Sunday, 12 August 2012

Four Years On

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This post is written to thank all the people who have stood by me during the last four years. Without their love, guidance and support, I would not be here today.

Four years ago I was knocked from my bicycle on the way to work. What followed has been horrendous for both me and my family.

I have lived in continuous and severe pain which has gradually worsened since the accident; my medical support team tell me that it will continue to worsen. What should improve is my ability to live with and manage the pain.

I have lost my Job, the ability to do all the hobbies I once enjoyed, but far and away more important I lost the ability to partake fully in the lives of my wife and our two beautiful, loving young children. The guilt associated with being unable even to ascend stairs to kiss them good night is hard to bear.

I started writing in attempt to give myself something to do; I also conducted a massive soul search and realignment project which aimed to redesign my inner self, my soul, such that it could live in the new, less capable, body.

This uncomfortable and often dangerous journey continues. So far I have become a Christian, found new friends, who are there for me before I need ask. I have plumbed the very depths of despair and surfaced again. I constantly endure pain which despite using powerful Opiates is sufficient in intensity to make me black out at times.

Despite all of this I am still here.

The following poem is - believe it or not - a poem of hope; it serves to remind me that I never was a quitter. I hope you can find something in it too.

Four Years On

The memory is not important
Screech of breaks, shattered glass,
burst of fear, anger, pain;
that is how it started,
she just pulled out.

The loss that’s what truly counts
Feet pound along beautiful cliff paths,
bicycles, kayaks, water skis;
that’s what was lost,
everything I enjoyed.

No, It’s deeper, much worse
The essence of everything loved
Wife, Children, Friends, Job;
all of them suffer,
Torn asunder, shredded.

Self image, destroyed, hated
unimaginable pain, imaginable,
insomnia, tears, vomit;
these unwanted parasites,
devour all joy, never cease.

Every day, a new battle
continuous cycle of pain management,
exercise, therapy, stretches, drugs;
just to stay stable,
the gradual decline evident.

The one desire, end it, end it all
screech of brakes, shattered lives,
pain, despair, guilt;
tortured soul
fight, don’t quit, pray.

Put cares aside, trust the Lord,
true friends lend shoulders and listen,
plan, strive, achieve;
Four years on,
Pain worse, but hanging in.

John Carré Buchanan
08 August 2012


  1. Being in constant pain is not an easy thing to bear and tolerate, especially if you are aware that it will not get better. It is also a good thing that you have found some wonderful friends who are there for you no matter what.

    I'm so glad that you have found writing as something to do. Writing sometimes helps to focus your mind in different directions, and is a way of expressing your feelings more. I like the truthfulness of your poem, as it speaks in volumes to me.

    This post is an encouragement to me. Never quit, says it all.

    1. Rum-Punch Drunk, Thank you for your comment, I am glad it 'spoke to you'. The Never quit bit is the most important, and as with all things worth doing probably the most difficult.

  2. Wonderful poem John ... A sense of hope within but yet clearly expresses the pain and emotion the accident caused.

    Hope today is bearable for you. Alex x

    1. Alex, Thank you for your kind comment.

  3. Where would we be without writing? I always find it's like a way of 'getting it out of my system'
    Your poem is so, so strong. I am sorry that so much has been taken away from you. I often try to remind myself to look at what I have, rather than what I don't have. But it's not always possible. I think we wouldn't be human if we went through life without asking why and saying life isn't fair.
    Keep as well as you can

    1. Liz, Thank you for your comment. Your approach towards dealing with things is excellent. Looking towards what we have is without doubt the best way forward. I guess that my biggest problem is that I have never not been able to achieve a physical challenge. In fact my whole identity was based upon this; now things are different I find the 'what I do have' is a very poor substitute for that which I have lost. Sadly in my depressive moments these thoughts seem to dominate. Keeping on top of thoughts, 'being mindful', is one of my greatest challenges. Once again thank you for your kind thoughts.

    2. My way of dealing with things may seem excellent, but it's not always easy....or even possible.

      I have lived most of my life with chronic pain. It has made me miss out on so much too. I never lived a 'normal' life. I suppose you could say that I won't miss what I never had. So maybe it is easier for me to just look at what I have rather than what I don't have. I never went skiing. I never went mountain climbing. I never went horse obviously I don't miss them.

      But I also never got to have children due to my problems. Now that's one of those things which I don't suppose I will ever be able to really accept.....but I have had to learn to get on with life and just enjoy nieces and nephews instead.

      You know that old saying - it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. You have many memories...try to learn to enjoy them without yearning them. And you know how you can't climb the stairs to kiss your children goodnight, remember that they can come and say goodnight to you instead.

      Life in itself is a challenge. People with no health problems think it is a challenge, so obviously it's a bigger challenge for you. But just think how you have progressed over the last four years. You are probably a stronger man now, a more thoughtful man, a more caring man than you were before. For everything that was taken away, you were given other qualities to replace them.

      I'm sorry, I'll stop now. I seem to be writing a novel here :o)

    3. Liz, You are right, I guess I don't mark progress in the same way as you, but I have to admit I admire you a great deal for your ability to aproach life as you do. I just have to believe that practice will make perfect. Thanks for your advise.

  4. You are strong. Can't imagine living with such pain and deprivations. Don't know what to say. Nothing seems quite right. Take care my friend. You are admired and respected and an inspiration to others.

    1. Thou-San,
      Thank you so much for your kind comment.
      All the best


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