What I've Learned Over the Last Year - Mom's Perspective
Life has been quite interesting for me this week. I’ve found myself feeling extremely emotional. Wednesday night I started figuring it out🤔; yesterday I locked in on the source.💡 This morning at 12:30 a.m. on July 19 is the first anniversary of our son, Michael's, rollover accident which resulted in a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). 🧠
I’ve been intrigued by how emotional I’ve been as memories of that night and the ensuing 5 weeks in the hospital have popped into my head the last couple of days. Only a few days ago I spoke of things as I always have and it was no big deal. Yesterday I thought of the first nurse we met in the ICU commenting about how we shouldn’t be alarmed, but she had tied restraints on Michael’s wrists when she saw the size of his incredibly muscled arms. We laughed, agreeing that it was a wise precaution!
Yesterday I burst into tears over that, remembering seeing him right after surgery, seeing him before surgery, flashbacks of so many things – heaving, sobbing, ugly cry tears😭. And it became obvious that living through the past year doesn’t mean I ever processed the myriad of experiences. Today there was trauma, multiple times. There was also deep gratitude - including gratitude that the other 5 passengers were uninjured or recovered quickly from their injuries - that resulted in gut-wrenching tears too.
It was crazy, but good. There will be more, and I will process it as it comes. This is healthy.😊
I’ve been pondering this week about the past year. Michael is doing miraculously well for which we are unbelievably grateful. 🙏🏽 A few months after the accident we learned that due to the severity of his injuries, doctors never expected Michael to walk, talk, toilet himself, or ever live independently. Although he’s currently still stuck living at home, independent living is definitely in his future. Everything else happened rapidly and miraculously in his brief hospital stay. If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know, but there are still things to heal from and there is no timeline. And that is hard. Not knowing is hard. Limbo is hard. As we’ve been told, “Once you’ve seen one TBI, you’ve seen one.” Truth, indeed.
Do I wish it hadn’t happened? 🤷♀️
I’d never wish a TBI on anyone. Ever, ever, EVER!
Hard doesn’t begin to describe the experience of the past year, especially for Michael, nor what yet lies ahead as he, and our family, continue to heal. But I am truly grateful for all I'VE learned and how I'VE grown this past year. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Here are some highlights of what I’m grateful for and what I’ve learned:
• Family is EVERYTHING! Never take your family for granted.💖
• I am stronger than I thought. 💪🏽I am also weaker than I thought.
• I experienced some of my greatest parenting moments 🏆 during Michael’s hospitalization, and some of my worst 👎🏽since he came home.
• I have seen some of my best traits and had to acknowledge many of my darkest ones. This awareness motivates me to strengthen the good and root out the bad.
• Self-care is critical when you are a care giver. And it’s critical for everyone else too. Period. You can’t give what you don’t have.
• Exercise is a game changer for me. It is a crucial part of my mental wellness. (See self-care.) Hot yoga is amazing! 🧘♀️
• Seriously good nutrition 🥗 is another game changer for mental wellness. I’m grateful for healthy food available for me and amazing nutritional supplements that have kept me out of major depression, anxiety, and fatigue, and dramatically increased my stress resilience.
• Reach out for help when you need it. Seek resources. When you find good stuff, share it with others. You can be the means of blessing others because of what you find. Even if something wasn’t useful to us, it might be to you.
• Miracles happen every day. 😇 All day long. Eating, breathing, coughing, walking, and talking are miracles. Look for them and you will see the hand of God in your life continually. Express gratitude and your burdens will be lighter.
• We are not meant to do life alone. 7 ½ billion people on the planet is strong evidence. Let others serve you. Serve others.
• I am nothing without God and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Prayer keeps me going. 🙏🏽Scriptures are essential. 📖 Modern prophets and apostles, ongoing revelation, temples, and priesthood power are indispensable gifts from God.
• Patience is a virtue. I need more.
• Laughter helps. 😆😂🤣Have some fun just because. Blowing bubbles is entertaining at every age. Puppies 🐶 love unconditionally and make the world go round!
• There is always someone worse off. Always. Be grateful always.
• Trials are not just for/about the person obviously affected. I believe the greater test comes for everyone else in how they respond. Always choose kindness.
• Compassion and empathy are godly traits we can proactively choose to cultivate, or choose to develop through adversity.
If anything I’ve learned resonates with you, great! Incorporate it in your life. If you have questions, please feel free to ask me about my experiences. ☎️I’m pretty open and transparent. And I love to help and serve others.
My sister shared with me a recent Facebook post by Mercy River. It sums things up nicely.
Sometimes we ask for miracles that never happen. Sometimes we ask for answers that never come. And sometimes God’s plan may seem unclear or unfair. It’s ok to have these feelings. But it is in these moments that we can choose to turn FROM Him or turn TO Him.
Thank you to everyone who has fasted, prayed, thought of, visited, called, texted, emailed, loved, and supported our family this past year. We are indebted to you. 💖💖💖