Episode #005

Loss of a front tooth: Emily Rodger




Emily: I am Emily Roger. You're listening to The Silent Why podcast, as I talk about the loss of my tooth, which is what started this connection to do this podcast, but really dives into something so much deeper.

Chris: Welcome to The Silent Why, thanks for joining us. I'm Chris and I'm here with...

Claire: Me! And today we've got a great interview for you as we continue on our mission to find 101 different types of loss.

Chris: And we're up to number... 5!

Claire: Not far to go now!

Chris: Hmm. We have the smiliest of souls with us in this episode.

Emily: Hi! I'm Emily!

Claire: Emily popped up on my LinkedIn feed a few weeks ago with a post that had connected with 1.5 million people. What she'd written underneath immediately made me reach out for her to join us on The Silent Why. In that post, she highlighted something pretty obvious.

Emily: Every 37-year-old woman's dream!

Chris: Emily's been healing physically and emotionally since 2013, when she was involved in her first nasty cycling accident. Now eight years on, she's had to face again, those injuries with the recent loss of her front tooth.

Claire: And on the way home from the hospital, her response surprised her in a way she wasn't expecting.

Emily: I put down the mirror and looked at myself and just burst out into tears, like, I cannot remember the last time I cried that hard and it really, for me, triggered, the first time that I looked at myself in the mirror following my first accident.

Chris: This chat is filled with honest, real conversation about physical trauma, PTSD, the pros and cons of a competitive nature, as well as joy and hope, and the all-too-common thing that underpins most of her experiences...

Claire: Fly-fishing.

Chris: No, loss.

Claire: Ah yes. Loss.

Chris: Episode five, take it away, Emily.

Emily: I am Emily Roger. I live in Canada from New Brunswick, currently living in Quebec. I work primarily as an executive coach, although I do take on a few different roles and other areas of work as well. I am 37 years old, 38 next week. And, you know, aside from coaching, I am just passionate about sports, athletics, outdoors, fishing, hunting. Anything really, that gets me outside, and ultimately, I am passionate about living a life of joy, of passion, of fulfilment and helping others do the same.

Chris: I think that's clear from your social media feeds, I think looking down the pictures on Instagram, you can see you love smiling, you love the great outdoors, you love cycling, and you love, you love holding fish. So presumably that's part of, one of your hobbies, which is fly fishing, where, where, or how'd you get into fly fishing and cycling and just love of the outdoors. Where did that all start?

Emily: I think it all started as a young age. I have very very clear, very vivid memories of being a young girl. I come from a family of four girls. I have three sisters and just naturally having that passion for being outdoors. I remember having, there was a little brook by my parents' house and just spending so much time down there trying to catch these little Brook Trout, and yeah, it was just captivated by, by being outside and being out in the woods. To me it was like straight out of a fairy tale movie. And for cycling that didn't enter into my life until I'm an adult, I was 27 years old when I was given my first, my first bike, and had never really competed in competitive sports at all, up until then. So that's when my cycling career kind of started and fly fishing, I got into that probably about six years ago now, and I was kind of reconnected with that passion at a time where I was really struggling with PTSD and struggling from the brain injury and as a result of my first bike accident that I had. And I was racing full time and yeah, for me, it was being by the water was a safe place, being by the water, brought back those memories of just being so joyful and full of playfulness as a child. And, that's kind of an aspect of my life that at that time was really missing. So being by the water was that place where I felt safe to connect with myself, connect with how I was really feeling, with what it was that I was really going through, and it was something that I did that was just for, so that's kind of where it started.

Chris: There couldn't be two more extremes, could there? One is all about speed, movement and the other, all about stillness and waiting, two very different activities to pursue.

Emily: Although it's interesting because like that competitive side of me that was in sport, it did come out in fishing as well. And depending on which species of fish I was fishing for, or what the situation was, it could be something that was, either, you know, very, very calming, very therapeutic to like being in Belize and trying to like catch this Permit and putting so much pressure on myself that I felt like there was like a world championship title like that I was going after. It was like the pressure that I put on myself, and in those moments, I just remember like kind of shaking my head and thinking like; Emily! Come on, like you're trying to catch a fish right now [laughs]. It certainly can be like, yeah, kind of one extreme to the other. It's trying to find that, like that balance between both, of them, that's a constant learning for me in my life, finding that balance from one extreme to the next.

Claire: I can understand that my dad fishes and does it competitively, and there is something special about getting that fish that's bigger or the biggest it's ever been caught there. And when I saw those pictures of that Giant Peacock Bass, I just thought, that's the fish, that's the fish I want to catch. You can see it. Even if you're watching all the different fish sizes on your Instagram, it's like, I want the big one, so I can see how that would, come out. I think nature and being outdoors is something a lot of people seem to really enjoy and get refreshment from, and we saw that during lockdown, a lot of people started gardening in the UK, and just trying to do things outdoors more because they said it was better for their mental health and things. What is it that you get from being outdoors that you enjoy so much?

Emily: I think, you know, the first word that comes to my mind is it's just 'connected' and feeling so deeply you know, connected and rooted on this earth. I think it, it kind of helps me see a bigger picture in things in, in getting out of that narrow outlook that I can sometimes have on life. And just being out in this wide-open expanse. You know, whether it's out in the, out, in the wilderness or out on the water, it just opens my eyes to a whole other world, and every time that I am out, whether it is cycling, whether it is fishing, whether it is just out for a hike, I'm constantly learning and I'm constantly learning lessons from nature that I can then apply to, to my life. And, you know, for me being out in nature as well, that is where it really sparks that creativity in me. And so, I can be out or I can be, you know, sitting at my desk, trying to try and to write up something and just kind of get that, that block that writer's block of, like everything just feels too overwhelming, and in those moments, I know, I just need to step outside, I need you to just hop on my bike, I need to just get out for a walk, I need to just be out there where, I get that clarity. Yeah. I get so much clarity from just being.

Chris: I mean, just to think about the cycling and this will lead into one of the reasons why we've first saw you online, but in terms of the cycling to have a love for something that's really beaten you up, physically, that's caused you sort of pain and, and you've had some quite horrific episodes through the cycling. Just summarize what those crashes were, what the accidents were, that did really have sort of an impact on your life and your riding?

Emily: In 2013, I was out riding and a woman ran a stop sign and T-boned me, and I landed just full impact on my head, and then onto my face, and was airlifted to a trauma hospital in Arizona. And I mean, here I am eight years later and still having surgeries as a result of that accident. I suffered brain injury and multiple broken bones, a lot of extensive facial damage, lost top teeth, broke my jaw. And then in 2017, I was racing in France and descending down a mountain and a vehicle got onto the race course, and we collided as I was descending at 80 plus kilometres an hour and broken bones, and that, broke my collar bone, shoulder, ribs, spent eight days in hospital in France, before being able to return to Canada and...err...yeah

Chris: How hard is it to sort of keep passionate about something that, that does beat you up?

Emily: I have had to just recently accept that passions change and that that's okay. I think the last two years I kinda stepped back from racing full-time in 2018, and I was kind of in denial of it, I think for that first year, and I would tell people, and I would tell myself, I'm going to go back, I'm going to go back and race, but I didn't want to. But I felt like I had given so much of myself to the sport. I felt like the sport had given me so much in some ways that I needed to stay in it. And really just within the last year and a half accepting that it's okay that I still love to ride, I'm still passionate about riding, but that I can find passion in other things, and that's been a real kind of area of, of growth and reflection for me.

Claire: Did you have trouble getting back on the bike after the first one? Because it's impressive that you were still doing those speeds after the first accident?

Emily: I did. I, you know, I remember four months after the accident, I, I got a bike and I was medically cleared to get back on it and, I remember going out, gosh, probably half a dozen times getting fully kitted up to go out riding and just not even being able to clip my shoes into the pedals. I was so scared all at the time, I was struggling with PTSD so bad that any noise would just completely startle me, and I remember feeling so defeated. So many times, I would just even ride to the end of my driveway and then just couldn't do it, and, and would walk my bike back up the driveway and get home, and it probably took me four weeks to gain the courage, to, to get on my bike and start riding again. And then really, you know, the bike was a tool for me to kind of disregard everything that I was going through. Mentally, physically, it was like if I was out on the bike, then people saw me as strong and therefore I felt strong, and it was a way of kind of pretending that everything else was behind me that the accident didn't even happen, that I was good to go. And as you know, better than ever, it was far from the case of what it was that I was actually going through. After the second accident, I had a much harder time getting back on the bike. And even today, and I'm not the same cyclist that I have ever been. And even though neither one of those accidents were my fault, it's still made me question, my riding ability. You know, it's a kind of, that that just kind of plays on in the back of my head. It's like, what did I do wrong? Did I, which is not the case that I, and I know that is the truth, but your mind can play tricks on you. And so, I after the second accident, I began riding four months after again, when broken bones were healed enough and I started racing two months after that. And I just was not the same person that competitiveness in me just wasn't really there anymore, that desire to win just wasn't there. And I raced three stage races back-to-back, and I raced in Arizona, and then went straight to Arkansas and then went down to New Mexico, all in the States and raced, and just remember on that final race, it was, you know, the last stage of a seven-day stage race. And I was riding up the final climb and just thinking, what am I doing? Like, is this what I really love? Do I love riding? Yes. But why am I out here pushing myself so hard? Like what am I trying to prove to the world? And yeah, it was in that moment that I thought, yeah, it's time for me to take a step back from this.

Claire: Yeah, it's interesting. You said that you were thinking, why am I doing this? Did the question, why come into it much? Was there, a why did I go through those accidents? Why me?

Emily: There was, yeah, I felt a lot of guilt over that. Especially after the first one, you know, I have a few friends then and know quite a few other people in the cycling community who had been hit by vehicles that did not survive. And I felt a lot of guilt around that. And part of that was my reason, that I did keep racing, I thought that like, you know, these people, weren't given the opportunity to continue pursuing the cycling dream. And so here I am, like, why would I quit? You know, I, I was given the gift of life. I was given that second chance, that third chance. And so, I yeah, I struggled with that a lot.

Chris: You know, part of the reason for this podcast is just been able to verbalize and share the many sort of hidden losses that we all face, and maybe don't talk about so much. Just in that, that chapter of, of drawing to an end, the sort of professional cycling, the racing, the competing, what were some of the losses or what was the loss that you felt as a result of that?

Emily: You know, part of me thinks, and knows, and feels that it was on my own terms that I decided to step back, but there's part of it that wasn't. I, after the first accident, I was able to get back on the bike and through extensive therapy and recovery and all of that kind of stuff, I was able to get to a place where I could ride, and I could ride, kind of fearlessly, out there but after the second accident, I wasn't able to regain that confidence on the bike. I wasn't able to have confidence in other people, that they were going to be you know, watchful of me while I was riding, whether it was vehicles or whatever else. And I didn't have the competence in, in myself, and so I think that a loss was that, yeah, now I don't even see it as a loss because it was, it was an opportunity, it was an opportunity, like so many, so much good has happened from it, but there are certainly moments in my life where, if I'm being totally honest, that I do feel like erm, yeah, I was kind of robbed of that. I was robbed of, of really seeing the full potential of what I could have achieved on that bike. I feel that you know, even with like two world championship level wins and racing at the professional level, and all of this stuff that there's a part of me that knows that I could have achieved so much more on that bike. But now it's like I'm able to take the skill sets that I learned on the bike, the beliefs that I was able to learn on the bike, and apply those to other aspects of my life, which is even more exciting and will be even more rewarding than any podium, any gold medal could I ever bring me.

Chris: Yeah. I can relate. Certainly, I think having a competitive spirit and I've always loved competing. But I find sometimes it can be really unhelpful because I can be my own worst enemy. So, let's say if you're recovering from something or even contemplating, what does the future look like? Sometimes, maybe your own competitiveness, you can start competing with yourself and feeling failure or success quite vividly. Did you feel or sense on this sort of roller coaster of emotions, of I'm doing really well, or doing really badly and, and beat yourself up because of that?

Emily: All the time, on training days, on racing days, everything, I was so competitive with myself. I put so much expectation on myself through pressure on myself to, to perform well. And I did, like, I was a phenomenal athlete. It's like what was on my training plan, I was doing it, and I took everything so seriously from my, from my training, to my rest, my recovery, my nutrition, and what I really did in hindsight looking back, was that training was the one thing that I had control over in my life, at a time where I felt like I had lost so much control of everything. I didn't have control over, you know, my brain injury, I didn't have control over my physical injuries, I didn't have control over all of this other stuff, but I could control the effort that I put into training, the effort that I put into racing, and so if it wasn't going well, then I would be hard on myself about it. And I was happy when I was winning. I was happy when I was doing good training sessions and my happiness was very circumstantial. Based on those things. And when those things weren't going well, I was miserable. I felt unfulfilled. I felt unworthy. I was constantly battling with my self-doubts just, you know, here, here I was 27 years old, getting into competitive sports, racing against women who had grown up their entire lives racing. They had that dream, of I always want to be a pro athlete', I didn't have a dream of that, I didn't even know like competitive cycling existed, and here I was in this world. And so yeah, when I wasn't doing well, I totally felt like I didn't belong there. I totally felt like I wasn't good enough, and I allowed myself at times to get into really dark places around that.



Claire: You must've been their worst nightmare. Just coming in, like fresh off kind of getting a bike and then just beating them and being so good at what you were doing. It must have driven them up the wall. Like who is this person where she come from? How is she so motivated?

Emily: Yeah, it did. And, and, you know, I think that part of my reason for doing well was because I was so grateful to have the opportunity to be out there. It's like at the beginning, I wasn't obsessed with winning. I didn't care. I did well because I was so happy to be out there. Like I was the person racing that was like, you know, everyone is like huffing and puffing and dying and I'm like: 'Hi, I'm Emily!' and like some of my closest, best friends I met, like during the final lap of a race, where they now joke and are like; 'Hi, I'm Emily!'. [laughs]

Claire: Brilliant! Love it.

Emily: I just didn't know what I was doing. I like, I was so naive to what was going on and sometimes, I would finish a race not having a clue than I even won, until afterwards. Like, it just wasn't even something that like at the beginning crossed my mind that it was even a possibility that something that I was chasing after. But once I got a taste of that, once I got a taste of what it felt like to win that that just took off from there and I wanted more.

Claire: Things have changed since then, because you were saying about how you would, you know, get into a dark place with the competitiveness and how your mind play tricks on you, and even from chatting to you, now we can see something shifted because there's a different approach to things. So, do you want to just talk about how we found you? Because I saw this particular post that you put on LinkedIn that had got a lot of likes, which is why I ended up on my feed because obviously we don't know each other. Do you want to just tell us what it was that you posted and what happened afterwards?

Emily: Four weeks ago, I lost my front tooth, every 37-year-old woman's dream. [laughs]. It was a, result of my accident in 2013, like I said, I had extensive facial and dental injuries and have gone through numerous surgeries since then. And about six months ago, I found out that I, my body was absorbing my own bone by own jaw bone. And as a result, it also absorbed my front tooth and some of the previous work that had been done. And so, I would have to have my front tooth extracted, have a new bone graft, and then hopefully the plan was that I was going to get an immediate dental implant. All of this was happening, and I was finding out all of this during filming for a documentary that was just filmed on me. And so, knowing my luck in life, I thought, great. I am going to, in the middle of filming, lose my front tooth, if that is going to happen to someone, it is going to happen to me. So, I was so cautious, like soft foods only, and was able to get through filming without losing my tooth. Went in for the surgery, fully confident, fully confident that I'm going to go in, this is going to be a breeze. I had done this so many times before, they're going to take out the tooth, do the bone graft, put in an implant, I am going to walk out there like nothing happened. Well, I woke up from surgery with no front tooth and initially I was like, okay I can handle this, I was in my like grounded place of, yep, Emily, you've got this under control. And my sister brought me home from the surgery and driving home in her car, I put down the mirror on the visor and looked at myself and just burst out into tears. Like, I cannot remember the last time I cried that hard. And it really, for me triggered the first time that I looked at myself in the mirror following my first accident and knowing how long it took me to recover from that, knowing how many surgeries I have gone through, the highs and lows, the physical pain, the emotional pain, the all of that kind of stuff. And yet here I was eight years later, going through it all over again. And I felt so just sorry for myself. And I felt anger like I hadn't felt in so long, like anger to the woman that hit me, angry towards anyone who runs a stop sign, anger towards anyone who drives recklessly. And I just sat in that emotion. And then I got back to my sisters and I, you know, I picked myself up, gathered my composure again and went into my sister’s, and I had two nieces who are 13 and 10, and you know, they just looked at me and started talking to me, like nothing had happened. And it was in that moment that I thought I am still, Aunt Emily, I am still the same person front tooth or not, and they weren't looking at me any differently. So why would I look at myself differently? And yeah, in that moment, that was the moment where I thought like, all right, I am just going to embrace the situation that I am in, and own it and go for it and keep showing up then.

I spent a few days, five days, I think it was kind of recovering and then went back to work. And so that morning, was scheduled for coaching calls all day, and I am not, was not, active on LinkedIn really at all. But through my professional networks, some of my clients are on there. And I thought, well, I'm just going to address the elephant in the room, that I do not have my front tooth right now. So decided to do a social media post about it and just say; hey, this is me right now. This is what I look like, and this is what I had gone through, addressing the emotion, because I think that that is real, and I don't just want people to see me as someone who just kind of carried on and is super strong and was kind of ready to go again. Cause that's kind of the image that I had tried to give people for years. Yeah, just, just speaking to the truth of what it was that I was going through. And that was it. And I did not think anything about that post. I didn't look at my LinkedIn again for over 24 hours. The next morning, I saw all of these messages on my phone from people messaging, about the LinkedIn post, I'm like, what are you talking about? I didn't even know you followed me on LinkedIn, and then I look on my phone and there's over 1.5 million views and over 2,000 comments, and I'm thinking what in the world, like never in my wildest dreams, what I have thought that me stepping out like that would have had that type of impact on people.

Claire: It's just, for me, it's the power of being vulnerable and putting yourself out there and being courageous, and then, that it's something that people just respond to so well, and I think that's what we're hoping to do through the podcast, it's what we're seeing a little bit now with feedback that when you're open about things that are hard and difficult, people respond to it because obviously everyone else has got something. And I think what I loved when I read it, because obviously it popped up and I was like, ah, who's this lady like, missing tooth at the front. And then it was the line you'd put, that you'd bawled your eyes out, which for me was like, obviously this has been really hard, but it was when you said 'I allowed myself to feel those feelings, and then I made a choice. And the choice would be to keep showing up.' And I thought that that is our podcast. That's the message we want people to hear. And so, I'm curious, for you, is how did you know that there was a choice there at that point? Because some people would just spiral down with that and not know there's a choice actually to embrace it.

Emily: I would say through past experiences, through having faced so many hardships before and knowing that when things turned around, were in those moments where I chose to turn things around, you can sit in your emotion for so long. I've done it, for weeks, months of like getting so caught up in, why me poor me, all of that kind of stuff, and coming in and out of that. But it's like, okay, yeah, feel that emotion, but how long are you gonna stay in it? You know? And, and I am like, there's so many quotes of like, be positive, be whatever, and yeah, for sure, but also feel. Like feelings are natural, feelings are normal, they're meant to be felt, that's why they're called feelings. Yeah, and I, I just, I, I do, I think it's so important to feel those, but I do think it is important to take control over your situation. There are few things that we have control over in life, but we do have the control over how we react and respond to something. And then in particular, how, how we respond to ourselves.

Chris: With the LinkedIn post, well, 1.5 million people saw it, 2,000 comments, what do you think it was about that particular post that connected with people and what was the, or one of the main themes, of the replies and the messages that you had in response?

Emily: I think the impact was relatability and was realness. We live in a world where things are so filtered, where it is like we get to pick and choose what aspects of ourselves that people see. And so, I think for me to really, to show up, and to say of like, Hey, yeah, this is what I'm going through. It showed normalcy for people and it allowed them to reflect on what it was, they were going through, in what ways in their life are they are not fully showing up. And I think that in being vulnerable, we give the space for other people to be able to do the same.

Chris: How much time did you spend without the front tooth? How many days did you have to go without?

Emily: Four weeks.

Chris: Four weeks.

Emily: Yeah. And that, to be honest, a lot of that was my choice. And you know, it was funny. I, I was a dental hygienist for eight years and how many people reached out saying, you know, your dentist can make you a retainer, you know, your dentist can like, and I'm like, yeah, I know. But I was, I really wanted to give my body the chance to heal itself. And I had so much bone reconstruction done that I didn't want the pressure of a retainer, of a fake tooth to ruin any of that. And so yeah, it was just yesterday that I started wearing a little retainer, which I don't even know if I like it, but, you know, it's interesting because as confident as I became without having a front tooth, I still had my moments of self-judgment, of low self-esteem, of trying to hide my smile. But when the, when my dentist gave me this partial retainer and I put it in my mouth and then I looked in the mirror and I just had a tear go down my face because I looked in the mirror and it was like; Oh, Emily, there you are.

Claire: Were you surprised when you saw yourself in the mirror and you reacted like that? Because you've been through so much, I guess maybe mentally you might have thought, oh, loss of a tooth, well, that's quite small compared to what I've been through. Did it shock you that your reaction?

Emily: It did. Yeah, it did. It, it shocked me how much, [pause] I think, I think out of anything, the emotion was of you know, and this kind of, this obviously ties into the podcast because it's that feeling of loss. And when, when you get something back that you have lost, something that you feel is so much a part of you, like, yeah, a tooth is a tooth, is a huge deal? Like, no. But it's part of you and, and it's almost like sometimes you don't realize, how important something like that is even though, like I say that, and I kind of like laugh to myself, because I'm like Emily, it's a tooth, but it does, it's like how you, how you see yourself and, thinking of, for other people Yeah, like just how important you know, things are like that. And how many people do not ever have the opportunity to get that new, tooth, to get that reconstruction work done. And really just feeling a lot of gratitude that I am in a position where I can.

Claire: Did you ever consider not having it done?

Emily: No. [laughs]. I'll be honest with that one. [laughs]

Claire: Not feeling brave enough for that step? [laughs]

Emily: That LinkedIn post was great an' all, but...!

Claire: You don't want your profile picture being that one.

Emily: Well, and it's like, you know, it's one of those things too, where functional, it's hard to not have a front tooth, like figuring out like tongue positioning, and speaking, and like chewing, and just like, like how your jaw and your teeth fit together. Like, yeah, it's like just a tooth, but it does functionally really throw you off?

Claire: It's a big part of a smile, isn't it? I'd imagine when you didn't have it, you'd smile and think, oh gosh, I look different or it's just, you're very conscious of it with greeting new people.

Emily: Yeah. Well, and after my first accident, when I lost, I mean, I, my front teeth were completely knocked out and my jaw was wired, and I mean, it was a mess for quite a while. And how many people, immediate reaction, despite the fact that I had a brain injury, despite the fact that there were much more significant injuries, and people would be like, 'Oh Emily, your smile, your teeth of all things!'. And so, in my mind, it became so important to me to get that fixed because that's what other people saw when they saw me was, was my smile, was my teeth. And it almost kind of minimized the other more important injuries that I had.

Claire: That's interesting and so indicative of our society as well, I think, you have those hidden things going on. Like, you know, you've got a brain injury, that should be the main thing that that's the main focus of what people should want you to heal from and get better, but we are very focused on the physical appearance of what you've lost, rather than actually what might be going on internally that needs addressing and, you know, same with mental health and illnesses and things, and when they're hidden, you don't necessarily address them in the same way that you do when it's a physical thing.

Emily: Yeah, someone said to me the other day he said, 'Oh, your tooth's fixed. You're all good. You're back to normal. Everything's great. Everything's...' And I'm thinking to myself, no this is a flipper, this is fake tooth, but, but that just goes to show people's perception and looking back on my brain injury, I think that I had had, I had such a hard time accepting it, because physically I couldn't see it. It wasn't like a broken arm that was bruised, that was stitched that, you know, like, okay, this is injured, you see that it's injured, other people see that it's injured. It's something that you just feel, and you can't make sense of it, and it's so hard to diagnose or to know like, okay, four to six weeks, and this is going to be healed, right? Like, as, as opposed to, if it was a broken arm, that it yeah, it really does make it so much more difficult when you cannot physically see the injuries.

Claire: What do you think you've learned from this latest episode with the tooth that would help you going forward with anything else that might come at you in the future?

Emily: I think that it just continues to build on everything that I have always or have already gone through and knowing that you know, none of us are entitled to an easy life. There are always going to be trials and tribulations, but that we do have the choice as to how we are going to handle them. And every time I go through something, it shows me how, how strong I am, how capable I am. And resilient, I am, you know, and, and that's not to say that I feel that way all the time, because I definitely don't, but at the end of the day, I know that I can pick myself back up again and, and move forward.

Chris: Has there been things said or done by friends, colleagues, family members, that have been really helpful that have helped you to process and to come to terms with and accept? I know you mentioned your young nieces, and the acceptance from them was actually really sort of, it almost reset your thinking, but have there been particular things that others have done for you that have really helped?

Emily: Yeah, for me, for my family, like, I feel so blessed that I am surrounded by people who do speak openly about what it is that we are going through, and to have that support system, to be there, to have someone to call if I just want to cry, but knowing that like, all right, they're also going to hold me capable; Emily, you can get through this. And you know, and ultimately for my, for my support system is my faith and my faith in God, and my faith in knowing that I can do all things through He who strengthens me. And that is my, kind of, my constant reminder that I have all the support that I, that I need. And more.

Claire: If there was someone listening who was going through a similar thing right now, maybe they sat in the hospital and they've lost something, you know, just physically, is there anything that you'd want to specifically say to them to encourage them for that part of the journey?

Emily: Yeah, I would say feel the feelings. I think that one of the biggest mistakes that I made after my first accident, wasn't not allowing myself to feel what it was that I was actually going through. And it took me many years to then be able to tap into those feelings. And I think that my recovery you know, could have been smoother if I just allowed myself to feel every single feeling that I was feeling, and knowing that it is normal, it's normal to feel sad when you're hurt, when you lose something, when life changes. And to go easy on yourself, and make the choice to turn your life around or see something in a brighter light. But knowing that it is much easier said than done. And to just little steps at a time, that the tiniest step forwards ultimately will, kind of, lead to that that even greater, that even bigger recovery and growth in life.

Chris: We have an important question that we ask our guests. That question is, what's your Herman?

Emily: I love that. And I listened to the, to the short little episode explaining about what the, what the Herman was. And, you know, the first thing that came to my mind was that my Herman is God. He's always with me, something that is always growing, something that I continually nurture and something that yeah, it's, it's always growing that relationship is always growing and it's something that I can share with everyone. And that is accessible to, to anyone. Yeah. That's what came to my mind first thing.

Claire: Thank you so much, Emily, for your honesty, laughter, smile (with and without the tooth) and willingness to be real, to help others face their challenges and imperfections.

Chris: For more about Emily and to see some of those amazing pictures on Instagram, you can follow her @erodger, and that's Rodger with a D, or visit emilysrodger.com.

Claire: And everyone needs to check out her Giant Peacock Bass photo, it's like a fish straight out of a Pixar film.

Chris: We'll also put a link to her original social media post in the show notes.

Claire: And thank you for listening to The Silent Why, please join us again next week for loss number six and on Friday we're releasing our audio, My Why blog episode.

Chris: To keep up to date with all we're doing, visit thesilentwhy.com or follow us on social media @thesilentwhypod.

Claire: And today we're finishing with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, we've actually got this quote on our website under our own story about accepting our child's journey, and I first heard it used by Bernie brown on her film talk The Call to Courage, on Netflix.

Chris: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs,who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”