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None of us has a crystal ball. The fact that the future is veiled is a gift. What I can do is live my best possible life with what I’ve got. If I look at my life right here, right now, it’s hard not to be grateful.
Three of my four sons abruptly walked out of my life with no explanation and no communication. I was being ghosted long before that term even existed. It was, by far, the most painful part of my journey.
To be human is to grieve, and everyone grieves differently and in their own time. But there is a type of grief that many people experience that is less common, less talked about, but none the less real and painful. It’s called ambiguous grief or ambiguous loss.
Amazingly, this is my 100th article for Brainline, and I want to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way — things I wish someone had told me early on. Some are painful truths that took me time to accept, others unexpected joys and blessings that have come with the journey.
It’s not a stretch to say that without my sife, Sarah, I never would have made it. While I can be overly dramatic — as she can attest — I need to get serious for a moment. No kidding around: the early years after my brain injury sucked. In fact, they were the worst years of my life.
My early year look-backs were filled with profound sadness, and a sense of loss so overwhelming that I felt smothered by it. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. It’s been long enough that I’ve all but forgotten who I was before my brain injury; that person no longer exists. The very fact that I’m no longer bothered by this is a sure sign that my soul is growing.
Last month, I marked a significant milestone in my life as I celebrated 30 years of sobriety. And, in what amounts to a “whoever would have thought it,” moment, being a sober person in recovery has made my brain injury journey easier. In fact, it literally saved my life.
As my 60th birthday approaches, the internal emotions are ramping up. Over the years, I’ve heard the saying that health is one of those things you never fully appreciate until it’s gone. While this is definitely true, most often it’s used in reference to physical health. But what happens when your mental health is compromised?
While packing for our trip, I never suspected that PTSD would steal a ride with us, but two of our four nights away found me with the type of horrifying PTSD episodes reminiscent of the early years after my accident.
How does a traumatic brain injury affect the way you cook and eat? Filmmaker Cheryl Green, who has a brain injury, satirizes her own experiences in the kitchen in a short video called “Cooking With Brain Injury.”
Every year since my 2010 traumatic brain injury, I’ve taken the time to reflect back on changes that have come to pass during the prior year. This past year was no different, although what my reflection showed was not what some may call progress. Progress is not always measured with tangible facts.
Members of the medical community literally take their lives in their hands every day they go to work. It’s hard not to feel a bit humbled by that courage. My first face-to-face encounter with First Responders was just over a decade ago. In November of 2010 fate saw fit that most of the First Responders from our Main Street Fire Station and I would meet.
In just a few days, the ten year anniversary of my cycling accident will be here. I have come a long way since everything changed in 2010. But just because things are okay most of the time does not mean that my brain injury disappeared.
I have been living as a brain injury survivor for almost a decade. Today I am sitting in my office, a busy day of work ahead of me. Never one to miss deadlines, I blocked off some time to let you know how I’m doing — how I am REALLY doing.
Taylor’s pickup truck represented Taylor’s work ethic, his expression of masculinity, his love for country music, and a space of fun memories and experiences. Perhaps most glaringly, it represented something Taylor feels he has lost — his freedom. The decision to sell it came after another night of seizures.
From all aspects of the pandemic, societal as well as scientific, we are still only months into learning the full scope of life after COVID-19. But I have a feeling that some people may be dealing with cognitive challenges for the rest of their lives.
The pandemic has changed the daily lives of everyone. How we work, how we shop, and how we interact with each other are all shifting. Comparing life as it is now with how it used to be can lead to sadness or despair and what's called "ambiguous loss."