So I haven't written lately - no blogging, no articles, minimal Facebook posts.  It probably doesn't help that I am in week two of my bronchitis fun, but I think it also has to do with the fact that I have no idea what to do right now.

Someone asked me to write about resiliency two weeks ago - I started a blog, and just couldn't finish it.  It isn't often that I am at a lack of words, but lately, I am not sure what I am supposed to say.

Life is - hard.  That is the best way to describe it.  As I chat with my friends far and wide that are the spouses of others with a brain injury, I learn that there are many of us out here that just get to some days and have no idea what to do with ourselves.  It is almost as if you hit this bubble of uncertainty, and you don't move forward, you don't move backward, you just get - stuck.

That is probably the best word to describe how I have felt these last few weeks.  Now, if I had to pick out how Frank was feeling, that would be a whole other word.  If I had to make a guess, I would choose words for him like sad, defeated, worried, uncertain and frustrated.  For me life has shifted to a new phase, but for Frank, it is as if three years of work meant nothing.

Now we all know that the past three years have not been  for nothing.  If Frank had not committed himself to the level of recover that he has achieved, he never would have gotten himself where he is today -we  all know that as a fact.  But we are on outside, and he is the one that put in the effort, but didn't reach his goal.  So it is our job as his family and friends to remind him of the greatness he has achieved, and the opportunity he has now to find something that may not be what his life would have been like, but what will make a difference now.

Three years ago I found myself at a  similar crossroad -  it was brutally painful, and not where I wanted to be.  A choice was made for me which directly impacted who I thought I was and what defined me as a person.  I did not want to change my job or career, but that choice at that time was not mine to make.  I had to mourn the loss, then get back on my feet and make a decision.  I remember vividly the pain of the loss, but it was nothing like the loss I felt three months later when I was confronted with the knock on the door.

That career loss became unimportant compared to the loss of so much more.

Someday we will look back at this time as a transition opportunity.  I don't know where Frank will do, where he will go, or what his path is going to be.  None of that is my choice to make, and truly, he still has some time to truly mourn the loss of what was - nothing is final until the end, and we have crossed the finish line and closed the door on this part of his career.  It saddens me as I write those words - Frank is a good police officer, a caring man with a passion for helping people in his City, but that is not where he is meant to be any longer.  Retirement at 42 is not a choice, but moving forward is a choice.

A choice that is being met with some trepidation and worry, as can be expected.

Although the ending is certainly not what we had planned, a new beginning can be exciting.  The opportunities are out there - you just have to be willing to put the energy in looking forward, instead of working hard to look back.

The life you have lived is nothing compared to the life you have left to live.

Keep your eyes facing forward, there is nothing back there that we need anymore.  Everything that we need is right in front of us.

Una Stamus

Last night I was leaving work later than usual.  Most of the people I worked with had gone home for the night, and there were just a few stragglers leaving the hospital.  It was quiet, and as I turned to head down the hall to the parking garage I had a flashback to another time I was walking down a hallway in the evening in a hospital.

Families that are living in the hospitals due to a family illness, injury or event often become part of the background.  During the day hospitals are teeming with people and activity, but at night, things become quiet, and you can often be the only one heading to an elevator, walking a hallway, or entering a parking garage.  It is a lonely time, where the bridge between leaving the worry and scariness of what is happening in the hospital transitions to having to get home to the responsibilities and real life waiting there.

As I walked down my quiet hallway last night I remembered those nights - that transition back to reality when I knew that no matter how I felt about the day and how much worry I had for Frank, I had to get in my car and drive those 27 miles back to the house so that I could tuck my children into bed and reassure them that some parts of life were okay.

It was a quiet, scary time that I faced every night.

Many families are facing that reality tonight - leaving the hospital, walking out into the cold, starting that car up and shivering until the heat finally kicks in.  Driving home in the dark out of the hospital cocoon to another place - just to do it again later that night, or early the next morning.

Tonight I was reminded again about those days when I heard that a family member living with a brain injury survivor was at the capitol trying to help other families of individuals living with a brain injury.  I was so proud of her for using a terrible, difficult situation to try to help others in the future that will join her on this life path.  Some of us choose to take our journey out into the open, letting others see the good and the bad, the scary and the reality, so that others can benefit from the journeys that we have been on.

But others sit back quietly, living with the day-to-day struggles that sometimes can be more than anyone can take.  To those of you living here, in that place, we know.  We hear you.  We are listening.

We get it.

We - those of us living in the open - are here for you.  We are here, for all of you, so you do not have to be alone.

Alone, walking down that hallway, at night, feeling the sadness.

Let us walk with you down the hallway.