I saw you today. I saw you shift around in your seat looking anywhere but in my direction. I know you saw me too. I've thought about you over the years. Do you remember the last time we ran into each other? Do you remember what you said? Because I sure do.
I was in the mall. You were there with some of the old crew that I used to work with. I used to work with you too actually. The accident finished all of that for me. You looked me in the face and told me that I don't have a brain injury. I was astonished. After all, Beverly, I was tested at the rehab by a neuropsych doc. An expert.
I had a personality change after my accident. Even my taste in reading changed, when I was able to read again. I slept a lot. I told raunchy jokes--to everyone-- even to my eighty year old mother-in-law. I cursed worse than I ever had before. I had visual changes. I have a list of things that I've been diagnosed with, all secondary to my traumatic brain injury.
But you, in your infinite
I want you to know that I was hurt by your denial. I live with my brain damage every day. I am very glad to be alive. During the accident I thought to myself, "This is it. I'm dead." I had no attachment to those words. Time stopped. When it started again, I was alive. Once I escaped, I knew immediately that I no longer understood the world. You have the luxury of denial. I don't.
I am not contagious Beverly. You won't catch my brain damage if you were to stop and say hello, have a conversation. I don't really understand that fear. I can't relate to it. I will not live my life in fear. But some people have to. I used to think that a traumatic injury was one of the worst things that could happen to a human being. I don't anymore. The worst thing is ignorance, living one's life in fear. That is the worst thing.
It's been eight years now since my accident. We don't travel in the same circles. I've gone on to other things. And so have you. So go ahead. Ignore me when I see you in public next time. Pretend that brain damage cannot happen to your boss, your co-worker, your son, your friend, you. Pretend that you don't see me. It's alright Beverly. I understand more than I ever wanted to.
I hope you never have to.
sapphoq healing t.b.i.