Sunday, 8 June 2008

Destination Hope.

Greetings everyone. My dear friend Heather, someone who I had not seen in fifteen years, kindly allowed me to use the following e-mail as an introduction to this blog. I dedicate this blog to Heather and her strong, positive family.

"Hello My Dear!!
You have our permission to do all that you ask. Wayne’s accident happened on September 16th, 2oo6 approximately 3:30 in the afternoon. His prognosis at the beginning was quite good and the doctor told him to expect a 95% recovery. Due to the bungling of several so called professionals and the fact that he nearly died 4 times ( one time close enough to have the minister come to his bedside twice), his body had to try to heal itself from illness which took away from his recovery. His spinal cord injury although it was not severed was serious enough to cause what is called an incomplete quadriplegia which means that he has feeling some places and not others. His main injury seems to be due to swelling and the damage it can cause. Sort of like a brain injury being made worse due to not getting enough oxygen for a long time. We are very hopeful of a good recovery which means he will walk again but with assistance. At this point the worst damage has been to his sense of self. He no longer feels like a contributing member of society and is floundering to find an anchor. I try to help him but my words are a bit like not seeing the forest for the trees. I am too close. He actually came home to stay on January 25th, 2008. A very long time indeed and we are still adjusting to what is supposed to be life. We only now are really starting to enjoy some very sweet moments together. I can send some photos of before’s if you like. Stages from the beginning to now. He really has come a very long way and he ( very sweetly) attributes a great deal of that me) I thank God I have the positive attitude that I do, it really has got me through this. Anyway, I can send more info. Just ask away.
How are you now? I am so very proud of you Gary. Doing what you did with the issues you are trying to deal with was tantamount to a miracle. I respect you deeply for your courage and I expect that you will continue to grow and blossom. I bet you were real happy to get back to your garden though. Where did you put the chimes?
Well. I’ll talk to you soon. Let me know if you want more info and I’ll send it along. Love you dear!!!

In the face of adversity, that is when you discover just who your true friends are. When Wayne's life changed under such traumatic circumstances, how many 'friends' came to visit him as he lay in his hospital bed? Sadly there were too few. The reality is that some of his visitors felt too awkward. I say, see beyond what happened, focus on Wayne's eyes, see his humanity.
This is a story about courage, resilience, perserverance and the power of love. When I went back to Canada, it was not so much a holiday, no, it was so much more than that. I sought positive inspiration in my own personal journey towards mental health wellbeing. The inspiration I embraced from this brave family is immeasurable.
Seldom have I witnessed such positive determination in a situation that could have torn this family apart. Heather and Wayne know that we have choices. They knew that to allow the circumstances to overwhelm them, was a sign that negativity would be given permission to win. Through the sheer strength of Heather, this permission would never be an option. I know that Heather's love for Wayne during these times of challenging stress, have motivated him to improve his quality of life.
This family unit remains undaunted. With the support of Heather's daughter Margo and her fiancee Brennan, I have seen a family that has found the inner strength to be there for each other. This inner strength will see them through such troubling times. The positive outlook they have displayed is a lesson for those of us who may have contemplated giving up. No matter what the world throws at us, we can discover the power within ourselves to not let negative forces dominate us. We can distance ourselves from a negative environment.
On May 11th, it was Mother's Day in Canada. It also marked the 10th anniversary of my best friend Rob's life coming to an end. Margo is Rob's daughter and I know Mother's Day was a poignant reminder of her dearly loved Father's passing away. Margo was only seventeen when her Dad was taken away from her. I know how devastated she was and from so far away in England, I sent my heartfelt sympathy. Margo, you are a lovely lady and it has been my honour to see you again after fifteen years. Your Father would be so proud of you and the decent spirit of him lives on.
On June 8th, 2008, Margo gave birth. My warmest congratulations to Margo and proud Father Brennan. I know you will make a wonderful family, the love you have for each other will be a powerful influence on your child. Welcome to the world Gabriel, may our legacy to you and your generation, be that we make this planet a greener, more peaceful place.
So to Heather I say. Thank you for being such a positive inspiration to me.To you Wayne, please remember that you have so much support from your determined family. Please draw strength from knowing that nobody can ever remove your dignity. I hope you can now take comfort in knowing you have a friend in me. I am here for you buddy. To Margo and Brennan, thank you for your kindness, your good natured spirit made my trip back to Canada all the more enjoyable.
I listen to the wind chimes that Heather and Wayne so kindly gave me. As I listen to the music of the chimes that now floats into my living room from my beautiful garden, I think of this strong, positive family. The wind chimes are an inspiring reminder of just how grateful I am.
There is a town in British Columbia named 'Hope'. I have fond memories of that town. Heather and Wayne have indicated to me that they would like to live in Hope. As far as I'm concerned, they already live there.


  1. Good reading Gary.

    Please don't think this as one of those 'pat your head' responses, but;

    You're one of the most genuine and open people I've met either via the online world or outside of it - as in 'real life'.

    I know I see and have met Gary - but only when you make blog postings like this, do I get a look inside you and I mean the real you.

    Keep what you're doing and, as we all do, keep going forward, occasionally glimpsing back over our shoulders but never sliding to the offsides again.


  2. Klahanie,
    I collect chimes and after receiving so many as gifts, I designated a 'wind chime tree' to hold them all. At night when there's a breeze stirring I listen to hear which friend of family member will 'speak' first. Many times I've been lulled to sleep, praying for each. Blesings to you and your friends.


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.