He couldn’t remember me and that’s what brain injury does. It roars through the mind taking so much… the birth of a child, a wedding, vacations, and so much more. Memories that are ripped and forever gone.
I looked at his face, the same one that I had known for years, but I was unfamiliar. “I don’t know you, I don’t know you”. All I could do was to try to bring him back and find me and our life together.
I would write, talk, and listen as he tried and tried to find the language that he lost, his feelings and his life with me that are ALL gone. This was no story, no movie, It IS my life.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 31,
Hi, it’s me. It’s been a long time for us, and yes there is an us. You see me and yet you don’t remember all of me.
I am the reason why you flew to Indiana on a very snowy day. You came from California, and I remember sitting in the truck with you, as my Dad drove us home. You held my hand the whole way home. You asked me to marry you that night, and there was no question, I could not let you go. We walked in the snow, and got married in a judge’s office. That was the day, we called each other husband and wife.
We have struggled a lot; to build a life together, survive Navy separations, buying our first house, then buying another house, and enjoying the birth of not one but 3 children. We have known the sorrow of losing a child, and you were never so hurt, because you could not be there. You were in the “med”, and could not come home. You knew then, that “I’m sorry” was never enough, and yet you tried for months and months to make up for it. Our love was ENOUGH to get us through that.
You were there when our daughter got cancer. You didn’t left her until her recovery; you were so strong, and held us together. You were there for the radiation, for the doctor’s visits that became yearly, and there for the scares of recurrence, that thankfully never came. YOU were there.
Remember me, I am her. I am the one you brought dinners to at the hospital. You packed holiday dinners with Toni, and came to where I worked to have dinner with me, so I would not miss out. You woke me up for breakfast day after day when I worked nights, so I would “sleep better”. You started to drive me, when I admitted to running off the road in the morning as I was so sleepy.
Remember, I stood by you, and through the cruises and retirement, through the mail days, and beyond. Remember me, I am the navigator. For every vacation we went on, I rode the front seat, with maps and directions. I rode with you on bicycles, as you got faster and faster, and I just continued at the same speed. You always would let me start climbing hills, and then fly past me laughing the whole way.
I have lived with you, loved with you, and stood up again and again when others wanted you gone. I knew who you were, and yes, I don’t know who you are now, but I know that God is in control, and I know I walk in FAITH and through GOD’S UNDENDING PROMISES.
I see you now, and you have said when I asked, “How old am I?”, “26, babe”. I am older than that, but still the same, I loved you at 26, but love you now more than ever.
You are my love, my heart, my best friend, my husband, at any and every age. You are loved, by me.
We start anew, and forever this will be the beginning of many anniversaries to come.
We continue on, one moment at a time , trying to find his Ilocano, his Tagalog, memories of the country that he calls the place he was born, and memories of the place he calls home.
Photo credit: montrealgazette.com
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