What an amazing day yesterday – participating in a Brain Injury Conference is such a humbling experience for me.  Yesterday was no different, and I am so grateful that I got to be part of that conference.

When I was looking at the speaker list for the day, the Keynote speakers name looked familiar to me.  When I did a little searching, I realized that I had met with Doctor Karol at another conference where I was the Keynote speaker.  At that time he was working on a new speech that looked at the meaning and interaction of art and brain injury.  He wanted to see my tattoo – the one that I got after Frank’s crash – and asked if he could use it if he ever finally put together the presentation.  I of course said yes, and he took several pictures.  I had not seen him again since that day.

The conference was getting ready to start, and I went up to greet this gentleman before he began.  He didn’t know me at first until I mentioned my tattoo, and then he laughed and of course remembered!  We chatted and he told me that I would have had a nice surprise today – his presentation was on how art can heal and be part of brain injury recovery for those with the injury and those with family members, and my tattoo was part of his presentation.

It made me smile to remember that moment when I made the decision to get that tattoo – Frank’s partner Joey and I had already had a few conversations about tattoos, and Joey knew that Frank did not want me to get another one.  He even told Frank (while he was still in a coma) that he had his back and no way would he let me get another one.

Ha – well that didn’t work out so well did it?

I remember sitting in the chair, prepping my foot to put on the large blue rose, and the words “una stamus.”  I remember thinking how important it was for me to permanently state my feelings of thankfulness and honor while being part of the law enforcement family – it was important to me as part of the journey, and I chose to make that statement with a tattoo.

The presentation was amazing and thought provoking – it made me appreciate even more the power of art and healing, and how simple things that we do can make a huge difference.

My presentation was after lunch, and I had a full audience.  It felt good talking to individuals that work with clients and families living along the brain injury pathway, and as always, there were some amazing questions at the end of the session.  What I love the most are the people that come up to me afterwards that tell me their story – how they are at month 12 living after their husbands injury, or they themselves are 15 years living with their own TBI.  Each story is very important to me, and I am always grateful that people come to share with me their own struggles and life; it is a family of survivors, and we all need to stick together.

It was a day filled with energy of healing for me – spending the day with an amazing lady that I get to call my friend, and presenting at a conference filled with amazing people is a really good way to spend a day.

I am thankful I was given that opportunity – I went home and hugged Frank, and told him I am proud of him.

He laughed, and said “whatever.”

Always his typical response.

Una Stamus my friends.

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