Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

May 11, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day Happy Father’s Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 8:23 pm

We are given this life.  This incredible life.  An extraordinary  gift and opportunity.  A life where we can accumulate riches, fame and personal indulgences befitting such a unique single life.  We can live in the fanciest mansions, drive the most luxurious of cars, enjoy manicured hair and nails, tanned and pampered bodies, eat the finest and most expensive of foods…

And then, unbelievably, indescribably….people give these lives away.  Freely.  Happily.

They give them to their children.

This one life.  One life right now….Their’s for the taking and spoiling and self-coddling.  Their’s to surround themselves with every wicked extravagance.

And they give it up for their kids.

Women give up perfect bodies for stretch marks, extra weight and varicose veins.  So many forfeit salon hair and nails and designer clothes so that their kids can get new soccer cleats in neon green and go to the prom.  Many stay at home, giving up handsome careers to work three times as hard raising children.

Fathers who once dreamed of driving convertible Mustangs are topping 170 thousand miles on the ten-year-old mini-van.  They suffer jobs they hate and hours that weary so their kids can go to the college they weren’t able to.  Instead of eating the choicest of steaks on their one day off a week, they are warming up a plate of the leftover Hamburger Helper on the way to coaching their kids’ little league.

There isn’t enough paper to tally the sacrifices made by parents who have the roaring hearts of lions.   They take their own lives, their own dreams, their hard-earned money, their best decades…and simply give them away.   They give them to their children.

My heart swells when I look all around me, so touched by the incredible parents I have known all my life.  Your selfless desires to enrich and enhance the lives of those you call your own are ones I consider admirable and heart-warming.

May your sacrifices be returned to you one thousand times over.  Each a gift of love.  Each a flower in the most beautiful of meadows.

I am proud to know you, Moms and Dads.  I salute you.  I think what you do is pretty outstanding.




  1. What a beautiful praise!

    Comment by Jill — May 12, 2012 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

  2. Dear Ms. Swanson,

    When the weekly book club which I’d recently joined at JFK Hartwyck Center for Head Injuries in Edison, New Jersey was deciding on a new book to begin , ( I’d been invited to join this reading group by a man in the support group we both attend at the same facility), they were already on the last chapter of “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, (and It’s All Small Stuff)” by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.
    Perhaps someday, I’ll read the other 99 chapters, but today, I am just thinking how nicely, in a most ironic sort of way, the final chapter, # 100, which begins by asking, “When are you going to die?”, provides a perfect transition to the first chapter of your book which starts right out telling of “the auto accident that ended my life…”
    Wow, I think I’m captivated already ! I’m intrigued ( by the story you have to share ), I’m impressed ( with your writing skill and your wit ). I’m finding myself nodding my head in agreement / smiling in agreement / rolling my eyes in agreement as I read even the first few pages of your experience of “recovering a life after a brain injury”. (In fact, with the cover still closed, I have already begun my underlining and circling / my note-taking and comment-making, my starring and exclamation-point inserting, etc. !)
    “I’ll Carry the Fork !” = reminds me of the story book that I wrote and illustrated as a final assignment for a children’s literature class: the first college class that I’d taken since my head injury. It was during (approximately) the 2nd (?) or 3rd (?) year post car accident, and I thought that it would be a gentle way to ease myself, (now dyslexic and memory-challenged), back into the college scene. My “fork story” so satisfied the instructor, (plus, I guess (1) having a perfect attendance: my father was a photography professor at the school, so we “car-pooled” together ((I was not driving at that time)) and I went with him every day to Solano Community College, and (2) my completion of all the other assignments, including a 100 count index of our own selections of books gathered from either yard-sales, borrowed from friends, checked-out from the library, etc. didn’t hurt, either (!), and she was able to give me credit for a course for which I’d originally planned to simply audit !
    Your title was my shot-gun start, (to use a sporty metaphor) that peaked my curiosity, and inspired immediate interest in your book.
    Furthermore, (kitchen utensils aside), the latter part of the title: “Recovering A Life After Brain Injury”, really was the convincing evidence that your writing would be good, honest and skilled, just by the simple inclusion of the word, “A”.
    Other writers, eager for their work to be just a pep-talk / an ego-boost celebrating “the miracle of surviving a head trauma”, might have left out, (or have been encouraged to omit) this VERY IMPORTANT word. This little word says, in so subtle a way as to be amidst uncapitalized words at the bottom of the page, that the ultimate goal of recovery is the realization that adaptability and acceptance may just be the most important aspects of recovery. Sure, life will be different after brain injury, and the sooner the better if one can get to know / get to accept, (I’m not saying, get to love or even like necessarily) one’s “new” self.
    She / he will sometimes be clumsy, angry and spacey. He / she may at times be lonely and fearful, but until a T.B.I. survivor begins to truly comprehend that life IS (still) of value, regardless of the trauma which injured her / his brain, that living does go on, (despite the death of a few brain cells), and most importantly that A life remains possible. Life as it had come to be known, may have to be adapted, granted.
    It does not say; “Recovering MY life”, which might alienate some readers as well as imply that the life which you had led previously was, and remains the only thing of importance: that the goal of your book is exclusively to return to your “former’ life and to let your readers know that you did so.
    “recovering a life after brain injury” I read these humble words written in a lower-case font at the bottom of the page,…..
    … and now, I open your book !

    I am so excited: I can’t wait to read beyond just the cover !

    … gonna curl up right now with a can of beer and snuggle on the couch with my lion (the Chow Chow, “Leo”), my bull (the Pit Bull, “Cerberus”) and my “Romeo” (the kitty cat)….. AND my copy (borrowed from the local free lending library here in South Plainfield, New Jersey) of “I’ll Carry the Fork!”.

    Cheers !


    Comment by Hilary Bacon — June 4, 2012 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

    • Hey, Hilary from South Plainfield! Smiling here, thinking of you with Leo, Cerberus and Romeo, a cold beer…reading Fork. I appreciate the note. Love your spirit. It shines right through. I hope you enjoy the book. You are welcome here. I’m so glad you stopped by. 🙂 Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — June 5, 2012 @ 12:04 am | Reply

      • Thank you Kara, for such a quick AND KIND response !
        (My shining spirit is blushing right now !!!)
        Certainly, I will happily accept your invitation to visit again soon.
        🙂 Hilary

        Comment by Hilary Bacon — June 5, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

      • Of course it counts — but you do so much writing, maybe you need a day book, ala Edward Weston, in which to collect your many notes so that you can go back and organize and edit — you have an amazing gift – the rest of the world would be so much the better if you were to share.

        Comment by Randy Schaeffer — June 5, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

    • Hilary — beautifully written – you should do more of it – As Kara points out, your wonderful spirit shines throughout.

      Comment by Randy Schaeffer — June 5, 2012 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

      • Thanks Randy, I appreciate your encouragement to write more… (today I wrote in my log-book that I did yoga and sit-ups at the gym…..does that count ?)

        Comment by Hilary Bacon — June 5, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

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