Breaking barriers…

Ten years ago today, July 4th 2009, I learned to fear answering the telephone. Four words changed the lives of everyone in our little family and that of many of our friends. My son, over a hundred miles away in Bournemouth, was in hospital… and we were advised to come at once. He had not regained consciousness since he had been brought in and, at that point, they did not seem to understand why. They thought he had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

They were almost right. Nick had been stabbed through the brain in a senseless attack. The puncture wound was so small it had, at first, been missed, but shards of bone were lodged in his brain and the ten inch screwdriver that had been rammed through his temple had compromised the brain stem. He was in a coma and not expected to live.

I have written, in great detail, of that time. I have told of the moment when the call came through, of the terror and despair, of the kindness and hope of those dreadful days… days that became weeks and months of fear and struggle as we all learned to adapt to a redefined future that was not only full of unknowns, but which was likely to shape the rest of our lives.

When Nick finally woke, it was to severe disability. Paralysed, unable to speak at all, his vision compromised and utterly dependent. The prognosis was grim… especially as it was clear that the bright young businessman with a razor sharp mind was still there… trapped in a broken and uncooperative body and a brain that would not allow the mind to express itself as it should.

In those early days, as soon as Nick began to awaken, my one determination was that he should believe in himself and have all the support he needed. We were told that patients who had people there for them did best… so every day for months, we drove the round trip to be at his bedside for every moment we were allowed and drove back to care for the rest of the family.

After the hospitals, he was admitted to rehab to begin the long fight back to a normality yet to be defined. It was six months before he was allowed to come home and two years before he was once more able to move into a place of his own.

At that point, Nick still needed an enormous amount of help and I was there from morning till night every day. In spite of the excitement about creating a beautiful home for himself, there were so many things that could go wrong and did, that it was as scary a time as you can imagine.

But, Nick was always determined to walk again, to regain his life and independence. He worked harder than you would believe possible, right from the start, with a ferocious will to succeed, even while he knew that, realistically, the likelihood of achieving his goal was minimal. Neither optimism nor hope need be blind.

That was ten years ago exactly. Independence day… and my son’s re-birthday, as he calls it. It is a long time… but in many ways, seems no time at all. When you are living with the consequences of such an event, you cannot simply ‘put it behind you’… it colours your every day, even in small ways that pass almost unnoticed. It was only today that it dawned on me, for instance, why I have an almost pathological fear of answering an unknown number on a telephone…

Time, though, changes many things. Ten years on, Nick still cannot walk unaided and he faces many daily challenges, any of which could stop him in his tracks.  There was a gradual acceptance of new limitations, but accepting that they exist does not mean accepting them as unbreachable barriers. It just means finding new ways of achieving the impossible.

IMG_0141

So far, his motto seems to be holding true.

Possum ergo facit. I can therefore I do.

And he does.

 

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in Brain injury, flight, Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

134 Responses to Breaking barriers…

  1. mbrazfieldm says:

    a multitude of blessing and possitivty to you your son and your family ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    The things Nick has achieved in those 10 years, though…
    Sometimes, you wonder, if it weren’t for those life changing experiences, would he have done all he has, since being able to?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      That’s one of beauties to have come from this whole awful situation… he would probably have been caught in economic and social normality and never have done, achieved or enjoyed half as much. In losing the life he had, he has learned to Live.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Flor says:

    You both are Inspiring!! ❤ ❤
    I salute you both!
    Have a Blessed day!

    Like

  4. jenanita01 says:

    That picture of Nick and Ani says it all, Sue. Truly beautiful to see…

    Like

  5. Flor says:

    Reblogged this on TRAVEL N WRITE.

    Like

  6. Patty says:

    Reblogged this on Campbells World.

    Like

  7. Suzanne says:

    I am in awe of your son and your strength in helping him live again.

    Like

  8. Happy Re-birthday Nick!

    Very inspiring stuff Sue and the best of good wishes and luck to all of you!

    Like

  9. ksbeth says:

    you are all an inspiration.

    Like

  10. Sadje says:

    A great account of determination and survival instinct. I pray that his courage never fails and his life keeps on getting better.

    Like

  11. Alli Templeton says:

    Your blog has given me many a wet cheek this week, Sue, and today is no exception. What a wonderful, amazing and truly inspiring son you have, and what an equally wonderful and inspiring mum he has. Together you make an invincible team. Fantastic motto. Love and light to you both. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for sharing Nick and his brilliant spirit with us.

    Like

  13. Jennie says:

    Clearly Nick inherited your strength of character and will. The fact that he calls this day his rebirth-day is a testament to that. You must be so proud of your son! He is amazing.

    Like

  14. Much love to you and Nick, a constant inspiration. I’m honored to be in one of those photos and will always fondly remember that magical day at Arbor Low. ❤

    Like

  15. Reblogged this on Not Tomatoes and commented:
    One of the most inspiring duos I know: Nick and his mum, Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Incredible blessing in your story, Sue, really about the both of you, and the images do it justice! All the best for ya’ll! 🙂

    Like

  17. What an amazing story of courage, hope and unconditional love. Sue, I wish your son all good things and may he never lose his sense of adventure. You have all been through so much ❤️

    Like

  18. Marcia says:

    “In losing the life he had, he has learned to Live.”
    Wow. That one profound line says it all. Nick is an amazing person of indomitable will and courage. (And so are you.) This is the perfect example of the best that’s within us, and the limitless joy in life we should all strive for, no matter the obstacles in our way. THIS is how you do it! One foot in front of the other, no matter where it is you want to go.

    Thank you for sharing, Sue! And much love to you, Nick, and all those you care about.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thank you, Marcia. We overcopmlicate things a lot, but it really is just stepping from moment to moment… even if you can’t exactly walk 😉

      Hugs ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marcia says:

        Walking isn’t the only way to move from moment to moment, as Nick has proved. And this post was exactly what I needed today, as I’ve had some health issues of my own frustrating me lately. Now that I’ve been reminded of what can be accomplished if you focus on the positive and work for what you want, I’m feeling 100% better. Thank you for that! 🙂 ❤

        Like

        • Sue Vincent says:

          Bles, you, Marcia, I hope that your health issues can be swiftly resolved. I know the feeling… and, watching Nick, hope I’ll Live until I can’t live any more 😉

          Like

  19. Marcia says:

    Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:
    Here’s a different way to think of Independence Day. If you don’t know Nick’s story, you should read this post from Sue Vincent, marking the 10th anniversary of a life-altering event. Nick’s determination to regain his health and live a life worth living should be an inspiration to us all. Do yourself a favor and check out Sue’s post. I guarantee you it will change how you look at your life’s blessings and how you approach each challenge! As always, spread the word. The world needs stories like this one. You go, Nick! And you as well, Sue!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. olganm says:

    Amazing, Sue. Your son is such an inspiration. He’s lived more than most of us would in those 10 years. I totally understand you worry answering the phone calls.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      What with the other son being a biker…and, over the years, giving me heart failure a good few times, it doesn’t surprise me either. But I genuinely hadn’t thought about why till writing this post.

      Like

  21. Darlene says:

    Nick is amazing and a testament to the strength and determination of the human spirit. As a mom, I understand that worry about getting a call that could change your life forever. For you, it has to be worse as it has happened, a mom’s worst nightmare. But you dug deep and pulled out that inner strength. Bravo to you and Nick for what you have accomplished.

    Like

  22. A corageous young man. This true account of what happened brought tears tomy eyes as I read this. I cannot even fathom the pain you all endeared during that time 10 years ago. He is a miracle!!! God Bless!!!!

    Like

  23. Yay Nick for striving ever upwards and never giving up! He’s lucky to have a great mom.

    Like

  24. A beautiful post, Sue. Michael is stick again and we had some not so good news yesterday [not terrible so don’t panic but worrying for me]. I still find it hard to believe this happened in the UK which I think of as my safe place.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I am sorry to hear that, Robbie… I can understand your worrying, of course. I hope things turn out okay.
      Yes… we had the same reaction… Bournemouth!

      Like

  25. Adele Marie says:

    Nik is a wonderful person and his courage shines as a beacon to others, including me. I often think I can’t do this when walking, and then I think of what Nik went through and is still achieving and I can take that extra step. xxx

    Like

  26. This story squeezed my heart, Sue. Nick is an inspiration. I can’t even imagine how terrifying those early days were for you. It sure makes a person reevaluate what’s important in life {{hugs}}

    Like

  27. Totally amazing.

    Like

  28. You and Nick provide awe-inspired accolades from us all, Sue! ❤ May your continuous blessings abound. Thanks so much for sharing. xoxo

    Like

  29. Amazing
    Love, ELizabeth

    Like

  30. Wow, you should write a memoir about this. What a story!

    Like

  31. Eliza Waters says:

    Happy Re-birthday, Nick! I thought of him upon rising this morning and am glad to see your post so I could convey my regards. Nick is one of my great heroes! ❤

    Like

  32. dgkaye says:

    God bless Sue. Amazing determination on both your parts and those photos are priceless. ❤

    Like

  33. Widdershins says:

    Happy Re-Birth Day, Nick. 😀

    Like

  34. Prajakta says:

    This is an inspiration – there are so many ways a person can deal with such a devastating card in life, and Nick chose the best possible one. Truly amazing!

    Like

  35. memadtwo says:

    A continual inspiration. (K)

    Like

  36. petespringerauthor says:

    What a powerful example of heart and not giving up! Nick’s story needs to be told again and again. Not only am I moved by your son, Sue, but also by a parent who reminds us to keep things in perspective. Shame on the rest of us who complain about the little things in life.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      One thing we have learned very clearly, Pete, is that although you might draw strength from seeing how others face challenges, you should not compare and feel your own are less than theirs. Every struggle or challenge is unique and all are acute to those going through them. But it does help sometimes to see that wonderful things can grow from disaster 🙂

      Like

  37. Staci Troilo says:

    This is the first I’m reading of this aspect of your life, and I’m typing this in tears—both saddened and heartened. You are both truly blessed to have each other in your lives. No one should ever have to endure such a tragedy. But every child should have such a supportive parent, and every person should have such an indomitable spirit as your son. Praying for your whole family.

    Like

  38. Norah says:

    Sue, you and Nick and your family are an inspiration. Best wishes to all of you.

    Like

  39. What an amazing man. An amazing human being (with an incredible support of family). Yes, I’ve read about Nick in your past posts and marveled at his resiliency, his courage, and his will to BE. This post was whipped cream on the cake. Please tell him that strangers in strange lands applaud his sense of BEING, his love of life, and his tender tenacity.

    Like

  40. willowdot21 says:

    I am always speachless looking at Nick he never ceases to amaze me as to you. You and Nick are , all of your family are wonderful people. Nick is a beacon to us all , though human and no Saint, no is. Love to you both 💜

    Like

  41. Nick is an iconic example of fighting for a goal, accepting what must be accepted — without giving up. That, to me, defines real valor. To go on fighting, even with the understanding that it may not come out the way he hoped. It takes incredible strength to deal with disappointment and not give up. And you too. Your willingness to keep on keeping on while dealing with disappointment and reality at the same time. You’ve managed something extraordinary, the two of you — individually and together.

    Like

  42. TamrahJo says:

    Happy (ahem, belated!) re-birthday, Nick!

    Like

  43. Tried to follow – rejects my gmail

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      How strange! I have had the same problem with some blogs lately and found that just refreshing the page works most of the time. Failing that, I will follow through the Reader and set email preferences for notofications there.

      Like

  44. Thank you so much for sharing. An incredible story – wow!

    Like

  45. What amazing mental strength & determination Nick has. My brother had a life changing accident when he was 24, he also had inner strength to go on to laugh, love & live a different but fulfilled life, until he lost his fight at age 49. I know there are dark times and struggles most will never understand, but the hardest thing is to have lifted his head, accepted that it’s happened & carried on to enjoy & appreciate what he has. Well done Nick for not letting that idiot who did this to you, win.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I am so sorry to read this, Sam, and can only magine your heartache at your brother’s loss. I am glad to know he lived, though, with a capital ‘L’.
      You wil understand some of the darker times, for both the person at the sharp end of trauma and those who love them… and what it means to see them take life between their teeth. x

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do Sue. It was my brother who taught me to live life to the full every day & not to get so up right about silly things. I actually typed it wrong in my first comment, he died aged 39. I’ll probably write about him one day. A close family is a must during these dark days Your son is a credit to you. Love to you all x

        Like

        • Sue Vincent says:

          That is no age at all…and I feel for your parents too.
          We were lucky to have so many of Nick’s friends close around him until he could start living again. It really matters.
          Hugs xx

          Liked by 1 person

  46. Inspiring every one!

    Like

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