I am sitting alone in a parking lot waiting to see a patient – because I am early, and the weather is beautiful, I don’t mind a little time to myself to think about the shift that is occurring again in life, and to allow these changes to come as they will without fighting against them.
Fall is so busy with the return to school, the change in weather to cooler temperatures, and for us, a mindful progression of assessments for Frank that will determine his ability to return to work as a police officer. This process is a long time coming as we head into month 32 of recovery from the car crash and brain injury that almost took Frank away from us. I do not spend a lot of time reflecting back to those days, but I know that they are there, as they are the foundation of our life now – understanding how much those previous months have given to us, and knowing how much they have shaped the months to come is important to understand, and important to embrace.
A journey is a journey, regardless of whether you want to be on it or not. You are still heading in a direction, and even if you change course to fight to go another way, you are still going somewhere. The choices that are made determine the next phase, the next place and the next day’s adventures and trials. The goal for us is to take those trials and process them, and we hope to find a way to take away a positive, a change, or even the negative moments and find a way to make them better.
Our journey has not been easy – I will still hold to the truth that life today, even with the fear and distress of the unknown, has many aspects that are better for our family. However, the pain and stress that I watch Frank work through every day is heavy in my heart, and although time is a gift that we can give to one another, an individual with a drive for a career that means as much as policing does to him finds those days taxing. Breathing life in to the positive of each day is my job, my role as the caregiver and wife in this situation.
It is a job that I take very seriously.
The end of the day always comes, and the end of the day for anyone with a brain injury can be difficult. Knowing that there is fatigue and headaches, doubt and worry, can make trying to get to the end of a day really hard for many people.
Each brain injury and each situation is different; each couple, each family, each survivor, each caregiver. We all share a common bond of trying to make things better in the midst of things being unpredictable and hard.
Stay strong my friends – we are in this together even when we feel alone. Sunshine in a warm car can be a haven and a friend, if even for a few moments.