The results of the CAHU in Denver, CO are in! In looking the other speakers numbers, I guess I did GREAT. They ranged from 10% to 58%; I was the highest at 69%.
But even better, were the direct quotes. These were 3 of my favorites:
“This story and message was exceptional. I appreciate the opportunity to hear it and be inspired by it. Excellent choice. I have already read to book.”
“I truly appreciated his speech – my husband and I are business partners as well – and we have just applied for Disability Insurance! I truly appreciated his message, delivery and the book is fabulous!”
“Gordon and his spouse were the highlight of the day. Incredibly moving and everyone in attendance either left completely inspired or needing to check their pulse!”
And of course, there was the negative:
“I did not see why this speaker was invited.”
At first, I was disappointed. But as I read his quotes about the other speakers, I felt pretty good! Someone once said “a speech isn’t any good unless you have a negative comment”…or something like that.
People’s reactions to our sharing our story and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in public have been varied but overwhelmingly positive. Some people feel safe telling us their own health struggles. Some people resolve to make their marriage a priority. Some people grow in both their understanding of and compassion for those near them. Some people scold themselves for obsessing over small problems. But nearly all people use the word “hope.”
Hope is powerful, filled with possibilities, and is the thing most people need to get themselves out of bed in the morning. Hope is what kept Jill and me working on the same exercises every day for years. Hope kept us believing things would get better if we were willing to work for it. Hope is what we bring to every speech.
Sometimes survivors and their spouses reach out to us privately. Without exception, they ask us how we have kept moving forward, how we have been able to face the recovery work that seems too hard or pointless, and how have we kept a positive attitude.
The answer? Hope. Jill and I have an unshakable belief that together, each day can be a little better than the last. We set goals with ridiculously aggressive time frames, rarely achieve them, but have great fun trying. We don’t worry about looking less than perfect—I’m disabled! I will do the best I can with the body I have. As long as I keep trying and we can laugh, who cares what I look like?
The only way we lose… is to lose hope. Sure, there are still big questions for us: Will I continue to recover? Do I have a chance at normal life ever again? I say YES! I keep getting better everyday.
OK, can you tell that Jill wrote this? Isn’t she incredible? I think so!