Life Day 2017

My husband is alive. I don’t know if you find it awe-inspiring every day when your people, those you love and cherish, are alive each day, but I do. Jason is alive and without fast thinking by witnesses 3 years ago, and good paramedics he might not be. Jason is here and we are married, and that is pretty crazy incredible.

When we started this blog two years ago, Jason had just been discharged from Toronto Rehab, we were still new to TBI life and the very first post I shared was a plea to those that hurt Jason to realize their power and start making penance to the world for their hurtful actions. We didn’t realise then that we had power too. We hadn’t considered that by sharing our experiences we could make the way a bit easier for others. We didn’t know our biggest gains would come when we shared our hearts, with the online world and the people around us. We had no idea that by sharing honestly about how life looks post TBI, sharing even the horribly uncomfortable parts, we would in turn be trusted with the most amazing stories of our friends and family navigating the world in their own way.

We had only started to dream that we might be able to make a difference with our lives, even if it wasn’t in the way we had planned. Over the last two years we’ve tried to share a real picture of TBI, while hopefully highlighting the fact that this is just our picture of TBI, everyone’s recovery and problems will look differently. With this in mind, I want to share Jason’s newest stage in recovery – working! Jason’s doctors made it clear, more than two years ago, that it seemed unlikely he would be able to return to the position he had when he was hurt. What followed was a bizarre path to a new career and a new life in Muskoka, that has too many “coincidences” to be explainable by anything other than the hand of God.

June 5th 2017, Jason started working as the General Manager of Highlander Brewing Company, an outstanding little brewery in South River, Ontario. The owners of this company have been absurdly kind to us over the last year and a half and have been patient and supportive during Jason’s recovery work towards being able to work. I don’t know that I have ever seen my husband happier than when he was able to start working again, it has been good for his soul in ways I can’t describe in one post.

Three years has taught us to focus on gratitude and remember that the battle is never done. Because God is who He is, and my husband is who he is, there are always more chances for life to work out in marvelous, astounding ways. We work hard to remind ourselves of that reality daily, especially as we continue to have interpersonal struggles. We still have people in our life that are unable to empathize with the ways TBI affects our life, and that aren’t afraid to tell us we use the TBI as an excuse. The devastation when we hear something like that is unexplainable. And yet, we have also learned more about goodness and kindness and friendship in the last three years in surprising, heart warming ways. When people reach out to inform Jason that they would deal with brain injury better or some other ridiculous claim, it never fails to crush us. But then, when the emotion side of it is done, it reminds us that we still have a story to tell. There is still a need for life with a brain injury to be discussed because there are still people that need to learn. We hope that our blog has helped enlighten and encourage empathy. And so as we navigate this next stage with Jason working, we will still be writing. Jason is still living with a brain injury, and the return to work doesn’t mark being “healed”. There will be stories to share and so we will write.

With all of our love, on a very happy Life Day 2017.

P.s. if you want to support a great brewery – Highlander Brew Co. deliver’s free in Ontario.


Happy Thanksgiving! Today seems like a good day to revisit out story. Ours is not a normal story. It’s not the typical wedding and happily ever after story, on that everyone will agree. It’s not the typical traumatic brain injury story (at least not as imagined by most) because he was never in a coma, or a rehab center. We’re an anomaly through and through, and more often than that we find ourselves talking about how lucky we are.

Each time I prepare to write a post I have to pray that it comes across with all the gratitude and love that we have for this year. We certainly never expected to count ourselves lucky for these experiences but we can’t deny being unbelievably lucky as far as brain injuries go.

We are so lucky. We just happen to have a fantastic behavioural optometrist in our family that reached out to us when we were feeling abandoned and has already helped us understand and hope for a better year. He and his wife are lovely and we’ve had the chance to enjoy getting to know them better, a relationship I doubt would have flourished without this injury simply due to the distance.

We are so lucky. Our new doctor (Jason actually found a new doctor – lucky!) is friends with an occupational therapist that specializes in cognitive issues AND created Brain FX360.

I am so lucky. Despite my husband having multiple bleeds in his brain he came home with me. Despite being off work and lost friendships and skills he is a kind man. I speak to other spouses and am reminded of how really truly lucky I am that I get glimpses of the man I love every day. He doesn’t yell at me, or abuse me, he participates in his rehab and never shies away from trying something new to get better.

And now we have to count ourselves lucky that the Criminal Injury Compensation Board has set a date for a hearing. This one is harder to feel lucky about. A chance to relieve the worst experience in our life and have a numerical value assigned to our suffering? Not even in my top 100 things I wanted to experience in my life.

A few months ago I read the Ontario Ombudsman’s report on CICB and convinced myself it would be years before we even dealt with this process and frankly that was an easier solution than preparing to plead our case and ask for charity. It’s been hours of paperwork (so kind to someone with a TBI!) and with the maximum that can be paid out ($30 000.00) we would at most break even for the first 8 months of life with TBI.

So we’re working on mindset in our house lately and remembering how lucky it would be to have any extra money to put towards the debt we’ve accumulated while trying to find treatments. I tell myself every day that the amount they assign us won’t play a part in validating our experiences or inducing guilt for where we’re at. It’s still a big lofty goal that I’m struggling with but we remain undeniably lucky.

Happy birthday Husband!

Today marks my husband’s 31st birthday. This year we’ve been blessed to have 3 meals with small gatherings of friends and family to celebrate another year -and Sunday he’ll be sleeping all of them off.

I want to take a moment to brag about my husband. This past weekend I was asked how married life was treating us. I couldn’t help but start by saying how very lucky I am. Oldham07241527

He is brave beyond belief, he has faced every day of this journey head on. He lets me share his stories and our strategies for dealing with life post TBI without ever asking me to protect his feelings. He never hesitates to tell friends and family what he’s battling and has far more compassion for them than I do when they don’t get it.

He made the transition from travelling and working to staying home and concentrating on rehab look easy. There was never one day of anger or tears, just gratitude for the rehab options we’ve been granted. He gets out of bed every day, puts on clothes and does what he has to for his health.  He cleans and cooks so that I can work and never, ever brings up this change of roles against me.

He is amazingly kind. He’ll still take time to ask how others are doing or hold my hand when I’m having a bad day. He never makes me feel bad when my turn cooking dinner inevitably ends with ordering takeout.

Oldham07241540He’s a fantastically strong man and I am so happy to be celebrating him this year.  It’s easy on the bad days to get caught up in symptoms and forgotten tasks, a mistake I know I make more often than I’d like to admit. As a supporter I will never really understand how much energy it takes every day to keep being himself which just makes me more in awe of what he has accomplished this year.

Happy birthday Husband! I love you and respect you.