Police Week 2015 has just ended. Another week of honor and service remembrance for those gone too soon while serving their towns, state and country. The honor they deserve in a time when life as a law enforcement officer is more than a little complicated.

Typically, I am full of words to describe what I see, what I hear and how I feel during this time.

This year I struggled.

I am not sure why this has been so hard this year. Maybe it is because Frank is officially retired as an officer; maybe it is because I am watching so many of my close friends in law enforcement struggle with their jobs, their families and with their friends; maybe it is because life is just harder these days.

I watched the videos, the honor guards, the traveling of law enforcement officers as they biked across country, joining others until a contingent of officers crossed thousands of miles on the ride of a lifetime – honoring the fallen, and the injured in their wake. It is truly a time for law enforcement to band together and bring hope, strength and community to one another.

At a time when many communities are not supporting their law enforcement officers.

People are people. I support individuals with integrity and honor whether they are black, brown, white or blue. I could care less what people do for a living, how much they make, or if they want kids or don’t want kids.

I connect with, and spend my time with, people that treat others with respect.

Police Week means something different to me now these days – so many killed in the line of duty. So many families devastated by loss. And although families of injured officers are truly meant to be a part of the process, most feel left out, abandoned by their former families, and that makes it doubly hard to watch, listen and grieve with them.

I would say that we don’t feel abandoned, although little communication with Frank’s previous department is sad at times – we try not to talk about it. They must move on – we know and understand that. But we have many others that reach out, check in and truly want to keep in touch, and that allows us to feel less separated from law enforcement than many of our friends across this country.

Why is it that the injured are left alone? Why is it that the true meaning of Police Week, to include all injured officers, is not heard loud and clear alongside those that have lost their lives?

I don’t have those answers.

My heart hurts a bit for everyone – no one understands more about loss and grief than all families within the thin blue line. The brothers and sisters lost, the injured surviving pain and hardship, along with the loss of so much; the families torn apart and trying to pull themselves back together.

Next year it is probably time that we make the journey across county to honor those that have been lost. And while we are there, maybe spend some time talking about those that walk among us, still living in the shadows of the thin blue line, wanting to continue to be part of family, but sometimes just not knowing how to make that happen.

I think it is time.

It is easy to fall into the trap of "crisis mode.". I am feeling that right now as I try to find a new house, pack up this one, finish up final projects, and finish out the school year for the kids.  It feels like a crisis when so many things are not falling into place, feel unfinished, aren't getting done timely, and just aren't going the way that I want them to go.

In reality, none of this is a crisis - we currently have a nice home, the kids will finish school whether nor not I am ready for them to be done, and the house projects will get done when they get done.  Our world, although difficult, confusing and stressful sometimes, is not a crisis.

The crises that I see are the individuals struggling to make ends meet - knowing that there is a real chance that due to their lives being impacted by a brain injury, they may not be able to put food on the table this week.

A crisis is when you realize that your loved one is no longer able to control their anger and aggression, and you have to be the one to make the call to get them removed from your home, if only to get the medical help being denied because of lack of insurance.

Crisis is when you realize that the catch 22 of being unable to work due to needing to be a caregiver, and being unable to be a caregiver because you can't afford not to work, is a real truth.

Being in a crisis is when you realize that life as you knew it will never return, and the real truth is that you have no idea how you will make it one more day living the way you are living right now.

Brain injury brings crisis with it - many individuals and families living within the world of brain injury find lots of different ways to cope.  However, the long term focus of recovery can take its toll, but eventually, life settles into a routine.

It is when people realize that the routine, whatever that may look like, is now normal daily life, that crisis mode may hit.  Realizing that forgetting medication, not understanding new information, inability to help with children, with laundry, or help themselves may be the way life looks now.

And although not in the immediate crisis of the event, it is a new crisis.

How do we live like this?  Is this forever?

Those are the questions asked.  And often there is no one to answer.

Families living with brain injury need long term support and resources to deal with the ever-evolving crisis that can appear as the healing process continues.  Finding ways to be available to offer help, a listening ear, and resources can make the difference between a hard day, and a crisis.

 

You Are Invited

Lisabeth Mackall: Caregiver, Therapist, Author

putthis_on_calendar_clip_art

When Lisabeth Mackall opened her front door at 2:30am on January 2, 2012, it changed her life forever. She learned that her husband, Police Officer Frank Mackall, had been in a serious motor vehicle accident while on duty, and had been airlifted to a hospital. When Lisabeth opened her front door, she unknowingly entered the world of brain injury. She had to follow “Another Fork in the Road.” Lisabeth will share how she and her family picked up the remnants, pieced them together with patience, persistence, and love, and forged a new life.

Come One! Come ALL! 

What:        Interview with Lisabeth Mackall, caregiver to spouse, Frank Mackall

Why:        Lisabeth will take us on a harrowing journey of how her husband got a brain injury and how her family is coping with this new “normal.”Mackall, Lisabeth with Book

Where:     Brain Injury Radio Network

When:       Sunday, May  3rd, 2015

Time:         5:00p PT (6:00p MT, 7:00p CT, and 8:00p ET) 90 minute show

How:         Click: Brain Injury Radio Network

Call In:    424-243-9540

Call In:     855-473-3711 toll free in USA

Call In:    202-559-7907 free outside USA

or SKYPE

If you miss the show, but would like to still hear the interview, you can access the archive on On Demand listening. The archived show will be available after the show both on the Brain Injury Radio Network site and on my blog in “On the Air.”