At 7:16 pm, January16, 2009, my life irrevocably changed. I was, at 7:15 pm, a college professor and in Washington DC for the inauguration of Barack Obama. I carried my sabbatical research in a backpack, along with the itinerary for my upcoming trip to the Bahamas where I would relax, write and absorb the beauty of the land and the people.
And then a stranger came up behind me, and with no warning or comments, assaulted me with a hammer.
That was over ten years ago. I struggle everyday with the effects of what happened. I feel a deep kinship to others who are surviving with their brain and nervous system rearranged by sudden, chance and irrevocable events.
Now I realize that the most important capacities are inside me. I am now part of a community of people who, though often invisible, have the strength of the rose that grows through concrete and the faith of the petals that reach toward the sky.
I never intended to write a book about my experience. When I began to feel physically stronger, I started to make some notes about how I was feeling. Once I started writing, I felt more like the story was writing itself, with me as scribe. As I wrote, I realized that I had to dig more deeply into my own family history, and my raw, vulnerable places. My story, I recognized, was one that spoke to many whose lives are made invisible due to brain injury; who are the innocent victims of the violence of strangers and the violence of systems, and to the families and friends whose lives are also deeply impacted.
*And also wherever books are sold.