Joe and I went to Calgary and then on to the Banff area. It was a very different time, we were young for one thing, had 2 very small children and the future unfurled before us uncluttered by any debris of life’s upsets. Now and close to home, it is also very different. Both children grown, we are older and a TBI has shifted the course we thought we were on. Life does that to everyone in some form or another, at one age or another. It is inevitable, yet so far the sun has continued to rise, the rivers continue to flow and trees grow and fall. Each day an adventure in a whole new way.
Last year on August 9th I revisited the place of my wedding reception. Twenty six years had passed, and the entire place has fallen into a state of decay and is abandoned. It was a very sad sight to see, and left me feeling more than a bit uncomfortable, that pit of your stomach fluttery feel. 4 days later, just 6 days from our anniversary, I sat in an ICU room beside my husband and all the machines. Now I am not saying that visiting the old Woodlawn Club gave me a premonition or anything, that is just a weird conincidence. Hindsight gives us the ability to look back and see things clearer, so I can’t say that on August 13th everything was fine, but I can say that by the end of that day very little was fine. And for many days and weeks after that it was difficult to know if fine was achievable. The whole fall went by both quickly and slowly as amazingly progress was occuring. Now we are approaching that year mark, the point at which we can move from the “a year ago life was fine” stage into the next one. 364 of 365 is upon us. We will step beyond the initial year mark and then beyond the ones of seeing Joe learn how to walk again, talk, feed himself, and all the other tasks we mainly do without thinking. We will pass the year mark of coming home, of bypass surgery, the loss of a lifelong career due to being unable to return to work. There is much to celebrate at the end of each day as his brain continues to recover, rewire, recall and relearn. It can be a painstaking process at times that feels endless, yet it is amazing in what the brain can do. Only 1 other family we met in the Brigham’s ICU , where Joe was transferred to, had a family member leave to go to a rehab facility. So we feel very lucky. Fine is achievable, fine also has to be elastic.
looking across a landscape both familiar and unknown. Metaphorically clambering over fences has become a much more regular thing in my life. Life moves at a steady pace in spite of how it sometimes seems to drag or speed by. But progress is being made as Joe recovers. And the more he does, the more frustrated the slow but steady pace is to him. He wants to be king of his own schedule again, to work, and come and go as he pleases. He wants the illusion of certainty that life used to have. And though I am one who prefers disillusionment (the facts) to being fooled by illusions, I know what he means. He wants back that carefree feel which was lost. The map that didn’t have this detour which took him someplace he had no interest in going. But there is no rewind, so the options are stand still or keep moving. And each are fraught with unknowns, but at least one is action.