Eighteen years and some spare change later, what I realize is that age is a wise old friend with deep pockets….

I look around me and, oh my, everyone got something. Geez. People tackle their days with so many things. Lugging them. Bearing them. Incorporating them. Defeating them. Accepting them. Battling them.

I realize now that this isn’t so extraordinary, after all.

It’s just what we got.

Some people got dead children and some people got sexually-molesting fathers. Some people got screaming arthritis and others got Lupus.

Some got pinched nerves in their necks while others got bad backs. Some got fierce depression and then there are the ones with cancer.

I look over there and he’s in a wheelchair. She’s got a worker dog helping. He’s got home nursing care. She has canes for every outfit.

This guy has splintered fractures in his spine. That woman needs oxygen to get up the stairs. This one here has failing kidneys and that one is waiting for a heart transplant. The one over there has painful MS so she rarely leaves the house and that one has knees the size of football helmets.

This is just what we got.

There is maybe the argument that there are people walking around with nothing (those lucky rotten bastards!!!! LOL)

But that is not the case. Everyone has something. Coming or going.

This is just what we got.

Those seemingly perfect people with all the good looks and all the full pockets and all the fancy houses and all the gorgeous bodies…

Some are hiding early symptoms of Alzheimer’s while some have hidden depression or eating disorders or drinking struggles for years.

Some are about to get into their cars and drive into crashes and off roads and back into their small children on the driveway.

Some will board planes that crash and others will hide bruises from abusive spouses. Some will spend short lives waging wars and others will live sixty years incarcerated for a murder they didn’t commit.

This is just what we got.

Let’s see the world and all her beauty, for those whose eyes have gone dim. Let’s hear the world and her music, for those whose ears no longer receive sound. Let’s walk for those whose legs are paralyzed, dance for those whose balance and dizziness cannot tolerate movement. Let’s look forward for those who can only manage to go back. Let’s shine warm, wonderful light for those screaming silently in darkness.

This is what we got. And, like everyone on the planet before us and still to come, it will kick up its heels and it will make some things more challenging and it will change our lives in ways we didn’t invite.


Like those who run on prosthetic legs and those who dance from wheelchairs….Like those who emerge from abusive childhoods to foster loving families…Like those who are homeless but still manage to get college degrees…Like those who, despite WHAT THEY GOT, get up, get out and refuse to be conquered..

Let’s take what we got and go enjoy the day. Let’s make bright the world around us. Let’s, with our lousy memories, give our loved ones someone so warm and generous that they won’t soon forget.

Let’s take what we got and go and rock this world. Our world.

The one we got.

From Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog. Used with permission. karaswanson.wordpress.com.

Posted on BrainLine September 2, 2014.

Comments (6)

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one of my favorite sayings is "it is what it is" i had a burst brain aneurysm someone else got something else, i deal with mine you deal with yours
Just do the we can thank God an Try again Tomorrow
I have read this over and over and have saved it to continue reading over and over! I think it's a masterpiece of inspiration! Thank you for writing it!!
We are what we are & it is what it is
wow, this is so good to read, so very helpful in the midst of dealing with the difficulties, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
"Let’s take what we got and go enjoy the day. Let’s make bright the world around us. Let’s, with our lousy memories, give our loved ones someone so warm and generous that they won’t soon forget" I never thought of it this way before. I am always grieving the loss of my husbands memories. But he is so kind and caring and gentle with me, and I will never forget that.