Life After Loss – Donna Weston

Workplace incidents are more than just statistics or distant tragedies you hear about on the news, they’re a real risk to everyday work life and should be treated as such. These workplace incidents harm far more than those directly affected – it’s felt among their friends, family, community and colleagues.

Life after loss isn’t as simple as ‘moving on’, it’s about the eventual gathering of strength to accept, find peace, and move forward. For this article, we wanted to highlight someone who’s experienced this loss from a rather unique perspective – Donna Weston.

Donna Weston

The perspective of Donna’s loss is unlike many. While she did not experience the death of a loved one, her world turned upside down on April 19th, 2013, when her husband Michael collapsed on his way to work and the oxygen supply to his brain was blocked. Michael is now challenged with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and shares his story across Australia as a CNB Safe Speaker.

The Day It Happened

After receiving the knock on the door and learning that Michael had collapsed outside, Donna became overwhelmed with shock and adrenaline. Emotions running wild, Donna tried to remain positive with Michael, all while trying to understand what had actually happened to him. Aware he had a lengthy and stressful lead up to the incident, she had no idea what kind of impact it would have on his entire being.

Adjusting To Reality

People have this notion that you automatically bounce back to normal after the hospital, especially if it’s something nobody can see like an Acquired Brain Injury. This was far from the truth for Michael.

Once Michael came home, Donna was trying to juggle her career, keep their kids’ routine as normal as possible, and support Michael as he started rehabilitation. Eventually realising it was unrealistic to do everything, Donna resigned from her role as a HSE Officer to relocate to Perth to support Michael alongside specialists and be there for her kids. The following two years Donna became Michael’s full-time carer.

Nearly everything in their lives had to change, from the simple day-to-day routines to losing everything they had worked hard to accumulate over 20 years, including their family home. While they still have a lot of laughs and joy along the way, the ramifications of Michael’s ABI has changed the trajectory of their lives.

Sharing His Story

Today, Michael shares his story Australia wide in the hope he can prevent others from enduring what he and his family experienced. His presentation ‘Head above Water’ covers various themes on physical and mental health, family, community and leadership. To learn more about Michael’s presentation ‘Head Above Water’, click here.

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