The last time I wrote a full post, it was about how “new normal” was now “simply normal.” This is true. Nothing has changed in this regard.
And…today I had a fine-turning on what that means – for me. As I’ve shared throughout my many postings, my husband suffered a traumatic brain injury 18 years ago this month. The result was significant short-term memory loss, confused/crossed memories, significant impairment in his ability to learn new skills and tasks (take in and hold onto new information), impaired initiative, shorter “fuse”, some loss of self-confidence in doing things he once did very easily, perserveration (repeated focus/obsession with thoughts and ideas) in a somewhat OCD manner. Change is not easy for him because when a situation or routine changes he has to learn the new “status” and it takes time. Balance issues, some double vision and right-sided weakness. Those are the so-called “negative” effects of his injury.
There are some positive after-effects as well: 5 minutes after he gets upset about something he can’t remember what he was upset about. He has always had a gentle side but that seems more pronounced now. He never lost his sense of humor and to this day is able to see the absurdities of life – even more so than in his pre-accident days. He accepts pretty much whatever comes his way these days. In essence, he’s in a “good place.”
All of the above is matter of fact for us now. And as I’ve mentioned before, many memories that he has of his life pre-accident are not his memories; they are often recitations of what people told him he did or liked, preferred or disliked. In that regard, he often has explanations for past events that are inaccurate and yet often much more entertaining than the truth.
And this is where I still find myself holding onto the past in a weird kind of way. I still want to correct his stories. I caught myself doing it again today. Yep, I went there – full throttle. And I felt bad about it afterwards. I felt how uncomfortable it was for the people we were with. So then I proceeded to spend a hour or so internally beating myself up about it until I realized it didn’t bother him one bit – he forgot about it as soon as it happened. 🙂
And then I got it. I remembered that an important aspect of what I’ve gotten through this experience is the importance of acceptance. Acceptance of the moment. Acceptance of not just my husband and his “now” state but also acceptance of my “now” state. The truth is, I’m going to and I do have my days where I don’t choose to be all sweetness and light. Some days I’m going to show my warts. Some days I’m going to go to “the dark side”. That’s part of my normal. And it is all okay.
What I’m getting about this is that when you fall off the horse, rather than continue to give yourself a hard time about falling off, simply pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on the horse. In the moment, tell the truth, accept what has happened, take responsibility for your actions and then move on. Oh….don’t forget to give yourself a break. It is honest and refreshing.