TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

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TBI Tales . . . A Letter to Attackers Jasmine Oldham

To My Husband’s Attackers – One Year Later


Jasmine Oldham

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Oldham, Jasmine Caregiver 071115You’ve been on my mind lately. Frankly, you’ve been on my mind most of this year. Do you realize today marks a year since you attacked my husband while he was walking in Toronto? Doesn’t it seem odd that your actions almost ended my husband’s life, and you haven’t even seen it?

I wonder about you. I can’t help it. When we’re in the city for appointments (don’t you know that all the brain-injury specialists are in the same city in which this happened), I watch the eyes of the men we meet. I wait to see if they recognize my husband – if they are seeing the ghost of the man whom they thought they murdered a year ago. I don’t know that I’ll ever stop being curious or watching for you. It just makes sense that we will meet; the police assigned to this case are kind and smart, and the world isn’t as big as you might think it is.

My husband and his friends were out for his bachelor party. I know they told you. I know you knew I was waiting at home for the love of my life. And yet, my husband and his friends barely talk now. Traumatic brain injuries have a way of breaking up friendships. Our first year of marriage was spent in doctors’ offices and rehab clinics, instead of having vacations and adventures.Oldham, Jasmine 071115

I wonder at your group dynamics now, and I am curious if they parallel ours. Have you pushed each other away because you can’t stand seeing your friends as the monsters from that night? Or, do you hold each other close – keeping tabs on each other to make sure the secret stays secret? Which of you will be the next with a boot to the head for saying the wrong thing? And that girl. Does she worry each time you all go out that you’ll be arrested? Or beaten? I wonder if she struggles with panic attacks each time a phone rings? I did. For months, I relived the voicemails detailing your attack on my husband.

When we meet, I hope you tell me you’ve counted the days. I hope that night changed each of your lives and convinced you to spend every day paying penance for the life you hurt. I hope the aftermath – living with that secret – haOldham, Jasmine 2 071115s propelled you from the boys you were a year ago to men. I hope you’ve done something stunning with your life.

Of course, I hope you approach the police and confess. I’m not going to lie and say that’s not a wish. But, even on my most optimistic days, I can’t see any of you being strong enough to step up and accept the consequences. Nor, can I imagine any of you with enough compassion to want to put us at ease and offer us closure. (If you want to prove me wrong, by all means contact the police at the 52nd Division – http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/d52/).

At the very least, let this monumental, awful thing that rocked our world rock yours too. Don’t be so callous and immature not to realize the gravity of what happened that night. You stole the life we were planning on. Oldham, Jasmine 3 071115Let that change you. Become better. Make it up to the world. Instead of letting your actions of that night define you, choose to make it the catalyst for a good life. I hope one day you can look back and say that that night you realized how powerful you were and you chose to invest your life in helping others instead. And, I hope when we meet, you can tell us that we’ve been on your mind too.

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the author.)

If you have a story to share and would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please submit your TBI Tale to me at neelyf@aol.com. I will publish as many stories as I can.

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for BlogSPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week. If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at neelyf@aol.com. If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.) I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Anna Bailey (caregiver)…How can I not get excited! I’m not even two days out of nesting (the babying you get before 100% gg60955512thrown to the wolves on you own), and I got a 100 on my QA. I am surpassing department goals. (That has been the case since I’ve been taking calls.) And, I actually exceeded team goals, which are higher than the department goals. I really love my job! Bring on the money!

Anna Bailey (caregiver)…Well, today my husband’s day couldn’t have been made any better. He loves his diesel trucks, and I entered to win some tickets to the diesel nationals and won! They asked about his story because to win we had to say whom we would take and why we should get picked. Truck 12955796331379458534monster truck.svg.hiI mentioned that he is a wounded warrior and that he has wanted to go since he heard about it. They picked us, and they asked if we needed any special accommodations. I told them we do – that our service dog is coming. They then upgraded us to hang out in the suites. 🙂 He needed this, and I was shocked that I won. My husband is amazing. He has done so much for our family, and I am glad I could help make this wish come true.

Runner 9664-illustration-of-a-man-running-pv

Nate Croom (survivor)…I had my TBI in 2008. I had to relearn how to walk, and I still have balance issues. But, this past Sunday, I ran my first marathon (in Lincoln, Nebraska).

Gill Evans (caregiver)…Had a moment today. We were walking our border collie through the park. Holding_handsAlthough it was cold, the sun was shining. Hubby grabbed my hand. No words were said. I felt a feeling I haven’t felt for quite some time – relaxed and happy. Precious times.

Kristina Hopkins (caregiver)…I can’t believe that exactly five years ago, I married the most amazing man. Not only did we exchange vows and rings that day, but he also got on his knees and gave my girls rings and vows as well. Wedding rings anluortrouwI am so honored and proud to have this remarkable man in my life. Tommy, I love you, Sweetie! You truly are my partner in every way. I can’t believe it’s only been five years when it feels like forever. Thank you for marrying me, Tom Hopkins, Jr.!

Jasmine Oldham (survivor)…We had a win today! Ten months post injury and my husband was Couples Counseling ClipArt-AfterTheFire7admitted to an outpatient rehab program in Toronto. They’re going to include couples counseling for us! It also means two months off work for him, so maybe I’ll see snippets of the guy I love, now that he will have less on his plate. For today at least, I’m hopeful and excited.

Bobbi S. Poff (survivor)…I had four strokes within the last four years, and I had fourteen aneurysms and fourteen seizures. I can walk and talk now. I’m proud oDid It congrats-you-did-itf my accomplishments. It’s been a long, hard battle, but I did it!

Lc Sossaman (survivor)…After four years post TBI, I made it to my and my husband’s 10-year anniversary. The last four years have been quite a bit for any regular couple to make it, but we did. The memory of what was and now what is has made the last four years more difficult. Happy Aniversary thI have to pat myself on the back. (LOL) I was a nice person before, and I still am or try to be, but I am hardheaded about things I believe in, and I make it quite clear. I didn’t do it before accident, but I do it now. I am happy with it, just fine. So, learning to be more clear about things is my accomplishment.

Jenn Von Hatten (survivor)… My TBI occurred on Valentine’s Day 2011. My car was T-boned due to freezing rain. I was only going to work for a meeting. I survived to see my oldest children graduate from high school. The father of my youngest child, Hanna, decided he wasn’t happy and kicked me out. For the next 2-3 weeks, I looked for a place to live in our small community, as Hanna goes to school there. During that time, Hanna’s father mentioned 50-60 times that I was brain injured and that my frontal lobe was injured. I wasn’t sure if I, as a TBI survivor, could live on my own and have joint custody of Hanna, who was only five at the time. Yes I Can

My Itty-Bitty Giant Step is: YES, I CAN! With a frontal-lobe injury, which affects my executive functioning, I am able to take care of Hanna, now seven, and myself. When the third anniversary of my car accident was looming, I was bummed out. Stärke-Logo_200pxSo, I got a tattoo – “Stärke.” “Stärke” means “strength” in German. I’ve had to have a lot of inner strength to get this far in my recovery. In addition to sustaining a TBI, I also fractured a rib and vertebrae. When I was discharged from the hospital, I was in a wheelchair. I graduated to a walker, to a big quad cane, and then to a mini quad cane. When I’m in the house, I don’t use anything, unless I’m really tired or sick. I’m a fall risk and disabled. So what if I can’t work as a nurse – I’m alive! I watched my oldest children, Emma and Liam, graduate, AND I have joint custody of Hanna. An Itty-Bitty Giant Step, I HAVE TAKEN!

YOU Did It!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

As I say after each post:

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

If you like my blog, share it with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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