What I Now Know: Brooke Pagé

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on September 11, 2019 # Relationships, SCI Awareness

Dear Brooke

If I were to tell you that I’m looking at you right now, speaking to you from a version of your future self that you have become five years since Evan’s injury, you probably wouldn't believe me. Nope! You definitely won’t believe me because I know you - you’re stubborn. You don’t trust anyone in what they say - even yourself! You have to experience everything first hand and do it all yourself.

I remember who you were back then.

But I say to you now, from this future version of yourself - the things you are feeling now will transform you into someone you can be proud of. They will transform your relationship too. You will get married. You will see the world. You will feel differently about so many things. You will create the life you want. You will feel like you have lived 100 lives in a few short years, and you will look back and say that you wouldn't change a thing.

I see you shaking your head at me now - thinking how could that be? This pain, this terror - the feeling of hopelessness. How can you say that this will turn into something beautiful? I know you can barely keep your head above water right now. I know you are drowning in feelings of overwhelm and are experiencing an all-encompassing pain you have never felt before. But trust me, take comfort, even though it seems impossible at this moment.

I know you’re scared. I see you shaking, sitting alone in that hallway of the hospital, and I still can feel that feeling you’re experiencing - right now. I remember what it feels like to be drowning in your own thoughts and not knowing how to process any of them. That feeling of 1000 bricks weighing on your chest; that feeling of not even being able to cry anymore because your tears have been used up already. I remember that well.

This isn't happening.

Why him? Why me? Why us?

There is no way that he won’t ever walk again. It can’t be true. What if he dies? How will I go on?

I remember how these thoughts poisoned your soul worse than 100 daggers to the heart. I remember how no one else really understood. I remember how alone you felt. I remember how you pulled yourself up off the ground to be strong for him. I remember how you couldn't speak about your feelings. Why would you? It is he that is the injured one. I remember how you bottled those feelings up.

If I tell you now that all those feelings, thoughts, emotions, unstable periods of stress, anxiety, and self-doubt would turn you into someone who is stronger than you ever thought you could be, would that help you now? Probably not. I know you. You will have to go through all these necessary phases you will soon go through in order to get to where I am now. And that’s ok.

You will have to grieve.

You will have to feel those incredibly strong doubts.

You will have to be depressed, unhappy, on the verge of giving up on your life as you know it. You will have to lose friendships and family.

You will have to try and seek some calm by letting your internal emotional self fly wildly out of control (although that never helps, does it?).

You will have to deal with burnout, stress in the form of emotional ups and downs, weight gain and lack of self-worth.

You will have to feel isolated, alone and frustrated at his lack of progress.

You will have to go through fights with him, lack of proper communication, and sit on the verge of breaking up. Many, many times. If fact, you WILL break up and give up. Many times.

You will have to learn who truly are you are in order to heal.

You will have to take all these periods of exhausting growth, bundle them up, and store them in the “these things brought me to where I am now” file in your mind.

You will have to tell yourself every single day that “this too shall pass” in order to move forward and keep on going through all the uphill battles. Because guess what, it WILL pass. It DOES pass.

You will then be able to look back and see how these periods have changed you - for the better. You will soon be able to see things more clearly, and if you can take anything from this - please TRUST that everything that is happening to him and to you is for a greater reason.

I know it’s hard to see that now, but this is in YOUR plan in this life.

So, as I leave you now, to go and experience all of this throughout the next difficult five years and meet you here now, as I am - my final thought is this:

Don’t be afraid. Trust in this process. KNOW that you are looked after. KNOW that you will be able to get through anything. KNOW that the person you are becoming is someone you will be proud of. Understand that you will be his rock, his caregiver, the strongest partner in life he could ever have and that you both will have a rock solid bond that is rare to find.

Every single experience from this day forward is creating who you want to be. And you will not have any regrets.

Trust me, I know.



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.