The Journey is the Destination - Laura and Jon Grant Interview Update

Laura and Jon Grant

The Journey is the Destination

April 24, 2021

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ABOUT LAURA B GRANT

Laura is a skilled classical Pilates teacher and advocate for the original method. Her focus has been as a caregiver for her husband, Jon, who sadly was injured in a car accident in 2017.

Despite the tough plight, Laura powers through because she believes in Jon's dedication to his recovery. "... Jon is leading his recovery. I give him the options and allow him to steer the ship."

So many of us in the Pilates community and beyond are inspired by you and Jon's spirit and determination. How has the rehabilitation changed since our visit in 2019?

Since the visit in 2019 Jon has shown huge progress: clarity, understanding, ability to communicate more consistently, spinal flexibility, overall body strength, and mental growth.


In one of your Instagram posts, you mentioned that whenever you’re asked what goals you have for Jon, the answer was always: peace & clarity. When during the day or week does Jon feel his best? How do you yourself experience peace?

Jon’s mental state has transformed from complete agitation, fear, fight or flight episodes during the first two years of his recovery to today, a constant state of joy, love and happiness. The purity, light and unconditional love that Jon radiates is breathtaking.  

For me, I draw my peace from God.  He is my rock and foundation. Since day 1 of Jon’s injury I have focused on the power of the Lord by trusting His timing and His ability to overcome any earthly challenge.

In one of the videos of Jon working out on the Wunda chair, you can see he has a hard time controlling his leg motion. After the exercise, does Jon retain the kinesthetic or “body” memory of what he practices and learns from you?

Yes. Footwork on the Wunda Chair and Reformer give a great closed kinetic chain feedback for Jon. You will notice Jon currently requires shoes on when performing these exercises due to the sensitivity in his feet.  We continue to work on improving this with foot exercises that don’t require as much pressure to the feet (which to us doesn’t seem like much but, trust me, to someone like Jon it is a ton).  The reformer gives Jon a lot more feedback since his upper body is supported.

When I move him to the Wunda Chair, taking the upper body feedback away, he experiences a stronger sense of instability. As many probably notice, Jon’s balance is a big obstacle. This is due to many factors with the damage to the portion of the brain effecting his visual system being a primary factor. It is common for an individual with a brain injury to neglect one side of the body as the brain is smart enough to use only one side of the brain because, in doing so, less energy is required. Jon’s healing process has progressed through many stages but, in reference to the left side of his body, it went from not even looking to the left, the inability for one to touch his left side, to his left arm locked in, to gradually recognizing, moving, and using the left arm.  His visual field is still a work in progress but, with the use of footwork on the Wunda Chair Jon is able to find the relationship of both the right and left side of his lower body working together while stabilizing his upper body. 

If Jon gets stuck on an activity, what do you do to help him move forward? How does Jon learn best (like reading on his own, hands-on, open discussion)?

Great question.  Another obstacle is perseveration.  Jon will repeat words, phrases, and activities over and over. It is a loop within his brain. This type of behavior is often linked to the limbic system which deals a lot with trauma. There are wonderful techniques out there to help with this and two we have found to help tremendously is neuro emotional technique (NET) and energy healing.  

When Jon gets stuck on something and/or seems too challenged there are two approaches I take:  1. I observe if the task is too much for his system at the moment by watching for signs such as rapid eye movements, change in heart rate, breathing, etc.  If it feels like too much I put the task aside and don’t make any more of it.  It is about finding a balance of not over stimulating the brain. And 2. I allow Jon to dictate his rehab. If he wants to keep working on something we move forward, but he has the ability to tell me he has had enough. As a navy seal it is more common for him to not recognize when he has had enough so I revert back to number one.  
 
Jon learns best with my voice frequency. I have been Jon’s constant and he understands me. I do a lot of hands on with him as well. I truly believe in the power of touch. Jon has strong mirror neurons which have been his strength when learning.

What equipment does Jon seem to work best with?

I find the Cadillac to be our go to.  It is easily accessible and gives great feedback to Jon’s body.  I actually have one of my Cadillacs upstairs as a changing table for Jon.  It works perfectly. 



What equipment does Jon seem to work best with?

I find the Cadillac to be our go to.  It is easily accessible and gives great feedback to Jon’s body.  I actually have one of my Cadillacs upstairs as a changing table for Jon.  It works perfectly. 


Your faith keeps you grounded and helps you persevere. In one of your videos, you showcased a raw view between you and Jon that must have been difficult to reveal. How do you move past those challenging moments?

Interesting enough those challenging moments are no longer part of our lives.  At the time they did occur I stayed grounded in my faith and knew God would pull Jon through.  Looking back I honestly don’t know how I did it other than with God.  What I have publicly shared is not the complete picture. Jon went through a really difficult two years after his injury and there were many very hard and challenging times. But, praise God, those times are behind us.


Do you hope your story will speak to others who are experiencing their own hardships? If so, what would you hope they might take away from it?

The whole purpose of my sharing this journey is to bring awareness and hope to others; with God nothing is impossible.



SEE MORE ABOUT LAURA AND JON GRANT




  • Gratz Pilates is honored to have the opportunity to support Laura and Jon Grant by sharing their story and journey with the Pilates community. Please see our video links and visit our blog at Pilates-Gratz.com

    To support Jon’s GoFundMe please click: gofundme.com/jonnyg



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