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In the pursuit of joy

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.

Shortly before Jake's accident I was listening to Liza Tarbuck on Radio 2 when she said that her philosophy for life came from a Bob Dylan lyric: "the best is always yet to come". She put particular emphasis on the word always and if she had written rather than said it I believe it would have been in capitals, bold and italics; ALWAYS!

At the time I completely connected to and loved this sentiment and decided to adopt is as my own. I printed it out and put in my office so I didn't forget.

And then, and then...

It is hard to believe that the best is always yet to come when the absolute worst has actually happened. I can honestly say that I haven't revisited those words since the accident and it is no longer on the wall of my office (or the floor, I checked), so I suppose I must have taken it down during that murky, dark time when I was too bewildered and befuddled to know what was happening.

So when I woke suddenly on Saturday night with the thought "what the hell was that saying I was going to adopt?" racing around my head and careering into my skull, I decided to take it as a sign. At this stage it is worth noting that I'm not one for attributing random thoughts to 'signs' or other fanciful tosh of that sort, but the feeling was so strong I have decided to go with it.

Not a moment too soon either if my last few blogs have been anything to go by; blimey, what a moaning minnie I've become!

So, how do you genuinely believe the best is always yet to come when you are faced with climbing a huge jelly mountain smeared in butter with your feet tied together (just a metaphor folks, there is no actual jelly)? You make it happen, that's how.

Almost as soon as Jake was moved out of ITU (for the first time!) I announced that my mission in life was now to bring joy to Jake's life, whatever that looked like. Out of this was born the concept of 'Project Jake's Joy'. The focus of PJJ would be to find life experiences and opportunities to give purpose, meaning and joy to Jake's life, giving him buckets full of reasons to be glad to have survived in spite of his remaining deficits and challenges.

But do you know what occurred to me as I lay in bed rooting around the back of my brain for that phrase? If it's just about Jake, what will that mean for me, my life, my friends and family and ultimately, what impact would that have on our marriage? What good is fighting to get Jake back to joy if I lose myself in the process? How will that help?

So I am now Team Leader of Project Joy and that is what I am going to make happen. The focus of PJ is to find life experiences and opportunities to give purpose, meaning and joy to Jake AND everyone who loves and supports him.

Project Joy is a bit formless at the moment; currently there are lots of ideas and not a lot of firm plans, but hopefully you can help me there. If you have any ideas, particularly if you have experience as a survivor and someone who supports and loves one, please share them.

So far we have:

- Volunteering at the Cats Protection League (we start this tomorrow!)

- Imp of Doom restoration

- Wednesday date night

- Posh hotel mini break (booked)

- Gran Canaria holiday (booked)

- Weekend visits to friends in London

- Companion cycling trips

- Beaulieu motor museum

- Imp 50th anniversary weekend for the unveiling of the finished Imp of Doom

- Joining a local girls only monthly dinner club (this one is just for me!)

Tomorrow sees the delivery of our new car (yes, the evil insurance company wrote the other one off) and next Tuesday is the much longed for and yet dreaded criminal court date, so never a dull moment in brain injury land!

You can read more about our journey here: hopegoesupanddown.blogspot.com

10 Replies

what a geat and positive post. I think its a big jump going from a weekend in a hotel to a holiday abroad. crowds can be hard to handle. there is a lot of senory overload in an airport with so many people tannoys takeoffs music windows people moving and jostling around, throw in question about packing suitcases etc and secuiryt checks and it get to much before you even get on a plane.... So good luck with that one!I know what you mean about the court cases. I was glad when it was done. Hated the trips to london with a passion.


There are seven of us going to Gran Canaria, including Jake's sister and a GP! We have four bungalows (in a complex that we have visited 3 times before) so there will always be somewhere for Jake to go and hide and we have until the end of September to prepare him and for him to get used to the idea. We have the front row of seats on both flights and private car transfers. Not sure what else we can do and he is really looking forward to it!


Good for you all xx I really hope you enjoy it. I would like to come in a suitcase if there is room! :-)


What an excellent blog! Thank you so much for giving me inspiration to carry on. My husband suffered a TBI 2 years ago after an accident which has completely turned our lives upside down. I have journals and diary s all over the place, I feel the need to scribble things down in order to help my sanity instead of keeping it bottled up inside. Sometimes I'm almost too scared to think ahead in case the world tumbles down again. Keep up the brilliant work and stay strong in knowing how much inspiration you are giving to others.


Thank you! Try blogging, it's very cathartic :)


Love the positive energy that pours through this post...and the idea of Project Joy fills me with....well joy! Wishing you lots and lots of it in 2013....sounds like you are off to a good start.

Not sure if you already do this but wonder if you have considered a Blessings Jar? I have one this year. How it works is usually a friend gives you a jar (or the idea of a jar) and you can decorate it (or not) to make it your Happy Jar...or maybe in your case a JOY Jar ;-)

Every time something good or positive happens you jot it down and you pop it into the jar...you can add in things that remind you of good times like ticket stubs, menus, pictures etc... I guess its a bit like a scrapbook without any of the work involved in making one...

and then if times are tough you can tip out the jar and wade through the blessings to give you hope and energy to keep plodding up the jelly mountain .... or you can save it until the end of the year and then go back and literally "count your blessings" and know that even though it might have been difficult at times, there were good times too

Lots of people I know have a jar this year... I would like to hand you the idea of a jar


What a great idea! Thank you x


I love that idea - Im now going to find a jar!! xx


Very gratefully received,Thank you! We have been married for 30 years and I still have old letters from when my husband was in the navy plus loads of photos, memory bits and pieces, I love the idea of a blessings Jar, something that is on display and easy to get at in times of need rather than tucked away for a rainy day. Best wishes to you all, hopefully the blessings jar will one day feel heavier than the jelly jar :-)


I'm off to find something to make into a blessings jar, fantastic idea! Thanks iforget x. Great blog as always Dorsetcharlie, in our house we use lists for motivation. Hubby makes a list of what he would like to achieve and ticks things off, even if its only one or two things it keeps his morale up and it's amazing what seeing him happy does to my morale. It's not rigid by any means but when he's low and thinking he's no use to the world it's a Godsend! I try and think of things he used to enjoy doing and now after six years of brain injury he has at last gone back to playing his guitar. I'm so pleased because it brings him joy and in doing so makes the whole house happy. Good luck with the holiday, sounds like you have it very well planned, make sure you get some noise reducing earphones for Jake and some nice calm music to listen to for the flight, worked wonders for hubby x


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