When I was younger I took teakwood lessons. My teacher, another big role model of mine growing up. Taught us about the five tenets of Taekwondo. Courage, integrity, perseverance, self control and my personal favourite indomitable spirit.
“Indomitable spirit is that part of a person which makes them unique, that part of a person which provides hope, strength and courage to get up and face each day with a smile. Indomitable spirit is perseverance on a long term basis”. – staccata
A few years later I was fortunate enough to meet an incredible woman who truly showed me the meaning of indomitable spirit. Her name was Hellen Packer, but I just knew her as Packer. She was the most determined, strong willed and courageous person I have met. And honestly changed my life as I became unwell in the following years. Packers health was incredibly complex and she went through more than anyone ever should have to, oftentimes fighting for her life. She had to learn how to do everything again, cooking, communication and self care. The only time I ever heard her complain was about the crappy hospital food, so Packer learnt how to cook. And ended up making all the other patients jealous with the meals she would create, many tried to sweet talk her into sharing!
Everyday she was fighting for herself and for her life back. That fighting spirit never stopped, she got up everyday, worked her butt off at physiotherapy, when she wasn’t in physio she was learning other ways to be independent again or sorting out adaptations for her home for her return. She was set on going back home to her farm and horses as soon as possible. She knew she would not only get back there but that she would ride again.
I’ll never forget this certain doctor coming into her room. He told her to stop, that she needed to be realistic. That she wasn’t going home anytime soon and there was no way she would ever get back on a horse again. Packer told him to get the fuck out of her room and never come back. She found a new doctor and she worked her way back home one day at a time. Her determination and indomitable spirit got her home, her horses and her life back. She found ways to adapt around the farm whilst she continued her rehab from home to continue to get stronger.
It made my heart so happy the day I saw the video of Packer riding again. She was back in her happy place, she never gave up on getting home, she knew even when others couldn’t see it that she would ride again. Even on her hardest days we would chat about horses, our mutual love of riding and her life on the farm. She kept what mattered most close to her heart and became the fire inside her to keep on going.
She believed in herself even when others doubted her, she wouldn’t allow anyone to bring her down.
I think we can all learn a lot from Packer, in more ways than one, I know I have and continue to as I always keep her spirit in my heart and mind.
In loving memory of Helen Packer