Image Description: A watercolour print of various pastel colours in circular patterns including pink, yellow, orange and blue

May 25 2013, marked the end of the person I thought I was for 48 years. My new self was in the waiting room ready to emerge. Every year on that date, I look back in time to an event that changed my life dramatically.

I was not resentful, angry nor desperate at the thought of the challenges which lay ahead of me. On the contrary, I was grateful for the opportunity to have the chance to assess what I wanted, to figure out who I was, and what were to be the guiding principles that would influence me to keep going int his transitional time. My tragic cycling accident turned out to be a gift.

It was a tragic accident that do not remember, going downhill around 40 km. Not remembering I think has helped me have this outlook and enabled my 360 degrees change. A few hours after my fall, when I was standing on my two feet with no broken bones – only bruises and some serious impact on my brain, my neck, my lower back as well as the left side of my body – I knew I had been saved for something greater that I can ever imagine.

Since then I have accumulated a few pebbles of wisdom and self-discovery. Over the last eight years, I have met amazing people who were by my side when I was in physical and emotional pain, my cognitive abilities were still impaired. I discovered resilience, strength, determination, patience, hope, trust and I have now a more positive outlook on life.

I opened my mind to new approaches. I tried many various ways of changes and I continue to heal and learn about the wonderful resources I have inside of me. Some of the treatments that helped me to heal were: chiropractic techniques, cranio-sacral massages, osteopathy, psycho therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, neuro vision therapy and somatic experiencing therapy.

Yoga, meditation as well as forest bathing offered me alternative resources and nourishment. Journaling and art exploration were therapeutic tools I used over the years. Some of my exploration was solo and at other moments over the last few years I sought further guidance through workshops and classes.

The inner gifts that emerged post- concussion surprised me. Beauty was always important to me however since this life altering event something more magical happened. Beauty is everywhere, I notice the smallest things, I am mesmerized by the clouds, I am in awe of nature and I am becoming a connoisseur now noticing and appreciating various forms of beauty.

Writing became an act of liberation, a way of letting go of the overflow of emotional disturbances that enveloped me for many years. Expressing my feelings, wants and desires were all tangled with fears, sadness and disappointment so writing them in my personal journal became a saviour. A few years into my healing journey I started a blog that only a few people read.

Since 2017, I believe, I have published over 1600+ posts on Instagram where I shared my journey as a Traumatic Brain Injury Champion and the ebb and flow of my life. I don’t have a crystal ball to predict what is coming in my future but I know that all of the experiences, events and people I will meet are part of a synchronized plan orchestrated by something bigger than me.

Embracing the unknown is part of the journey; letting go of my internal fear to welcome wonderful possibilities is something I am embracing a little more every day.

There are so many things – small moments and big events – that I am grateful for in my life. I invite you to take a moment to make a brief list of what you are grateful for in your life. You don’t need to wait for a cataclysm to shake you. You can do it regularly and notice the way it changes your life one day at a time.

Who are you grateful to be sharing your life with? What are you most grateful about now? Share your joy, your love, your beauty, your passion, your curiosity and your smile with the world.

With love and tenderness,

France Theriault

You can follow France on Instagram at @Standingbyyourside where she shares inspirational stories, sharing insights of living a beautiful and meaningful life eight years after having a Traumatic Brain Injury from a cycling accident.

France will be part of our Virtual Art Show launching on June 1st!

Check her out and the other great Expressive Artists starting June 1st at: