Journey to Caregiving: Becoming Stronger Than You Know


“We can’t wake her up.”
The emergency room Dr. on call that day waited in silence for a reaction. Is she talking about sleeping beauty? – I wondered.  I  used to watch hospital TV dramas so I needed real medical terminology not the fairy tale version.  “Do you mean she is in a coma?” I asked.
Now we were getting somewhere. Now the numbness could find its place deep within a ruptured spirit.

The Journey Begins
Sometimes fate has a way of turning your world upside down. It can bring a change from which there is no turning back.  When it arrived on that day in April, it was dark and despicable. Amid the expanding chaos I felt a seed of strength growing.  Where was the strength coming from?

“Our Deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”  Marianne Williamson – A Return to Love

It is that power that gives you strength when you hear the words, as in my case, “We can’t wake her up.” from an emergency room Doctor.

My 20yr. old daughter, a third year university student and varsity athlete had suffered a heart attack. The test of strength had come knocking at my door like the cry of a banshee. It screamed a terrible shriek and brought pain that had not been witnessed in the living memory of my family.

The soft whisper of death  caressed my child as she lay without vital signs for the ten minutes it took for the paramedics to arrive. Words cannot describe the free fall in to the crevice of despair.  You search for miracles and things which defy logic.

“People who pray for miracles usually don’t get miracles. But people who pray for courage, for strength to bear the unbearable, for the grace to remember what they have left instead of what they have lost, very often find their prayers answered..”   Harold Kushner,  Rabbi and author

My daughter showed that she was stronger that anyone knew.  She broke free from the arms of death, sustained for a time on life support, to rest in a coma for a week, eventually to return to us. The price paid for her return from the underworld was her sight and acute brain injury.

This is when you know that you are strong. You realise that everything that you have done in your life has made you strong for this moment, and this experience is making you stronger.

My daughter’s healing journey has allowed me to see the amplified kindness,  generosity and thoughtfulness of the people I come into contact with daily. People from around the world, from every faith group are praying for her.  We are truly blessed.

When you become a Caregiver you become strong. Strength is a gradual process. Every breath you take and every experience makes you stronger.  Learn to trust your instincts and know that you can get through anything because you are stronger than you know.

As a trained athlete, my daughter knows how to push her body to new boundaries. She is now unstoppable.  Her brain is healing and rewiring.  She is stronger than she knows. She will be able to do the things  she wanted to do.  Maybe not the way she imagined due to her vision loss, but with more imagination and power than ever before.

I am honoured to be by her side in this journey. Each moment together is a precious gift. I feel that love is stronger and deeper when shared together on a common journey.  I thank her for this gift – of understanding that we are all –  Stronger than we know.



J. L. James
Follow me

J. L. James

Writer at EmptyBesters
Social Commentator, Original EmptyBester.
J. L. James
Follow me

2 thoughts on “Journey to Caregiving: Becoming Stronger Than You Know

  1. Lovely to see you blogging again Judith and to hear about the strength you and your daughter have found in this dreadful twist of fate. I wish you more and more strength and courage as the journey progresses and that you both continue to have fulfilling lives even though they are not the lives either of you planned to have.

    1. Good to be back, even though I feel like I am still testing the waters of how it will all come together. You know what they say about the best laid plans. I am cautiously optimistic about the future. And I have new challenges in the role of advocate. Brain injury is one of those areas where having an advocate is very important because those that control funding for services to the brain injured sometimes need a gentle reminder that they should actually spend it on the brain injured. I am guessing it is much the same across the pond. I will share some stories and information on how to get positive results as a caregiver in later posts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge