Lethan Candlish: Introduction

Lethan Candlish Part One

Lethan Candlish

Lethan Candlish speaks about the common elements of his and others’ stories of TBI.

Recently we began to revisit the TBI Voices project that we started many years ago. Our first story related to Kevin, who was injured with a crowbar at a festival and experienced trouble with his marriage. This next story is about Lethan Candlish. His story starts with his performance of “Who Am I Again? a verbal collage of stories after TBI. He not only tells his own story, but also weaves in the stories of Larry, Sarah, and Tony. These are some of the people he met while staying at the Crumley House, a brain injury rehabilitation center.

Lethan Candlish in his own way inspired the TBI Voices project with his storytelling in “Who Am I Again?” In this retelling, we will weave in elements of this talk and his interview. We touch on a wide variety of issues, such as the accident, him before the accident, relearning to walk, medications, mood, and self-actualization. Lethan also writes a blog about his experience one may view here.

Lethan’s story is representative of many survivors’ stories of TBI. He talks about common themes that many people deal with, such as relearning to do things he knows he should know how to do. Some of the themes he began to see were acceptance and gratitude. “Some common themes I began to find were – I hesitate to say of acceptance – but a recognition that this incident has made us who we are,” Lethan said. “I also began to see almost a gratitude for the accident. Not saying that we’re glad that it happened but that we’ve learned a lot of things that we wouldn’t have learned otherwise.”

He also says that he realizes that his story is representative of other people’s stories. At first, he wanted to tell his own story. As he began, he started meeting more people with brain injury. “One of the things I’ve learned a lot through storytelling is that it’s all the same story just different details thrown in,” Lethan said. “I began to recognize that it wasn’t really my story – that it was a story that we all shared and that helped me realize the common themes in so many stories.”

This concept of not regretting the injury rings true with Lethan’s character, Larry. Lethan recounts this in “Who Am I Again?” He told Lethan that if he could have any wish, he would not wish that his accident didn’t happen. He told Lethan he wasn’t glad it occurred, but he wouldn’t have met the same people or have the same experiences without his accident.

The sense of community that builds around a brain injured patient is an important concept. This includes the patients, their families and their caregivers. Because of these injuries, people formed lifelong bonds. This is one positive element of having a terrible brain injury. See our next post to learn about Lethan’s accident.


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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