I’m still evolving my understanding for how long this is going to take. I know all the platitudes and heuristics for traumatic brain injury: “Every recovery story is different;” “It’s hard to see the changes when we’re living day-to-day;” and “She needs to recover at her own pace.” While they are true, I don’t like them. I want a frame of reference. I want to see big changes every day. I want her pace to be faster. And while I may understand the commonplace truths about brain injury, I don’t like them. I miss Claire now. The truths don’t help that.
The things we think would help like getting out, keeping busy and occupying our mind don’t help either. Tiffany summed it up with, “I don’t want to keep living. I want to stop until Claire gets better.” We encourage each other when we each say things like this, but it seems like a silly dance because when she says it, I’m battling the same feelings and vice versa. We go through the motions to keep living and moving forward. But we feel lethargic and impotent, always aware of the missing pieces we loved so much. We are careful to struggle out of sight from Heidi and Autumn. They need us as much as we need them. We’ve endeavored to protect their childhood through this as much as reasonably possible; we don’t want to jeopardize the fruits of that effort by indulging our selfish emotions in front of them.
They are selfish emotions. I look back at the things I wrote and my contradictions to each brain injury truism begin with “I want….” That was the short list. But these emotions inform what our drive and determination. We want to see Claire. We want to walk with her hand-in-hand on the sidewalk. We want to kneel beside her and watch roly-polies. We want her to live her life and we want to live it with her. It’s hard to digest the fact that we’re missing out on so much.
These are our daily struggles. Our self-talk is complicated and volatile. Being home has introduced a whole new set of emotions. We knew they were coming. We still weren’t prepared. We spent the last five weeks learning how to draw meds, operate a G-tube, perform physical therapy and care for Claire. Yet we are ill-equipped to deal with our roiling emotions.
Being home presents new emotions, but it also gives us additional strength to deal with them. Claire is sleeping better and so are Autumn and Heidi. We are slowly following suit. We have to remind ourselves that it’s only been a few days since we’ve been home. Establishing a new routine is going to take a while. Maybe by the time we have, we’ll have figured out how to deal with these emotions.
Despite the roller coaster, we are thankful for the support of those around us. The comments on the blog continue to provide a safe haven to recuperate. They are invaluable to us. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.