This piece was first published in 2016.
Success comes in many sizes and flavors. In the summer of 2004 I suffered a severe stroke (a right Pontine infarct). I completely lost use of my left side. Denial set in and I thought this was just something that, with therapy, I could go back to work. But eventually after many weeks of paralysis it started to settle in that this was “the new normal.” I have a good relationship with my family in Connecticut, but I also have a longing to be back to my life or at least constructing a new one.
Then the men stepped up … BIG TIME. Without requesting for help on my part, (my division and team knew how I hate to ask for help), the men knew what had to be done. They moved me out of my place, which was difficult as to the condition of being empty for 10 weeks. They said “you are living with Phil and Kevin in Watertown now.”
When you have a traumatic physically debilitating injury, there is a psychological component to it. When you can’t do something, you sometimes lose the desire to do it. The economy of 2008-2010 didn’t help either. But with team exercises of setting goals and being held accountable to working on them I FINALLY began to get the desire to be a part of, and contribute to, my family, my community and my world.
Sometimes all it takes is the thought of “wait a minute, I can do this.” So with the help of my family, my men’s team, but most importantly myself (it has to begin there), I began to slowly bring myself back, as I stated it, “to the land of the living.” This year I have found a job that meets my needs perfectly – that’s right: my needs, my desires, my new normal. There is help out there men, all around you, right next to you in a circle. All you have to do is ask; that’s the hard part … and that’s the best part.