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.
There are lots of different types of courage and they're not all about dramatic, reactive acts on a grand scale. Some are quiet acts; tipping points where choices are made with little ceremony, but that require strength, conviction, the ability to dream and not a little nerve. These quiet acts are the kind of courage that require resolution, commitment, faith in those around us and a strong sense of self.
For me, genuine courage is about the choices we make and how true we are to our values and beliefs in the face of challenge, whatever scale it is on. Clearly I have seen some extraordinary examples of courage on this journey, but out of the three that have struck me the most in the last week, only one has been related to brain injury.
The first is my Sister; a 45 year old, married senior operations manager in the NHS with two teenage boys, who has decided to walk away from a successful 21 year career to go to university to retrain as a clinician. This decision has huge financial implications for them as a family and will require them all to make sacrifices and changes. This decision also provides a fabulous example to those boys and will most certainly transform this woman's future for the better. Amazing.
The second is my Sister in Law; MD of a global PR company who, despite being in a position to walk away having sold her business, is choosing to commit to it in its new form and choosing to have faith that as a wider leadership team, they still have great things to do together. Also amazing.
I find both these women inspiring and am grateful to have them in my life.
The third is Gabby Giffords, who yesterday stood in front of a senate panel to call for greater gun control. What makes this a remarkable and an incredible act of courage is that just two years ago Gabby, a democratic member of the US House of Representatives, was shot through the head at point blank range at a public meeting. The bullet travelled diagonally through the left hemisphere of her brain, unsurprisingly causing a severe and life changing injury.
From our own experience of severe left-hemi brain injury I can tell you that what Gabby did yesterday is a breath taking feat and demonstrates that there are truly no limits to what individual determination, a supportive and loving family, together with the genius of TBI medical heroes can achieve. It is not only amazing from the perspective of Gabby's exceptional recovery, but also the emotional and physiological barriers she must have overcome to have found the strength to speak so publically, eloquently and passionately. I cannot tell you how moved I was and how much hope this woman's choice and ability to speak out gives me for our own future. I recommend taking a few moments to watch her speak: Gabrielle Giffords' senate panel address. Utterly amazing.
I am in awe of all these women and their choices; they inspire and motivate me to keep doing the right thing and making the most of every opportunity I am fortunate to have.
I recently came across the following quote that I think sums up the importance of having the courage and the opportunity to choose to change.
"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending". Carl Bard
Making a brand new ending, that sounds pretty good to me right now.
Whatever choices you make today, whether they are big or small, I wish you courage and many happy new endings.