“Dianne found it hard to say why she joined The Possibility Fellowship 2023, other than she felt she was meant to be there”.


The event kept popping up on her phone screen. She thought of all the reasons why she shouldn’t participate—a 3-month commitment in time, low energy and limited movement; her proneness to constant pain and sometimes not being able to stay awake. Nevertheless, accompanied by Rick, her helper (Dianne is pretty much wheelchair bound), Dianne rolled up at our “blueberry gelato” taster session. Despite her list of “why I shouldn’ts” and, as she puts it, having “no idea what I was letting myself into,” she signed up. 


Dianne participated actively and enthusiastically in The Fellowship until she had a disastrous fall and broke her leg, the leg with a knee implant. The damage was severe and extremely painful. Her lower leg separated from her knee implant, and she was left in agony on the floor until she passed out. Eventually, three lots of paramedics arrived and she was taken to hospital. The old implant had to be removed—a major trauma in itself—and a new limiting implant inserted. Three hospitals and six weeks later she was released to be taken home, where, with care from her son and helpers, she is slowly recovering. 


During our long conversation, Dianne described in vivid detail her ghastly fall, extreme pain, immobility and the slow, uncertain road to recovery, the residual nerve damage and post-surgery complications. 


I was struck by how gracious and appreciative she was of the many carers who have been looking after her. Dianne was and is always up for a hug and a chat. Although nurses are not supposed to be too friendly or touch patients, they could not help themselves in the wake of Dianne’s kindness and laughter. 


“I can see the possibilities in people, all are beautiful human beings,” she told me. From being in the Possibility Fellowship her abiding attitude or mantra became “I am enough and you are enough.” Instead of focusing on the pain and trauma while in hospital, she greeted each day with…


What are the possibilities?

How can I show this person that they matter… that they are of value just as they are, doing what they do, being who they are, and that they are important?!


Dianne knows that many people, especially seniors, are anxious and depressed. Many are lonely and too scared to go out. Dianne’s insight—which appeared vividly to her while in hospital—is that she has a kindness gift, an ability to sense when a person needs to be Seen, Heard, Appreciated, and Touched with a Smile, a Kind word, a Thankyou or a Hug (if they would like one), a cuppa or a chat. That’s Dianne’s gift to community. It’s small scale, barely seen, place-based and extremely valuable. It’s a gift she gives despite her respite, ongoing recovery and being wheelchair bound. “It’s good to laugh with someone,” she says, “because laughter is good for the soul. Laughter between two people is being seen, being heard, being accepted and appreciated.” 


Like all of us, Dianne told me she has down days when everything feels bleak. However, from what I’ve observed, normally she is beautifully positive and sensitive to others, qualities that inspire me, especially emanating from a person who has lived and is still living in chronically debilitating and painful circumstances. Dianne, you are a legend!

This story was gathered in partnership with Dianne as she concluded her experience in The Possibility Fellowship 2023. Written 6 July 2023.