Wisdom  imparts itself on us when we least expect it.  Tonight, as I don't find sleep coming to me easily, I think of all of the wisdom I have gained in the last few years, learning not only from others, but from myself. I know my blog has usually been either brain injury related, or Frank updated related, but today it is reflection, based on life, and to ease my busy mind, I am writing it down.

This weekend was another time of gifts - time for giving and receiving, sometimes at the exact same moment.  I was given another honor this weekend, in that I was asked to speak tot he 2015 graduating class of physical therapists from the University of MN.  I considered this a high honor, for two reasons - one, that I was chosen to impart wisdom to these new therapists, and two, that they thought a speech therapist was the perfect candidate for the job. Although amusing, I took my  job seriously, and felt that it was important for me to pass along some of the  wisdom that has been handed to me these several years.

In my speech I talked about the gift of giving our time to others, and seeing people, as people.  Both of these pieces of advice have been blessed on to me and my family, and I want others to know that although simple, they carry a great deal of weight. When giving time to others, we are telling someone that they are worthy, that they deserve to have time given to them, which in turn can be the biggest gift of all.

In spending time with those student this weekend, I hope they know that their time has value, and when giving it to their patients, they give their patience that value as well. It is time well spent.

The wisdom of supporting and giving to others may be difficult to see sometimes, and I find that the flow of those around me is shifting again as we make another large change in our lives.  Although I could not imagine leaving our home, we will be doing so in the near future, to a different house, with the focus being to keep the family together, and give one another the space needed to make that happen.  I find myself sad by this change, although excited for a new adventure.

But sometimes I wonder how many new adventures I can take in this lifetime. Life is certainly not predictable - but I am fairly certain no one promised me that it would be. I think of those around me sitting within a storm of change as well, and I can only give them the wisdom that I have been given; change happens, life continues, and we get to choose how we respond to those changes.  Our response to the change is what makes us who we are - so what do you choose?

I choose to figure it out. I choose to make plans and stick by them.  I plan to honor my commitments and my pledges. I plan to work at this life, even when it is really hard to see the road ahead.  I choose to believe that my life has meaning, and to give my all to making my life meaningful.

I choose to move forward.

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.