What’s the worst injury you’ve ever seen? Mine was a broken tibia. It was 2008, and I was working as an Estate Developer in England. I was on a site visit to one of our developments in Northampton, and a team of workers were trying to unload a rather large electrical generator from a truck.

Someone let go at the wrong moment, and the extremely heavy machinery came crashing to the pavement. One corner caught a worker on the shin and totally shattered the bone. His leg was twisted at a horrifying angle, and the broken bone was sticking out of the side of his calf. A truly sickening sight, I assure you.

Luckily, there was a doctor on sight, who immediately took charge and tried to reset the bone. This involved returning the bone to its original position and rejoining the two severed ends. We had to dig around on the bloody pavement to find all the little pieces of shattered bone, so he could place them all back in the fracture, where they belong, like pieces of a bloody, gory jigsaw puzzle.

When the bone was being reset, the electrician screamed like a baby. I have never observed anyone endure such excruciating pain in my life. He sounded like he was being stabbed. But once the bones were re-aligned, he was calm once more, breathing evenly and calmly. It was hard to watch, but I also learnt so many amazing things that day

While they worked, the doctor explained how bones worked to us. It was going to take several weeks for the bone to heal, but it would have to be put in a cast to ensure that it doesn’t move about while the healing process took place. If the bone lay in a crooked position, it would heal and grow in that position, and the poor fellow’s leg would be crooked forever.

People, just like bones, often break. Under the weight of immense pressure, a person can just lose control and snap. No matter how strong you are, sometimes, a hefty blow takes you by surprise and your equilibrium is shattered.

You lose a loved one, you’re made redundant, you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, your business goes bust, you fail your exams, your spouse or partner leaves you… these things can have the same effect on you as the generator had on that poor man’s tibia – leaving you a shattered, bloody mess.

Now, the truth is, when you’re broken, the hardest thing in the world is getting back to normal. But it is also a crucial Step One in any recovery process. You need to reset the clock and return your broken self to the same state you were in before you got hurt. You need to get back into the job market, the classroom, the dating scene.

Whatever conditions led to your loss, you need to return to them in order to have a fresh start, and that can be painful. Burt don’t worry – once you settle back in, once the bone is reset, you’ll feel much better.

For bones, healing happens I  three stages. First, inflammation. This starts immediately after the bone is fractured and lasts for several days. There is bleeding into the area, leading to inflammation and clotting of blood at the fracture site, providing the initial structural stability and framework for producing new bone. 

Stage 2 is bone production, which begins when the clotted blood formed by inflammation is replaced with fibrous tissue and cartilage, which later grows into hard bone. Bone remodelling is the final phase of bone healing. This goes on for several months.

The bone continues to form and becomes compact, returning to its original shape. In addition, blood circulation in the area improves. Once adequate bone healing has occurred, weight-bearing (such as standing or walking) encourages bone remodelling.

The second truth is that loss and grief – like fractured bones – heal in stages. You’ve got to give it time. First, it hurts like hell, but the bleeding is necessary to create the conditions necessary for rebirth. Then regeneration. This means starting from scratch. This is when you need to be most productive. You’ve been sent back to square one and you have a lot of catching up to do. You need to get back in the saddle and ride faster than ever.

Finally, remodelling. After going through rebirth and taking the lessons you have learnt from your loss, you can now reinvent yourself. You are a new creation, so you can be whoever you want to be.

But just as a healing bone needs a cast to ensure it heals straight, you must always create a structure of rules and rigor to ensure you stay disciplined and stick to the new plan. This is crucial if you want to heal correctly and not turn out crooked.

I guess today’s message is quite simple really. We all take a hit every now and then. We all suffer setbacks and breaks, but each break is an opportunity to reinvent ourselves, and as long as we make it through the painful but necessary steps, we will always come out good as new, if not better.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and however broken you may be, time and endurance heals all things.