"Aha Moments"

Living a life touched by brain injury is most often a journey of “aha moments” a magical moment where your perspective changes and you suddenly see life from a different point of view. It is at these moments where I was able to make the decision to act on the newfound perspective. Three of those special moments are the discovery of the new normal, the discovery of realistic hope and the acceptance of “if it is to be, it is up to me”.
The “91st” Day – A new Normal
One day you realize that neither a return to the past, nor a roadmap to build a new life is possible. This is the day you realize you must accept a new normal and chart your own course. Typically this discovery is made at a very lonely place in the journey—at a time when resources and understanding are least available:

  • 90 days after discharge from acute medical care
  • 90 days after a vet returns home
  • Or the day you realize that what you thought was a minor injury was in fact an injury with long-lasting repercussions.

From my experience that is the day that one discovers a need to integrate the injury into their lives. They look to others for a “conversation of hope”. They seek a roadmap to follow.
Despite their superior training in acute medical care, most physicians are unprepared to provide a roadmap, or even offer the understanding necessary to build our lives from our new normal.

Lacking a clear roadmap, we find ourselves confused and unfocused. If each member of our support team is operating from a different set of assumptions and objectives, our map is likely to be based on a combination of resignation, denial, and false and realistic hope. This becomes a treadmill leading to despair, instead of the opportunity to live an extraordinary life.

The undisputed experts at living a fulfilling life with a brain injury are the survivors their family, friends and caregivers. This site is set up for one to learn, share, connect, collaborate and mentor those whose life has been touched by brain injury.

It is up to the survivor or the caregiver to build a roadmap to start the journey. This site is intended to capture information and to create opportunity for connection for others to build their roadmap.

This site is intended to help those touched by a brain injury recognize and claim the possibilities that are present when life hands us an unexpected challenge. Along with the difficulties, life after a brain injury can be filled with depth, richness, and a newfound appreciation for blessings and possibilities we might never before have appreciated. This is the foundation on which we build realistic hope.

Realistic Hope
Realistic hope provides the fuel to begin the challenging journey of living with brain injury. Realistic hope provides the power to maintain this lifelong journey. Providing a path to realistic hope for brain injury survivors and their families will increase the quality of life for all involved.

  • In my book, Realistic Hope – Aspirations for Survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury, I attempted to describe how I defined Realistic Hope from my perspective as a survivor. My definition is: Realistic Hope —based on dreams that are achievable—provides wonderful incentive for living. Those dreams make life an adventure. They offer a reason to start each day as if it were the beginning of the rest of your life. They infect dreamers with the passion to live for the enjoyment of today, and give them a never-ending supply of options for starting over again tomorrow.
  • In his book, The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness, Jerome Groopman M.D. describes Realistic Hope as true hope. True hope, he says, “takes into account the real threats that exist and seeks to navigate the best path around them.” Hope can flourish when you believe that your actions make a difference; that they can create “a future different from the present.” To have hope is to “acquire a belief in your ability to have some control over your circumstances.”

If it is to be, it is up to me
The day I took ownership that the only fuel for hope was successful accomplishment of one small step – the fact the I could move a finger today that I could not move yesterday, provided the fuel to move the next finger tomorrow,

I share this today fifty years after the injury; I value the memories of these aha moments. These memories provide me the fuel make the effort to live life with a smile on my face.

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