TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for July 23, 2014

SPEAK OUT! Letters . . . . . . . to Rachel



Dear Rachel,

Your last post breaks my heart. I can hear so clearly your confusion, your frustration, and your sadness. I won’t lie to you and tell you that it will get completely better. As Penelope said, every TBI is different. It depends on how much damage the brain incurred and where the injury took place. My husband is 9 1/2 years out. I still remember vividly when I brought him home. He was in an infantile state and didn’t know much of what was going on around him. I thought I would lose my mind. I was feeding him, dressing him, moving him from bed to wheelchair to chair to wheelchair, etc. Fortunately, he is my best friend. We met when I was 16. AND I was committed to him. Do I now have the same man I married? NO! I have a different version of him. I longed for many years to have the old version of David back, but, alas, he’s gone, and a newer version took his place. I do miss the other David at times, but I love this “new” guy too. If the old one came back, I would be in a dilemma.

David has made many gains throughout the 9+ years. He’s worked hard to get where he is now. Is it great? Is it perfect? Is it pre-TBI? NO! NO! NO! But it is a life we can live with. It’s not what I had hoped for. It’s not what I want, but it IS! You are still so early in the process. And it’s a very hard and trying process. Diane said, “You can’t look back, and you can’t look forward.” I agree. It’s best to live in the moment. I said in a post on my blog, ” . . . there is an ‘us’ after TBI, though it’s a different ‘us.’ ”

[I write a lot about my experiences with TBI on my blog. You can read some stories there. You might start with “TBI Tales: Energizer-Ostrich. It’s how I deal with David’s and my new life.]

I don’t think or dwell on the horror of TBI and how it changed everything. I know what you mean when you said, “Husbands and wives happily sharing life’s moments.” I think that is a common feeling among us wives of TBI survivors. I know I often feel it, but then I resign myself to it and am grateful that David is still with me. I can’t promise you it will get better, but for us . . . we’ve learned to live and enjoy the “new normal” because it’s what we’ve got.

[If you want to read more about David’s and my story and how we have made a new life after TBI, you can read the stories on my blog under “TBI TALES” or “Prisoner Without Bars: Conquering Traumatic Brain Injury” (my book in search of a publisher). You can also listen to my new radio show, which will launch on Monday, August 4th, at 5:00 pm PDT (6:00 pm MDT, 7:00 pm CDT, and 8:00 pm EDT) on the Brain Injury Radio Network. It’s called “Another Fork in the Road.”]

Rachel, I didn’t mean for my response to be this long, but I hope you can gain some solace from it and maybe more understanding. The road you and your husband, Ryan, are on is not an easy one, but it can be traversed. If you want to talk, you can private-message me. I’m glad you are in this group. There are so many caring people who can offer help.


Donna O’Donnell Figurski

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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