“Your response to life’s turbulences determines how well you progress positively along the continuum of life.”
Having undergone different types of personal trauma including sudden and devastating violence, I understand what it feels like to lose a sense of self. I’ve had to rebuild my face, literally- and redefine myself over the last seven years.
A former Chemistry teacher at public secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago, I survived being shot in the face, chest and shoulder during an attempted robbery in 2013, twenty days after my 47th birthday. I remained in intensive care for several days. My chin had been blown away, what was left of my lower jaw was fractured from ear to ear, my tongue was macerated and threatened to slip into my throat and I sustained less severe wounds to my chest and shoulder. It was three weeks before I was able to speak again and nine months before I could eat solid foods once more.
Unable to return to work for over a year, I lost my job. I sold my car and the money from its sale was pooled with my life savings to be used for reconstructive and plastic surgery. After slipping into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I sought professional help and eventually began a journey marked by determination and resilience.
Now retired on medical grounds, I am an author, still an educator, an inspirational speaker and an advocate against gun violence. My previous books were centred on my injury and recuperation. The first one was ‘From Lion to Lamb, A Spiritual Journey’ followed by a prayer book, ‘Gently Powerful Personal Prayers for Collective Grace’ and the third, ‘Bounce Back Better, 10 (+1) Key Steps for Building Resilience’.
During my recovery, I sought warmth, security and comfort through faith, books and true stories of overcoming. These elements provided the impetus for me to conceptualise a new series of true, inspirational stories in an anthology called ‘Hot Cocoa on a Rainy Day, 10 (+1) Stories to Warm Your Heart’. The intention was to provide inspiration, to turn hurt into hope and to give other authors a platform to share their stories and help others.
Having progressed positively through my own trials, I understood that lessons learnt from reading about the trials of others could be transferrable, even if the challenge was different. With that in mind, I engaged nine other authors to share their stories in the book so that readers are taken through the progress of, not 1, but 10 (+1) individuals and so are inspired and motivated into taking action to progress through their own trials.
My story has touched many lives, inspiring others by my healing and attitude after the injury. This led to my nomination as one of BBC’s Outlook Inspirations in 2018 and being named as an Amway Hero for Determination in 2019.