By Lucia Hur
The story you are about to read is true. I should know. I am not only the author, but I am also the mother who has had to endure what no parent should ever have to endure: the report of your child being involved in a horrific car accident, which resulted in a traumatic brain injury.
It transformed Bobby Hur from a young man of vitality and health into an unconscious shadow of his former self, and some medical professionals dismissed Bobby as a hopeless case. That was the unofficial prognosis of my son, a young man of physical prowess and intellectual promise. Bobby was, literally, on his way from high school to college when his world, and mine, forever turned upside down.
I was getting ready for a night on the town that I had been looking forward to for a long time. I found the perfect pair of shoes to match my new dress. Our younger son, Bobby, had just left early that morning to drive through Lubbock to see his brother Peter and a family friend, Neil, on his way to college. John and I were looking forward to the next phase of our lives as empty nesters, when I heard the shrill ring of our front doorbell.
As we were dressing for our evening, Neil’s parents, our dear friends, Dee and Mike, arrived at our front door. They had arrived significantly earlier than expected for our evening out together. Mike said, “plans have changed, there’s been an accident….in Lubbock.”
Within moments our lives changed forever. Dee and Mike’s son, Neil, was volunteering at the hospital when EMS brought Bobby in after a terrifying car accident. Neil called his parents who booked flights for all four of us and we left immediately.
Neil was our liaison to the doctors and hospital. He kept us informed on when Bobby’s surgery would take place. When we heard how serious the injuries were, John and I knew we had only one option, to pray. As the minutes turned to hours, which turned into days and months, we knew we had to continue to be faithful. However, our strength and faith were being tested like never before.
I felt like Bobby’s first doctors in Lubbock gave up on him. So, my husband and I moved him to Austin, overriding hospital and medical advice. We worked diligently with his Austin physicians, hospital staff and rehab center staff, to support Bobby on every level while juggling several businesses and family commitments. Month after month, year after year, Bobby progressed and was the first student with TBI to finish a degree at Texas Tech University. While he struggles with career and health issues, he is living alone and contributing to our family and society.
Everybody deals with stress differently. However, as you know, sometimes caregivers (and parents) give so much time and energy to their loved one that they neglect their basic needs. In my case, when I went in for my overdue well woman checkup, it was discovered I had breast cancer.
Fortunately, my brother, who was Chairman at Weill Cornell in New York, made sure I received the best care possible. However, we received news that our father was very ill in California. So, I flew to be with him before flying back for my surgery in New York. I’m grateful I was able to see him, which was the last time.
I have learned a number of lessons as a result of what happened to Bobby on that fateful day, two of which are worth sharing with Iron Butterflies. The first is what truly matters in this life has very little to do with the destination, and almost everything to do with the journey.
The second is “nothing good ever comes easy.” The steps on this journey have not been easy. As a consequence, I have grown as a human and a spiritual being. I believe my husband and two sons would say the same thing.
Every case of TBI is different. Yours may be different. However difficult it may be, I urge you to follow this one piece of Churchillian advice: never give up. Never, ever give up. It may appear self-evident and even trite. I guarantee that it lies in at the heart of every successful recovery.
I was only seven years old when I left Korea with my family for Malaysia because my father was training other surgeons and opening medical labs. I learned English because we were required to memorize 100 English words each day.
My book, Perfect Love, is based on the log I kept soon after that dreadful accident. For more than two decades, I have been his primary caregiver. My husband, John, played a vital role in Bobby’s recovery, as well. The comfort, support and wise counsel he provided me daily was critical. Our ongoing love story is a vital part of how we survived this life-changing ordeal.
My debut memoir about life after my son’s traumatic brain injury brings new meaning to the old adage, “never give up!” Visit PerfectLoveBook.com. It may be purchased at Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and MascotBooks.com. Connect with Perfect Love on Facebook.
Contact the author at: [email protected]