It has been a long time since I sat down and really wrote. I mean, I write everyday…I write news stories and class notes. I write emails and tweets and Facebook posts. I write texts. Yet today I was inspired, I wanted to write.
Today I met someone who is extraordinary and inspiring. Today I met someone who confirms that this, this ridiculous process of journalism and reporting and writing and erasing and writing again, is what I want to do.
Not because I like to see my name in print or because I want to uncover scandals and tell the public what to think, but because I am so inspired by things around me. I am so fascinated and enthralled with this world and all of its people, that sometimes the only way I can deal with those overwhelming feelings is to write about it, like opening a vein.
Today I met Ed Woodward. Ed is 37 years old. He is a father, a veteran, a student and a twin brother. After years as a fighter pilot in the Air Force, Ed suffered a traumatic brain injury and was forced to retire. His career plans were over. Ed decided to return to school, specifically to pursue medicine and attend med school, to fulfill his brother’s dream – because Ed’s twin brother was not able to do so. He was killed over a decade ago, by a drunk driver, before he could finish school.
Anyone of my old friends knows this hits me hard. When I hear about drunk driving, a part of me cringes. A part of me closes my eyes and hopes that the story ends with a safe drive home and a lesson learned, not with the other, more awful, consequence. Yet oftentimes it ends a different way.
With a med student killed. With a brother killed. With a generation destroyed. With a family broken-hearted.
The more I grow, the older I get, I’ve realized something. Stories of tragedy and resilience are not unique. Yes, some are dealt a harsher card, but everyone has something – a brother killed by a drunk driver, a wedding rushed because of a dying father, a twenty one year old shouldering his mother’s casket.
People identify with these stories of loss, because there is someone to tell it. Despite the grief and the sorrow that follows loss or pain or failure, people forge ahead and when someone does it as gracefully and as positively as Ed Woodward, you can only watch and root for their success.