A Letter To The People I Have Had To Let Go Of | Brooke Page

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on August 19, 2019 # Relationships

No one wishes a spinal cord injury on anyone as a catalyst to personal growth and change, however, when this injury happened to my husband, we both changed everything about ourselves overnight. We changed in a way that no one around us understood except other couples going through a similar situation.

Things that were once acceptable to us were not anymore. People who took too much of our precious energy were made more visible to us, their intentions (good and bad) were more evident. We began to see people for who they really were, even if it had been slapping us in the face for years prior to the accident. There’s something about being at your lowest point - scared, vulnerable, and the weakest you’ve ever been - that makes you suddenly realize that in order to heal, you need to feel truly safe. You need to feel comforted by people around you who actually care - the ones that put themselves aside for the time being to truly assist you in the start of your new life (if needed). You simply cannot handle those who take, take, take. The ones who seem to suck the life force out of you because THEY are not strong enough. You do not have the time to focus on giving anymore because when you are in the midst of the hardest struggle of your life, you have nothing left to give.

There’s something about this injury tearing you down to the very core of who you thought you were and giving you a second chance to truly LIVE. When you feel like a shell of yourself, that is when you have an opportunity to build yourself back up and really become who you want to be. In order to do that, sometimes you have to soul search and dig deep to find out what you really want and need around you to succeed in that. Sometimes these choices are not pretty, but necessary. These actions are what saved us... both my husband and me.

After many relationships that have had to end since my husband’s injury, I can honestly say that I have learned so much about myself that If I were given the opportunity to go back and change anything, I wouldn’t. Those people who have come and gone, have taught me the kind of life lessons that take some people a lifetime to learn. As someone who wants to be the best person I can be no matter what the cost, I know that feeling hurt, disappointed, and betrayed are emotions that have the power to turn you from being a scared, insecure victim, into a powerful and enlightened super-woman who is capable of anything.

People ask me all the time who I am most grateful for. A while ago I would have said those who have stuck by us, devoted their time to helping us, and show their love by just listening and being there… without expecting anything back. The unselfish ones. The ones who listen. These people are true precious gems - the legs that we now stand on, and the people we can call our chosen people. Those special few know who they are. They know they are the ones who have made our lives what they are today, and without them, we wouldn't be the strong resilient people we are right now.

I realized a short time ago when I was talking about gratitude that I am in fact not most grateful for these people I describe above. I am most grateful for the ones who are not in my life anymore. There is a reason I can appreciate my chosen few so much, and love and celebrate the ones we choose to have around us. The reason is that we have had so many come and go, and now we can truly see those who we want to be around us. The ones we WANT to share our lives with, this previous life that we only have one of.

I’ve decided to write a thank you letter to those who have become the people who I am most grateful for in my new life after the spinal cord injury that nearly took the life of the one I love the most, my husband.

Here’s to the ones who are not in my life anymore: I thank you and wish you well.

Dear Anonymous

I wanted to take some time that is long overdue - to put down into words how much you have helped me on my personal journey to becoming who I am now. I wanted to thank you for helping my husband and I collectively and for making us the unbreakable team we now are.

I wanted to let you know that without you, I would not be the woman I am today. In this place. In this emotional state. All the characteristics about myself that I love - my fierceness, my ability to stand up and fight for what’s right and for my partner, my understanding of human behaviour - all came to be because of you. Because of what we went through... together and then far apart.

Thank you for wanting unconditional loyalty from us without earning it. Without this, we would have not been able to see that loyalty is NOT blind. Seeing things at a distance has helped us to absolutely realize this is the only truth. Now when we go forth, we take what we have learned and protect ourselves because we only have one soul to protect and nurture - our own. This lesson would never have been learned so quickly without your expectations placed upon us.

Thank you for pointing the finger at those around you. It’s always easier to blame others than to look within, even when you are given very few options. Seeing this helped us to be honest with one another and vow to never, ever blame one another for our failures. We choose to lift one another up and support each other in our own processes of change. We respect each other more now, because of you.

Thank you for always making it all about you. Without that, we would never have learned how to see the people who listen and the ones who are true. After all, you were and still are I’m sure, doing the best you can with what you have been given. It could make us sad, it could keep us from growing, but that is not who we are now. We take that experience into new situations with us and have learned so much about who people are at their core. There will be no more time wasted with people who have selfish intentions or who do not reciprocate the love we put in. Life is too short to waste the little time we do have giving without getting anything back in return. This doesn’t happen anymore, because of you.

Early on in my husband’s injury, we were given a choice - to live our lives how others wanted us to or to live how WE wanted to. We were BOTH given a second chance at life and were shown the true colours of those around us who were not capable of allowing us the choice. Trauma brings out the absolute best or absolute worst in people - we have seen both and are empowered in our choice to move forward by being around the best.

We are people who take our pain and change it into success; people who use trauma to turn it into lessons learned - lessons that we wouldn't change for the world. We are people who you do not know, people who I do not think you have ever really known. I am proud to say that even

though life has thrown us some major curveballs, we are happier than ever - happy in love, and life - and we feel for those who cannot see the light.

It feels so good to say thank you. I feel a weight lifted off my chest that has truly gotten lighter and lighter over the years. This weight has come and gone, and now, I can lift it up again without feeling the same way I did all those different times throughout the years.

So now, I go on with my life - one that we have designed how I want it to be. And I go with respect for all of you, who were once placed in our lives to help us grow more than we ever thought possible.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.


The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.