Sunday, December 6, 2009

12/6 Chuck's Speech/ Video to Follow (We Hope)

It’s good to see so many friends here.

I want to try to express to you where I am in my journey. I am aware that there was an assault but I do not remember it. I have been in a number of situations in that neighborhood but never felt I had a cause for fear. Neighbors have said the police misjudged the seriousness of the threat to me that night when they failed to arrest the assailant.

We can’t go back and make it right so we must find a way to go forward.

I am aware that I have a severe brain injury and that it affects my short-term memory and my communications. It was hard for us to experience the loss of my position and to let go of our home. My wife Auburn carries an overwhelming burden and does it with great love. So often, I am powerless to help, but I am aware of all that is going on around me.

It is frustrating for me to try to express a complete thought and then hear something muddled come out. I understand others perfectly well but I am not always able to make myself understood. If you look in my eyes rather than listen to my words, you will see that I’m here.

In light of all this tragedy and loss, where can we put our focus? We have determined to rely on God and to focus on the things over which we do have some control. It IS possible to build physical strength, flexibility and balance. It IS possible to work diligently on cognitive and speech issues. It IS possible to stay involved in the community.

We have built a grass-roots, out of pocket program, to address the things we can positively affect in my recovery. These first one to two years will be critical in my life-long outcome. It is a choice between attention to details or neglect of details.

Someone will help me re-learn computer keyboarding or they will not. Someone will help me stretch the tendons in my ankles or they will not. Someone will take me golfing or they will not. We’ve learned that many people in my predicament are simply warehoused or propped up in front of a tv and never have an opportunity to emerge.

I intend to emerge and to emerge fully. I need the commitment of friends and community members to keep me IN the center of LIFE rather than IN the margins. I need opportunities to re-access, practice and regain dozens of skills, large and small.

Above all, we need the financial support to continue this aggressive physical and cognitive program. We’re shooting for an amount to carry us to July of 2010, one full year after the assault.

Auburn has said that if we keep prayer, laughter and affection in the center of our lives, we’ll be able to face and accomplish anything. We are inviting you to join us in this story of prayer, laughter, affection and success.

I hope in one to two years to be able to celebrate with you a story of dramatic restoration and new life.

We are so grateful for your faithfulness, help and friendship.

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