spinal-cord injury

second anniversary – seven deadly losses and gains

About Author

Shane is an ethicist and theologian, Honorary Associate for the Centre of Disability Research and Policy, the University of Sydney, and Assistant Director, Policy, at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation against People with Disability. Shane is proudly disabled, and an occasional blogger on


  • Ken Clifton
    October 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Shane, It was a good honest post.

    Some of life is good, some as you say sucks and then we die and hopefully do go to a much better place where no ‘suck’ tears will be shed.

    We appreciate and value still having you in our lives, you are a blessing to us and we love you heaps.


  • Shane Watson
    October 8, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Brutal honesty transforms me more than anything in this world. I treasure the moments we have shared Shane, because they have been truly life changing for me (And I don’t say that lightly, I probably would have well and truly fallen into despair by now if it wasn’t for consitent guidance and the thinking abilities that you have so entrenched). Walking down from Baulkham Hills campus to get a coffee at every break – I almost always had something to say, and your input really shaped me and it absolutely (I say this truly) shattered me when I heard about your accident. You continue to be a inspiration, your life experience and testimony overwhelming. Much love Shane. From Little Shane.

    P.s. I did write you a letter when you had your accident, which I now completely regret not sending (I think I wrote it the day after I heard about your accident, which at that moment I thought there would have been too much going on for you to hear it). P.p.s. I remember launching a rubber band (Heat of the moment thing you should have expelled me for!) at your face one time in class, you were completely transforming my Christian framework, and I didn’t know how else to express it, but the irony is … I am so thankful for everything!

  • Shane Watson
    October 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Actually, I dont think I was aiming for your head but I think your body atleast! Ha. (People might think I am malice!)

  • Paul & Marg Borig
    October 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Your comments touch our hearts afresh. Love your honesty and your seeking to come to grips with the ongoing realities that you face each day. Thank you so, so much.
    We thank God for His faithfulness through the most difficult of times and situations of life. We know He is with you and that He sustains you, even on the worst days (& we know there have been some doozies).
    We love you, and all your precious family, & never cease to uphold you all before our loving Father.
    Dad & Mum B

  • Tania Harris
    October 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Loved this Shane – your honesty and sincerity and the power of your testimony (one which we all wish you didn’t need to share!) You are a blessing. Thank you… xo

  • Clare Harrison
    October 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Shane;
    Your seven deadly losses are kind of heart wrenching; but I am glad you expressed them.
    In my twenties I read the book by Joni Eareckson written not long after breaking her neck at 17. It touched something deep within me, and I always think of it as the foundation for my life with my husband, who, like yourself, has a C4/5 spinal injury.

    Some of your words touch a deep sadness within our family; but I think that is in no way a bad thing. Who knows what those words are developing in the hearts of the people who read them, forming understanding in their futures.
    This November will be Donโ€™s 43rd year in the chair.
    I am pretty sure that you will just gradually morph into finding this bizzare sort of life perfectly comfortable.

    A life with quadriplegia is different and full of extremes. We are forced to be patient. For example today Don spent an inordinate amount of time not daring to move the chair in case he ran over his glasses. Then the chair stopped working in a doorway where no-one could get in or out to move it for him.
    From my side of things I have spent so long doing all those extra tasks that I can sometimes display the serenity of a monk when I am interrupted. It is as though there are so many tasks that those very tasks take on a quality where one is no more important than another so an interruption is merely switching movement.

    Our bad days can be very bad. High fevers, huge spasms frailty and vulnerability. Stuck in bed for longer than you ever thought possible. Somehow though; with that comes a corresponding greater pleasure in a simple day where there is wellbeing.

    We have great days, special occasions, nice dinners, grandbabies; all really that life can offer.
    There even came a day where our sex life lost its self-consciousness.
    Not that Iโ€™m never unreasonable. For example I can clean up nasty messes from my husband with pleasant equanimity, and then nearly throw up because a carer has left their spitty toothpaste all over the mirror. Meltdown.

    You get to grow in some ways and find ways around the rest.
    Peace to you and your family from ours.
    Keep writing

    • Shane Clifton
      October 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      Claire, it has taken me some time to reply to this post, my apologies. But I just want to say that your occasional commenting on my blog is always very encouraging. It is simply hard to imagine 43 years with this body but given that I am only 42 hopefully I can go somewhere near that! Your comments give me lots of hope, thank you

  • Jay McNeill
    October 10, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Shane, this is one of the most transparent reflections I have witnessed in a long time. I admire your processing and willingness to admit the obvious.

  • Kerry Sanders
    October 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Dear Shane………………

    You are so honest and open about your life ……
    In your darkest days in hospital …….. you were showing me how to live through it ..
    You are such a brilliant and articulate gentleman …. .. you leave me lost for words so I’ll steal them from Janine Shepherd…………. the gift of acceptance
    In accepting …
    I see the strenght in others and this helps me see the strenght in myself.

    I see the strenght in you and your beautiful family …….. Bless you Shane.

  • phil moore
    October 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    gusty, honest and informative…. as i had grandparents near Culburra, i was at that beach from 60’s – 70’s

  • phil moore
    October 15, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    oh yeah… happy birthday!!!! 4 days after mine ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Shane Clifton
    October 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    thank you to everyone who has responded. Always so encouraging that I just don’t know what to say! I do read and am blessed by your comments even if I seem silent.

  • Stu Donehue
    October 24, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Shane, just watched your video and had to say hang in there. You may remember my sister Angela from bomo high. Today is the one year anniversary of her passing after having an 18 month battle against a very rare and aggressive cancer. She left behind a loving husband and 3 kids under 10. What she went through no human should ever endure. An 8th good point you want to consider is the inspiration you provide to others. 9, that you are able to be there to guide your boys when they hit bumps in life’s road. 10. You will be able to enjoy the boys falling in love and starting their own family. I could go on and on. Keep your chin up mate.


    • Shane Clifton
      October 25, 2012 at 2:42 am

      I had heard about Angela Stu and you are correct, absolutely horrible and unfathomable. Appreciate the encouragement and the challenge


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