Reclamation of Self


A collision with a moose on a dark Canadian highway irrevocably altered the life of Susan Mockler (MA ’91; PhD ’98), just a few short years after taking her first graduate degree in psychology at York University. A severe spinal cord injury impacted her ability to walk and take care of herself. She was only 21. As Mockler writes in Fractured, her memoir about the 1995 accident, “being disabled meant I had crossed an invisible line and become ‘other’ to the world at large and even, in some ways, to myself.”

In and out of a rehabilitation facility, she learned how to adjust to her new reality. She healed her body, progressing from paralysis to wheelchair to eventually walking with a cane. Aching to succeed further, she then returned to York to get a doctorate degree and regain her independence. Today, she is a clinical psychologist, published writer and disability rights advocate in Kingston, Ont. Fractured is her first book. “Recovery,” Mockler says, is “a reclamation of self.” It’s a healing journey that reconstructs and reaffirms what it is to be human and alive. ■