Mark is a 'Fair Dinkum Aussie', dedicated to his family and loyal to his local footy club. "We don't want to be a bother, I doubt anyone is interested in us", Mark says simply looking at his wife for confirmation. "Or do we want to talk?" He clasps his hands together and as she nods deliberately, visibly relaxing - confident in himself once more. He's fairly young, health conscious and extremely fit - but due to a horrific accident years ago, has a significant brain injury. Oh sure he looks 'normal' and you may not even be able to tell if you ever spoke to him, but the fact remains the same.
"I have always been a hands on man; I have always worked; I have always provided for my family".
While at work one day, this hardworking father and husband slipped, falling off of a ladder and knocking his head on a concrete beam below. Disoriented and sore, he shook it off and continued to work, not knowing that he had a brain bleed. Soon after, he lost consciousness and woke weeks later. His life had changed, his family traumatised. "That's when life hit pause for Mark, it's been hard to get past that day", his wife cried "and that is also when I took the brunt of everything to come".
"He has no idea about consequences; no concept of time; struggles with emotional outbursts and his memory is shot, but that's not the hardest part - the most difficult thing is that none of it is his fault".
The couple spoke of the years that have passed since the accident and both maintain that life is very different from before, each tearing up remembering their own personal accounts of grief and loss. Recounting the trauma of hospital visits, the inevitable loss of friends and acquaintances, as well as the difficulties surrounding all of the medical issues that still remain. However, through all of the trials, their connection still remained. Mark affirming that he's a better husband now, rather than before.
"How can I not continue to support this man? He is relentless. He tries. Every. Single. Day. Whether it's to keep his emotions in check; whether it's to continue all of the years of physical and cognitive therapy; he has an immeasurable amount of hope. Our amazing days, far outweigh the sad".
As an outsider looking in, it is apparent that their years of love and dedication have kept them going. They check in on each other, reach for their spouses hands when the other was getting emotional - all the sadness tinged with sneaky smiles and quick kisses. The wedded pair spoke of each other's strengths and positive attributes, an unrestrained conversation of love for each other and their daughter - an outpouring of compliments the other hadn't heard before. Their story was filled with historical sadness and resolute hope. What started as an interview about the difficulty surrounding brain injury, turned into a lesson of what some would call c'est la vie.
"It is what it is. Life was different before and now it's this. Difficult but grand. All we can do is put one foot in front of the other and hope it takes us to where we want to go".