Featured Image: A black and white photograph of the post writer, Mark Koning. He is wearing a black t-shirt. The image is blurred and his hand is holding his chin. He looks thoughtful.


There was a time when I was six years of age (I don’t really recall a whole lot of detail), I had gotten out of bed late in the evening feeling unwell and going to find my parents. There was vomit, a seizure and then a mad rush on my parent’s part to get me to the hospital.

Shortly after I was admitted, after a few attempts by doctors trying to figure out what was happening, I fell into a deep sleep. A time when a two-week coma drained my parents while they sat by my side.

Once I awoke tests continued, and bed rest slowly turned into strenuous rehabilitation. I remember all of those times when the doctor came into my hospital room to check on my strength by asking me to squeeze his hand. The road to recovery I was put on (with my parents cheering in the background) was long and tedious.

I remember the time when I first came home, the small little surprise party of family and close friends, fun but tiring.

The times when building Lego or colouring inside lines presented difficulties.

The time when I went back to school. Restarting and relearning.

The many times frustration, anger over little things, and fatigue, set in.

There was a time when I was taken out of grade six, put back a grade, and then put into what I recall them saying was a ‘special class’. It was a relief to be in a room with fewer people and to be given more time.

There were many times in high school when I felt lost, confused, and alone. I failed subjects and fell behind often. I wasn’t getting any help, I did not know how to ask for it, and I felt like I wasn’t being told, I don’t know … something.

I graduated high school, but almost lost out on college. With hard work and some advocacy from my mom, I did eventually manage to get my diploma. Finding employment after I got out and into the ‘real’ world. That, that time did not go so well.

Then there was a time when I decided to take matters into my own hands, to explore and figure out what this unknown something was that I felt I had been carrying around with me since I had been sick. A social worker, counsellor, psychometrist, neuroppsychologist, and bam…. I was diagnosed. A brain injury, Encephalitis, topped with a learning disability. I wasn’t sure if this was a time to breathe a sigh of relief, finally knowing, or a time to cry, because of knowing.

A little of both.

Years have come and gone; and it feels as though time has whizzed by. So many up and downs, so many accomplishments, and also failures. Happiness, sadness, numbness, love. Family, friends, relationships. It can all be so great but still make my head spin. I don’t understand it all. I often feel stuck and unsure. But from all of it, I learned this, all of those times past and remembered, they give me strength and multiply my times to come. I cherish and look forward to that.

Challenges have been faced and overcome, but may still be on their way.

Time is tricky.

There were times when things were great. There are great times now. There is greatness ahead.

All of this time, it counts.

Mark’s passion to lend a helping hand, offer advice and give back has developed into a moral and social responsibility with the goal of sharing, inspiring and growing – for others as well as himself. His experience as a survivor, caregiver, mentor and writer has led to his credibility as an ABI Advocate and author of his life’s story, Challenging Barriers & Walking the Path. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Koning or go to www.markkoning.com