23: Anguish

23: Anguish

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries


Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.

~C.S. Lewis

An eternity of anguish changes nothing

Nothing prepares you for unconscious

Unconscious saved by the Jaws of Life

The Jaws of Life get you to the emergency room

The emergency room continues saving your life

When your life is ready for ICU

You’re told what happened

And that your name is Richard

From your lack of response

They understand that you understand


Eighteen tons of cement truck didn’t stop at the stop

Fracturing my hand and my hip

Damaging my equilibrium

My jaw, my teeth, my vision, my brain, my spine

Thirteen years and I’m still in recovery

And I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired

So I’ve been rebuilding and refueling

Refueling and retooling

Self-teaching self-schooling

Relearning how to walk, talk and think

Mood shifts and concentration declines

Hands shake and head pounds

Or you become anxious and confused

My hip dips and my foot slips

My jaw clicks and my brain sticks

All because one day

You leave the house to run three miles

Then go to the gym to work out

The next day you leave the house for work

And go by ambulance to the emergency room

Kissing your fifteen-year telecom career and your health


On any given day breathing is not an option

Surviving the accident was easy

Living the rest of my life

Became my greatest challenge

So I leave you with this message

Whatever trouble you may have

Or whatever it is that makes you, you

Or the person you want to be

Don’t ever, under any circumstance

Consider the possibility of giving up

If I gave up I wouldn’t be here

Adversity knows no boundaries

And neither should we

Because an eternity of anguish

Changes nothing

~Richard E. Berg

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