For a time, it was touch and go.
Those gathered around her bedside had been told to prepare themselves for the worst.
Funeral arrangements had been discussed, the fear that she might never recover consciousness.
Her name, Elizabeth Hovde, her dreadful injuries suffered during a skiing accident in Oregon a little over 12 months ago.
The good news, that Elizabeth did wake up from the coma.
The best bit, that as well as regaining consciousness, she also acquired the most profound insight into the workings of the world.
Her discovery, one that we’ve been underlining here for quite some time: that we are all connected.
So much has this enlightenment changed her life, that Elizabeth Hovde has come to consider her appalling accident to have been a blessing in disguise.
She spent five-and-a-half weeks in the hospital, fighting for survival, the brain injury, sustained during a disastrous descent on Mount Hood, so severe that the doctors didn’t rate her chances.
That Elizabeth is a fighter is clear, because she did go home to her two children.
That she left the hospital a different person is also beyond question.
Two weeks ago, to mark the one-year anniversary of her accident, Elizabeth returned to Mount Hood (or ‘the scene of the crime’, as she calls it).
The experience, a cathartic one.
One that made her think about Tom Shadyac, the movie director who, like Elizabeth himself, suffered a severe brain injury, this time in a cycling accident in Virginia in 2007.
You might recall that we wrote about Tom right here, on our blog, last summer.
His movie, I am, struck a certain chord in our studio.
Like us, Elizabeth Hovde has found its underlying message to be one she can relate to.
To quote a respected writer who shared her experiences in a touching column for The Oregonian last week, ‘You might shake your head when I say this, but I see the brain injury and coma as a gift. I was shown how loving, capable and deep my support group was. It became crystal clear how interconnected we are: friends, family, lifesavers and the people saved, even columnists and readers.
‘I definitely learned what Tom Shadyac is talking about in I am. Since (his accident) he has devoted his time and movie-making talent to asking, ‘What’s wrong with our world?’ and ‘What can we do about it?’. The bottom line is that too many of us are focused on the wrong things: money, self and getting ‘ahead’. Our interconnectedness, empathy and compassion are what make us special and what can tackle world problems … Science backs up the idea that we are all intricately connected and that individual actions can change the course of things that seem insurmountable, even war and hunger … We individuals are created to be interconnected and care for each other.’
Inspirational stuff, that’s for certain, the kind of thing that moves us here in our studio, the qualities that underpin our efforts and motivate us to make more OMs.
Elizabeth believes that her enlightenment is down to the terrible injuries she suffered, that she realized life’s true priorities and gained a fresh perspective as a result of her brain becoming ‘all shifted around’.
It is perhaps the case, but here in Saunderstown, we’re convinced that great life changes can also be made without such dreadful occurrences. It just requires a little time and a lot of thought.
It also takes the things that Elizabeth Hovde has identified: Empathy, compassion and care . . . .
. . . . much love, too, and greater understanding.
Think about it, for life is better lived under such conditions.
Elizabeth Hovde knows it and so do we.