Coming back from a traumatic brain injury is not easy, but one Montreal woman not only healed, but is now helping others through art. Artist, teacher and mentor Sonja Boodajee has had to overcome incredible odds just to be able to stand.
“It was really hard at the beginning. I really hated myself,” she said.
Sonja and a friend were involved in a high-speed, head-on collision in Mexico 21 years ago. Like the pottery they’d just bought, her body was smashed. “She was like a broken little bird and I just remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, how are we going to put her back together?’” said rehabilitation specialist Rosalba Guerrera.
“I was so tired, I took the fetal position, and all I know is I had 22 fractures, brain injury and coma for 11 days,” said Boodajee.
When she awoke, she remembers staring up at the curtain rods above her hospital bed.
“And I asked to have a pencil to draw them,” she said.
An artist, dancer and musician who was also working, volunteering and studying at Concordia University at the time of the crash, her need to be creative pushed her back to life.
“There is that sense of desire to do what you love, that to you is your survival mechanism right there,” said Boodajee.