In a blink of eye, in less than a second, my family and I lost everything we knew. Little did I know that one second can change your life. We are in the unique club of people being able to tell you this tale of transformation from destruction to hope.
I thought that having been diagnosed with skin cancer in 2014, and beaten that, life had already given me my challenge to go through. This, however, was not the case.
On the 19 March 2018, my family and I were driving back from picking up my then two-year-old son from daycare. We also had our beautiful white husky malamute in the car. My wife was sitting in the back of the hatchback car with my two-year-old, and the dog was in the booth, behind the back seats. This seating arrangement is particularly important to what was just about to happen.
We passed over an unmanned railway crossing that was obscured by a 10-foot snowbank. At this crossroads of our life, a train struck the car. The train hit on the passenger side, T boning the car. It was completely obliterated and so were we.
We still, to this day, cannot remember what happened; the story of that event has been pieced together from various sources. We cannot imagine what it was for our 2-year-old to suddenly be without both parents.
But even in this dark place of destruction, there is an opposing story of love, compassion, and hope. The rescue services were to relay that our beautiful white husky malamute on the impact jumped over the rear seat to land on top of my wife and son covering them with his body. This is the only reason they survived. However, this act of bravery, love and compassion cost him his life.
What took place in the last nearly 3 years has been a complete rebuilding of a new life. From not being able to walk and be fully conscious to today. The pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) means that, for me, that one second is never far away. My wife and I have learned our new boundaries with one another and have become closer and stronger than we ever thought possible. Our now 5-year-old boy is a beaming light of confidence and fun. To say this period of our lives has been “difficult” would be my classic British attitude of “I will walk this off and we are fine.” This self-compassion and humor have been our support. This has got me through a seven-hour brain operation to remove large parts of the skull from the brain, and a further operation to sew both my eyes back in a straight line. Oh yes, I wear as my badge a paralysis of the right-hand side of my face.
We are not our story. We are the lessons we have learned from our story. Would I go back to the crossroads of our life? For the distress it has caused, not only to us but to our whole families, NO! For what we have discovered, such as our true-life purpose, passion, and strength, yes in a heartbeat.
We are medically retired at the ages of 47. This was certainly not the way I had dreamt of being retired by the time I was 50. My wife and I have rebuilt a relationship which is considerably stronger and deeper. We also have found our purpose; to help those suffering from trauma however it shows up in their lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has been something we all have collectively been traumatized by. The mental consequences are still yet to show. My own experience is that my PTSD came months after the accident. There is nothing “post-traumatic” about the current trauma, it is real and present. It is a drip menace and falls within the traumatic stress disorder (TSD) of PTSD.
Is there a path back? Is there light, hope and opportunity? To both of these questions, the answer is an emphatic YES. We tell our story, not for sympathy or pity, quite the opposite. We tell and showcase our story, like the sacrifice of our beloved dog, to show just how strong and resilient a person and a relationship can be. How have we achieved what we have achieved, I really do not know. What I do know is that, although we may have not been responsible for the accident, we are responsible for every part of our recovery and story since. Is it all easy with sunshine and rainbows? No. Is it a daily struggle? Yes. Everyday we get to make the same choices as everyone else, Victim or Victor. At the end of the day, we are all left with a choice. And one of my daily choice is to help people. I do it through many different channels, including being involved in Split Arrow Sessions and Core Mentor Association.
I ask you now, what are your choices going to be now and today? You can see from our story that it all can change in a second. Make sure, as we now do, that every second is precious and counts.
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Paul Rogers’ mission is to help others experience the power and journey of transformation to find their inner passion and true purpose.
Transform is actually two words in one: trans-form. Form is your current life, abilities, and limiting beliefs. Trans means to go beyond, to soar above the form.
Transformation occurs when you go beyond your current situation. Paul is a master storyteller and he uses his classic British humour to inspire magic in others. He tells his own 21-year overnight success story to chart the highs and lows of life, which, each time, required a new version of himself.
Well before the dreadlocks, his original vocation was as a successful Commercial Law Partner, transitioning to a kitesurf instructor and international kite school owner. Then morphing into a teacher on a Native Cree reserve and he is now a life coach and transformational expert.
In the last 5 years, he’s beaten cancer and he and his family have walked away from a devastating traffic accident with a train. Not everyone survived. Now he lives with the shadow of a severe TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD.
He knows that he has had another shot at life and has taken these destructive events to inspire, motivate and energize others. He believes that it is the light that defines him, rather than lives with a d pay it forward mindset.