Latest blog from: hopegoesupanddown.blogspot.com - a record of the hope, terror and unknown future faced when the one you love most in the world suffers a brain injury.

Today I shall take down the Christmas decorations and start to sort through the mountain of gifts that Jake and I received.

I always find sorting through the gifts a bit tricky; the rarely spoken reality in most households is that not every gift makes it. Ours fall into three groups;

1. Ooh, that's lovely / useful!

2. It's nice, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it...I'll stick it in that cupboard for now.

3. Oh...err...better start a charity shop bag.

I'm sorry if this seems ungrateful, but despite having moved into a much bigger house this year, we still seem to have way too much stuff. So if it falls into group 3 it has to go so we don't end up on that programme 'Hoarders'. I know, you're shocked...you thought I was such a nice person.

I have wondered in the past if it wouldn't be entirely practical to have a Christmas gift swap shop party in January, but this seems fraught with danger in case you forget who bought what and include a gift given to you by a sensitive guest!

The real trick of course is to not unconsciously communicate this sorting process whilst actually receiving the gift. One of the outcomes of frontal lobe damage is a lack of empathy and self-awareness and I am forever grateful that the impact of this is minimal for Jake; he is still really good at pretending to like group 3 gifts!

At this stage I should point out that the vast majority of our gifts are 'group 1' gifts and we are extremely grateful for the thoughtfulness and generosity of our friends and family. Thinking about this did make me reflect on the 'gifts' of brain injury though, and I was surprised at how many group 1 gifts there are. At first glance it can feel like they are all group 3, so I thought I would share some of the group 1 gifts that I am grateful for.

I am so much closer to both my own and Jake's family and I genuinely believe that this closeness would not have developed without BI.

As prophesised in all the books, many friends have become less present, but we have made some wonderful new friends who understand and are completely comfortable with our lives now.

I have been forced to get off life’s travelator and rethink ‘the plan’. This has allowed me to look at my life objectively and has opened up new opportunities and possibilities.

We both have a heightened sense of perspective and appreciation for what we still have.

The best gift of all is the depth and power of love that now defines our relationship and colours every part of my life in a way I could never have imagined. It is like we have cheated time and have the feelings of a lifetime together…but with a lifetime still to share them. Now that’s definitely a group 1 gift.

15 Replies

Hi Dorsetcharlie, what a lovely heartwarming blog you have written and I hope it inspires others in the same position as you and your partner. I am so pleased you both have someone to share your trials, tribulations and lives with. Long may it last for you both, and Happy 2014 to you and your families. x


Thank you x


Hi Dorsetcharlie,

Thanks for sharing the gift of positivity. Happy New Year to you both. x


And to you & yours x


Nice one Charlie. All the very best to you and Jake. xx


Thanks Cat x


Hi Dorsetcharlie, you make me feel so guilty, I've got a loft full of stuff that needs sifting through, but just the act of climbing the loft ladder makes my head spin, so I'll have to tackle the stuff in the garage and conservatory first, I really need someone to come and do it for me, I'm not a hoarder but I can always see a future use for some things. We started on the loft before I was ill and I threw out a huge amount of knitting wools I'd accumulated over the years, saying " time to move on, never going to get round to using that " then what happens I'm now housebound and what do I need more of? Knitting wool!!!!!

So I've started a new collection!

Plus I've still got all the detritus that having 4 children brings, I'm slowly learning to let go of stuff, also I've got 1 daughter that works and lives in London but still likes me to keep all her stuff here, going right back to her early childhood, she only lives in a small flat in London and made some inroads when she was home at Xmas, but still comes home once a month anyway.

One day!!!!!!!!

Love Janet xxxx


Hi Janet, all of that sounds so familiar! My daughter is away at Uni and yet her bedroom looks exactly the same as it did when she was living here full time. We also have stuff from her childhood. Having a good clear out can be quite cathartic so like you 'one day!'

What are you knitting?



Ive been knitting all sorts, I started with scarves ans wristwarmers last year, I did a body warmer for my son in law, and two dressing gowns for my grand daughters, I'm crocheting as well, I've done a shrug for my daughter and lots in the pipeline. I knitted some baby clothes for friends of where I used to work, lots to do coz now my niece-in-law is pregnant.


Wow you have been busy. I'm afraid I am not a knitter. My grandmother was a super knitter. I am into sewing. I've recently started to do patchwork. Don't think I will be as productive as you!


I went to night school years ago and learnt to make bobbin lace, I have my bobbins and pillow in the loft too, something else I'm going to liberate and resurrect this year, like I've said before, not enough time to fit everything in especially since I'm now on limited energy, I was always going to get round to patchwork, I think there's a half finished quilt, yes you guessed it, in the loft!!!!!


I'll bet half the lofts are stuffed with 'projects' - started but not finished! :)


How lovely a new baby xx


Oh Janet - if you could see our garage!

I'm just trying to avoid making it worse :)


I forgot to mention the garage too:-)


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