SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guest Blogger: Jennifer Stokley Transitioning and Brain Injury
Transitioning Can Work in Odd and Wonderful Ways
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
Behind me was a family with three young children and a big floppy dog. I am not sure how it happened. (I forget these things – “TBI Memory” – LOL.) Maybe it was the doggie that made me go out and meet them, but who cares? I went. And, it totally changed my world forever!
Next thing I knew, I was playing with their dog almost every day and sitting on their bench out front to see the kids go off to school every morning so I could say hello and “Have a great day!” I went out again every day to greet them when they came home from school. I became good friends with the mother, who turned out to have been a nurse prior to being a stay-at-home momma.
The mother was very familiar with folks like me – with a TBI. What are the odds of that? She wrote me a beautiful poem about new starts in my life. While reading it to me, she started to cry. She had to regain her composure and begin again. At the end, we were both crying. We ended up hugging. Wow! I was so grateful for her huge heart and her understanding.
One day, I joined the kids in a leaf fight in their yard (in my PJs! – LOL), along with the parents’ autistic son – my best buddy, with whom I had a special connection for some reason. He came over, sat down with me, threw leaves into the air with me, and giggled. He even lay down and wanted me to cover him with leaves to his chest (none on is face or neck – sensation issues – I understood) so he could pop out of the leaves like the rest of the kids were doing. His parents’ chins were on the ground, I swear. I don’t think they had ever seen him connect and want to play like this before. Once he popped out and had a leaf in his hair that upset him. I asked him if I could remove it for him. He said yes, so I did, and the playing resumed.
The best part came at the end, though. I thought his parents’ heads were going to explode! I put my hand out and told him, “Give me a high five!” He slapped my hand as hard as he could. I don’t think his parents had ever seen him give physical contact by choice to anyone not family.
His parents got him a new puppy, all his own. One of the kids had let the puppy out by accident. No one knew it was gone. I was outside doing something, and the puppy ran around the other side of my house and straight to me! Yay! I was able to save the puppy, give it some loving, and carry it home – safe and sound.
This family brought me so many blessings by being my neighbors in a new, strange, and scary environment. They just sold their home and have begun moving into their new home. But, the blessings keep coming. My two nephews bought their place, so I will have family living behind me, after having pseudo family living there.
Miracles work in mysterious ways for sure! I will sure miss that family. But, I am grateful for the wonderful memories they gave me and for being there to help make my transition feel so safe and protected. I wish them well on their new journey.
Thank you, Jennifer Stokely.
You can learn more about Jennifer on the following sites.
Any views and opinions of the Guest Blogger are purely his/her own.
(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)
(Photos compliments of Jennifer Stokley.)
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