Love from J


Love from J NEW website

Be a Henry

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to meet an extraordinary man who will forever stay in my heart and mind. A man who’s face will appear every time I am faced with adversity and a voice that will remind me that no matter what I am going through I should never give up. His story is so surreal that you’ll struggle to believe it actually happened; a tragedy that should never have occurred.

His name is Henry.


Henry was dealt a hand that most of us could only have nightmares about; but for him, this was real life. In 1995, at the age of 39, Henry was wrongfully accused of murdering his then fiancé and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Over 20 years later, after numerous failed attempts at appeals and petitions, a change in legislation gave him another chance to appeal – only this time having his conviction overturned; making him a free man. Henry was finally given another chance at life – on the outside.

Before reading on, take a minute and think about how losing 20 years of your life would make you feel. What would that mean for you? What would you be giving up? Who would you be leaving behind? As all these answers flood into your head, sit back and be grateful for the amazing life you have been given the opportunity to live.

You would think after going through such an ordeal, of losing 20 years of life, that it would change a man forever. You would be right; it did – but not the way in which you would except. This wasn’t the life he set out for himself, but it was the one he was dealt and so he made the most of what he could with the situation he was presented with. 

Obviously the first couple of years were difficult, he had left behind young children on the outside, but as time went by instead of being angry with the world and letting his time behind bars get the better of him, Henry eventually changed his mind set to focus on the positives, read more books than most people will in a lifetime, educated himself and worked together with other prisoners to live the best life they could while confined within prison walls. My favourite part of his story is that wants to continue doing the same on the outside; something I have no doubt he will succeed at.

Henry’s story really made me sit back and think A LOT. About how lucky we are and how we take so much for granted, but most of all about how we deal with situations that are out of our control. There are so many times in our lives when situations are out of our control and no matter how much we stress about it or how much energy we spend focussing on it there is nothing we can do to change it. Yet we still allow ourselves to get angry and stressed, even though we know it serves us no purpose other than frustrating ourselves and those close to us. One of my favourite quotes springs to mind in this instance: “Stress is like a rocking horse – it gives us something to do but doesn’t get us anywhere”.

When a situation like this arises, you have three choices:

1. You can let it define you

2. You can let it destroy you

3. You can let it strengthen you.

If it’s a situation that you can’t walk away from (like Henry) then you need to adjust your mindset to accept that what is happening is happening for a reason, focus on the positives and reroute your energy to areas of your life that you do have control over. And always ask yourself “Is it going to matter to me in five years?” If the answer is no, then don’t spend five more minutes worrying about it. If the answer is yes, then go hell and high water to achieve what you need too and don’t stop until you get there.

So next time you are faced with adversity – be a Henry; stay focused, be positive and never give up on what you believe in. And if you can help someone along the way, do it – without hesitation – for it will not only change their world, but yours as well.

Love from J x