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Hi, I'm Brenda Lloyd...

and I’m finally becoming the person I wish I had always been.

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After flailing around somewhat aimlessly for years, I think I’m finally beginning to understand the world again. I am also, maybe more importantly, beginning to grasp how my extremely wonky brain perceives it.

You see, for years-in the time I tend to think and speak of simply as “before”- I don’t think I ever really understood things in the way they are meant to be understood. Oh sure, I was smart. Very much so. Even now, with a quarter of my brain beaten bloody, irradiated, and scarred, I test superior on the IQ scale.

Regardless, and most unfortunately, I don’t always come across as brilliant. With the filter between my brain and the rest of me all but fried, I can be startling blunt and a tad anti-social. I forget easily, stutter and stammer for lost words on occasion, and don’t always connect all of life’s dots. And my academic smarts, unfortunately, didn’t always - don’t always - translate well into useful hands-on skills.

I’m still working on forgiving myself for past failures; for not being as effective in certain roles and relationships as I should have been. And I give thanks every single moment - because I worked in the military and nursing (jobs in which other lives depended on my skills) - that I never unintentionally hurt anyone.

To this day, it haunts me that I could have…

I am no longer a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. I’m no longer a Registered Nurse. I lost the ability to be either of those things after a series of strokes, and the diagnosis of inoperable cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM), knocked me on my ass and left me feeling like a grenade.

I lost other things, as well, of course.

A husband. The ability to fully enjoy a good book. My hair (that grew back!). The energy to do so many of the things I wanted to do with my bright lights…my two sons. My confidence… and just a little bit of my sense of self-worth. What I did NOT lose, however and thankfully, was my foundation: my boys, my Mom, my sister and her family, a few of those perpetual friends that just always and naturally seem to stick.

I did NOT lose my desire to help... and I did NOT lose my moxie.

So I’m starting over. After sixteen years - after a few false starts, more than a few stupid ideas, a few years of self-imposed exile in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, a lot of pain, and a lot of time spent learning how to rein in and operate a brain that seemed, at times, to be breaking and flying apart at the seams - I’m starting over.

I am re-inventing my life with a few new tools; things that I actually managed to find in the rubble of before…an unrelenting gratitude that I am still alive, a rather dark sense of humour, a profound pragmatism, and a most unexpected talent for writing. Not only is this personal website meant to act as a portfolio of the written work I have already done, it will also, I hope, act as a hub for my ongoing blogs and future projects.

I can only hope that what I have to offer will, in some way, help others who are either actively in the process of rebuilding a life after loss, or who have lost so many things, are so bogged down and over whelmed, that they just simply can’t understand that it can even be done.

I know it can be done. It’s hard and it takes time, and it takes knowledge, and it takes a lot of self-care…but it can be done. It doesn’t hurt to accept a little bit of help along the way. Nor does it hurt to realize that you’re not all alone with your struggles and doubts.

I guess that’s where I want to step in and step up. So, if you find yourself at a crossroads or a new beginning, please take a look around. Read, leave a message, vent, ask for resources, chat away…

I look forward to getting to know you.

Brenda