Tuesday, 15 November 2005

The will to live

Reading Gill Hicks' memories of the 7 July London bombings I am struck by her intense desire to survive. Both her legs were blown off and in the end she lost 75% of her blood. She should have died but she didn't.

Reading her account is moving. She describes her feelings and the extreme situation she was in. Voices in her head were lulling her to close her eyes and sleep as that would be so much easier but other voices in her head told her that if she did that she would die. Something inside her knew that she had to stay awake and keep her eyes open for when the rescuers finally came.

And then recently she and some of her rescuers met up again and that is poignant to read.

People around her were killed. Reading her story makes me wonder how she was able to keep going in her mind and also gives me hope that despite terrible physical trauma one can survive. What an incredible will to live.

That is not to say that others around her who were at first alive did not have sufficient will to live. And I don't think she has to do or achieve anything apart from be happy just because she did live. I sense a touch of survivor guilt from her. Hers is a wonderful and incredible story and I hope she has many happy years ahead.

Original Comments:

Universal Soldier said...

A friend of mine was recently badly wounded in Iraq - someone else in the vehicle died. I've yet to go and meet him - he's still not up to visitors. But all the reports we get about how he is getting on say the same things. It's amazing what a positive mental attitude can achieve.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 6:10:00 PM

Gary said...

"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid."
Franklin P. Jones

A very brave lady.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 9:48:00 PM

Cheryl said...


Honestly stuck for any more words than that. Flip.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 10:21:00 PM

Jo said...

Yes it's just so hard to find words isn't it? I think experiences like this lie beyond our conscious ability to comprehend, until of course they happen to us. Maybe that's a limitation of our little minds, or a safety mechanism that stops us even begin to try and imagine the pain, the trauma, the shock until we have absolutely no choice. All those poor people who lost their lives or who were terribly injured by these poor sick embittered bombers would the day before have lined up with all the rest of us to voice their incomprehension at this kind of thing, I dare say.

Then of course it happened to them , though they could never have dreamed it would -as we could never dream that it will happen to us. And having happened, this terrible line is drawn between those who cannot imagine such a thing, and those who no longer need to try.

My heart goes out to Gill. And to all the others who are touched by such barbarism - in London, Madrid, Baghdad (where unreported carnage and stories every bit as bad as Gill's or much worse are literaly every day events), Kabul, Bali...wherever...


Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:24:00 AM

Anji said...

Like you said, an incredible story

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:41:00 PM

Ally said...

She sounds an extraordinary woman.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:50:00 PM

doris said...

Ally I agree and disagree with you! :-) She is extraordinary for what she has survived through but otherwise I am of the opinion that she is just like any one of us and any of us could have that capacity to survive. (I'm very glad not to be tested in quite that way.)

Anji and Cheryl Indeed. Like Cheryl says, words just can not do it justice.

Jo Hi! You are back :-) Tis true, these are the experiences of a white western woman fortunate to have the support we have here. Though she had to wait for help and wondered if it would ever come, it did. But maybe too late for some of the others. How terrible to think what it is must be like for places where they don't have the same rescue infrastructure or aftercare support.

Gary Interesting quote. Part of me wants mega badges and medals and acknowledgement to say I was brave at whatever, but the other part quite agrees with the quote.

Universal Soldier It just goes to show how strong we can be and that strength lays in the mind and not necessarily the body.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 6:00:00 PM

Minerva said...

That was an incredibly powerful story and her passion and commitment to living come over so strongly.

I am in awe,


Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:42:00 PM

Cheryl said...

I missed the program!
It was on last night.

Dang, darn, dash, grrr. Was it as wonderful as the article?

Thursday, November 17, 2005 10:41:00 AM

doris said...

The program left me in tears!

It ended with the two policeman meeting with Gill. Few words, no sentimentality, just hugs but powerful. She was standing on her prosthetic legs.

Only fractions of her story were told so I was glad to have read it first. And the programme was not about her but a whole raft of the rescuers. Gill's story was a thread that started part way through and was interwoven.

What got me was the overall message. One could be left feeling quite negative and what was the point of anything in life but instead it was rather inspiring and positive to make the most of every moment.

If you ever get the chance to watch a repeat it is worth it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 12:15:00 PM

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