Friday, October 28, 2016

Take her to the moon for me!

Once a "people person" and psychology minor I am fascinated by people, what they do and why. Also, I care deeply for others as a general rule. It's just who I am. So, My dear sister knew I had to watch this kids movie about feelings and the struggle that goes on in our heads between them.  Then, the above scene takes place. My sister keeps watching me, waiting for me to cry. I did not disappoint. Tears streaming down my face my niece (then 7)and nephew (then 5) have no idea why I am crying over this movie as they happily sing along with Bing Bong before he silently disappears.  My nephew notices my reaction and simply grabs my hand and holds it.  And, this is why I call him Mr Knightly.
He has no idea why but he just smirks at me knowing it is probably endearing since I use it when he does things like feed me the marshmallows out of his Lucky Charms.  One day, he did finally ask his mommy why Ti Ti called him Mr Knightly.  Thankfully, he never asked why Ti Ti cried about this movie. I'd have to tell him it is because I have this vague recollection of  being in the hospital and listening to praise music.  It was the only thing my family could find to calm me down. I think it spoke to a place in my soul that had been withering. A place where Grace was replaced by duty and doctrine.  But mostly, I remember being so relieved that I could remember the words, I could, REMEMBER!   My M-I-L tried to teach me about brain injury long before I had one.  I used to ask her, "Doesn't it scare you when you can't remember things you know you should?"  This possibility freaked me right out! This was a huge reason I did not drink in college.  Frankly, I never wanted to know what it was like to not remember what I had done the night/day before, rather ironic right?  Not remembering scared me. So, as I lay in my hospital bed I quizzed myself about things in the past. I was pretty sure most of my long term memory was intact and this was probably a large factor in my ability to cope with what had happened. At least I had my long term memories and I clung to them.  Each person I recognized, every question I answered from a nurse was a tiny piece of hope.

When I heard "brain injury" I determined in my own mind right then and there I would not use it as my excuse for everything unfavorable I did.  I may have over compensated, wearing myself out to function effectively, unlike my perception of what a brain injury looked like!    Perhaps this explains my obsession to write everything down, take pictures, way too many pictures, just in case. And yes, it shocked me to hear my therapist tell me I had issues with control, who me??? To me it preserves memory and helps when struggling with the functional short term part of memory. At least I had my long term memories! It is likely a video of Clive Wearing (google it) that traumatized me forever this way. "Ten Second Tom" in the movie "50 First Dates" was based on this man.  I have never forgotten it since I watched it in a psychology course in college. Sleep deprived and all,  this video haunted me! Ironically, also in college there was a video we watched in chapel once about harvesting. The man in the video went to bed with "the worst headache of his life" and never woke up.  I don't even remember the point of the video. but I can still see that man half way up the stairs in his house leaning against the wall, holding his head. It haunted me for years even though they never used the word "aneurysm." Over the years, I had a lot of terrible headaches I was concerned I may not wake up from!

Long term memory without understanding may have slowed recovery down a bit at first. I could remember reading, writing, talking, walking so well that I could ALMOST fake actually being able to do these things. I was totally convinced of it! In the little movie clip above the character Bing Bong and friend, Joy, wade through the pit of lost memories. Desperately, they try to escape after picking up and cherishing a few lost memories one last time.  Bing Bong realizes he is just holding Joy back. He bails out of the wagon so Joy can continue on.  That was similar to this thing we call recovery. We desperately try climb out of the forgotten memories, because none of us wants to forget who we were before our injury.  However, for joy to live sometimes we have to leave that part of us behind but having someone there to wade through them when we need to cherish who we were. Bing Bong is still a part of who we are even though he doesn't walk around with us every day anymore.  He yells, "take her to the moon."  I can imagine a journey to the moon is scary and filled with all new things! It is a long and traitorous journey.  There isn't even gravity when you get there to hold you down, ground you. I bet going to the moon will require learning how to do every day tasks a different way.  Sound familiar?