From pain to purpose
At 23, Jason Minors was riding his bike when he impulsively hit the throttle.
It’s a decision he will always regret.
Before he knew it, he was flat on a sidewalk, his back broken. Doctors told him he would never walk again.
Two years ago, determined to have something positive come out of the tragedy, he put pen to paper and started writing his story.
It’s the 34-year-old’s hope that, at the very least, Life Changes will encourage others to drive slower.
“I have wished so many times since then that I’d just turned into the gate,” said Mr Minors, who was on his way home from church when he got sidetracked by two bikes that overtook him on the inside lane. “I just wasn’t thinking. I threw caution to the wind and this is what happened. If I turned, my life would have progressed normally.
“I don’t really know why, but I decided to chase them. I think I just wanted to see how fast my bike could go.”
He remembers everything about the accident.
“I flew with my eyes closed,” he said. “All I felt was a big smack when my back hit the railing and then I ended up back on the sidewalk. Right then I said, ‘Oh man, I can’t feel my legs. I’m paralysed.’”
Specialists at Massachusetts’ Lahey Clinic put six rods in his spine. He was then transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Centre where, instead of participating in therapy, he just lay in his bed.
“The therapists decided they didn’t want to work with me if I didn’t want to work with them; I don’t blame them for that,” he said. “I said in my book, some might say I was depressed, but I didn’t realise I was.”
He did, however, contemplate throwing himself off the hospital balcony.
“I thought I could wrench the rail up and wheel myself over,” he said. “It was like I had a little devil on my shoulder giving me all these bad ideas.
“I thought I’d just be a burden to my family. I thought it was better to be like the breeze — here and then gone.”
For weeks he cried himself to sleep at night.
“Then one morning, I woke up and all the anger and hatred and bad feelings were gone,” he said. “I woke up smiling. I have no idea what led to the change. All I can say was that it was gone.”
He returned to Bermuda unsure what he should do.
He was wheelchair-bound. Chronic health issues such as bed sores and infections made it difficult to hold down a job.
“In 2014, I found a job doing scanning work at TCD,” he said. “After five weeks, I went into [King Edward VII Memorial Hospital] because I had a bed sore that wouldn’t heal. I was in the hospital for two years.”
His friends and family all had career advice for the former gas station employee, but it was a suggestion by a friend at church that piqued his interest: why not write a book?
He was initially sceptical.
“[I’d] never written anything in my life,” he said. “Maybe I wrote in English class in school, but that was it.”
The friend insisted he could do it with “a pen, some paper and a quiet place” promising that once he wrote the first sentence, the rest would follow.
“Last year, on January 16, the day before my birthday, I wrote one sentence and it was just like my friend said. More sentences followed. After two weeks I’d written 170 pages.”
He struggled to find a publisher until church friend Claudette Cann weighed in.
“She read the book over and helped me format it and proof it,” said Mr Minors. “I had written it all out, line by line, with no formatting.
“Ms Cann gave me ideas on which self-publishers to call. I am so grateful for her help.”
He will never forget the day he got a call from Xlibris saying his book was ready.
“The woman on the phone said, ‘You’re now a published author’. I said, ‘Excuse me, say that again?’ Then I screamed. Then I apologised for being so emotional. She just laughed with me.”
He ordered 30 hardbacks and 60 soft covers. He hopes to have them in hand next month.
“All of the hard covers are already spoken for,” he said.
“I know what my purpose is now. I want to inspire and uplift people. I want to encourage people to stay true to God.
“If anyone would like me to come to their school or church to talk about my experience, I would like that. My advice to people is live life in a way that you don’t cause harm or hardship to yourself.”
He thanked his family, friends and church family at Brighton Hill Church of Christ in Devonshire for their love and support.
Life Changes is available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
Contact him on 293-1595, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook: Jason Minors.