The good news is that I can now take baths without Paul watching me like a hawk.
Why yes, I consider this a positive development. I’ve never been particularly coordinated anyway, but I’m now apparently capable of bathing without causing considerable worry to Paul that I’ll trip, fall and/or smash my head in some other fashion. Progress (let’s not mention that he let me start driving again before this, shall we?).
At any rate, the irony isn’t lost on me. How many of you guys took a bath or shower today without your significant other having a panic attack the second you drop the soap and it makes a really obnoxious thud (really, something that small?!)?
The fact is, there are a lot of times where I feel like I am working so hard to get better but still feel like I am standing still – and the world is just moving on fast forward. People are going about their lives, and time seems to be in everyone else’s favor but yours.
It’s sort of like being a zoo animal. People stop by and stare a while. They are interested in what you’re doing. And they might really care – they might really feel bad that you’re at a zoo and not running free in your natural habitat…but at the end of the day, they get to go home. And you don’t.
I first realized this last year, when I lost my dad.
My dad was my best buddy. He was so young – 63 – and passed away due to complications a very unexpected, major stroke.
I realized sometime later, that somehow, other people were still going on about their lives.
But I thought, how can this be? Don’t they know how much pain I’m in? What I really wanted was to make people understand – “Hey! Wait a minute! Don’t you get it? I’ve LOST something here!”
It took me sometime to realize that just because other people didn’t feel MY loss didn’t mean they didn’t care. It’s only natural to want the world to stop when something tragic has happened to you. But life has other plans.
I realized that I had started to think that way about my accident.
I worried that people would see me talking and think the big struggle was over, when in fact, it’s just as difficult (if not harder). I thought – “Don’t people know how HARD I’m working at this?”
Maybe you have had similar thoughts about something in your life. Maybe it’s a TBI, maybe it’s a stroke or the death of a loved one.
What it’s taken me a long time to understand is that no one else may understand your struggle. It may not have personal relevance to them. But, on the other hand, YOU may not understand someone else’s difficulty.
Everyone is fighting some sort of battle – it’s just going to vary. It’s not about who has it worse. It’s about understanding that empathy and compassion can be invaluable.
This is a lesson I have needed to teach myself – maybe you do, too?