Ten years? What a milestone! Each anniversary gives pause to reflect on our journey. I must admit, this year I have been struggling to find the words and direction to summarize my thoughts; especially given the added weight of the recent world issues.

I was recently asked, ‘As a caregiver, what would Marie of today tell the Marie of 10 years ago’? The adage, “hindsight is 20/20” certainly is true; however, “ignorance is bliss” is also appropriate! There are so many moments I wish I had a crystal ball but truthfully, I’m grateful I didn’t. If I had known what was coming, would I have made the same choices?

People also ask, how do we keep going? (Pre-pandemic) I’d often respond with a counter question; what would you do if suddenly your world completely changed? What if one day every daily and social routine abruptly stopped? (Hmm, maybe I do have a crystal ball?)

This decade has been filled with 3,650 days of lessons that help to answer both those questions.

First and foremost, the Hollywood version of brain injury is not even close to being accurate! We still believe in happy endings but we’ve learned the script requires daily edits and some of the script writers need to be fired!

For me, the realistic lessons include learning about Pharmaceutical drugs, Neurological anatomy, Physical, Occupational, Speech, Cognitive and Behavioral therapy techniques. I’ve learned to navigate the Insurance cycle; claims, appeals and bill management. I’ve honed my skills in adaptive design for home renovations. I’ve learned how to integrate a variety of alternative therapy techniques; including cooking, music, art, and aqua therapy to not only supplement, but sustain our daily exercise schedule. Networking with survivors, families, clinicians and legislators across the country has been an important part of my education. Having the opportunity to learn from others and to share what we’ve learned has been a source of healing and purpose as an advocate.

I’ve also learned;

Change comes with choices.

Change invites uncertainty and hard work.

Some changes are not comfortable or comforting. Others inspire joy and creativity, providing new perspective and new energy.

Change has taught me that resilience might look easy from the outside but inside it’s brutally hard to practice.

For Corey; (in her own words)

“The biggest lesson I have learned is to have patience”.

“Whatever you’re doing, it may not go perfectly the first time; however it might, if you keep trying”.

“Do not give up”.

“Having a positive family around you, helps you get better. It keeps you motivated to not give up on yourself”.

“My injury changed my body but it didn’t take away my dreams. I still want to be a Chef”.

The past is where you learned the lesson. The future is where you apply the lesson 

Before we begin a new day of lessons, we’re excited to share yet another FIRST. This video clip might be less than 30 seconds but it took a decade to create. For the first time in 10 years, Corey walked in the sand to the water’s edge.

“Start by doing what is necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible” ~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Never Give Up and Never Give In, xoxo