When I get past the ache of being blamed for how a tragedy effects everyone, here is what I want to tell those that feel ignored, or punished in the wake of a loved one’s TBI:
We are too friggin tired to punish anyone. During the first 2 years of Jason’s TBI I spent probably 1.8975638 times more energy trying to survive each day than I actually had. Do you know how exhausting that is? It’s super exhausting (see? I used to be precise, and I can’t even now). But when survival is the goal, and adrenaline and cortisol can be your friends, you make it and you don’t think too much about making sure everyone else feels special and loved.
More recently, survival became less of the goal, and building a life and marriage that will work long term became our priorities. Also catching up on my energy debt from the last two years, which means I spend an absurd amount of time introverting and sleeping now. But since making a life and marriage our goals, we still haven’t worried too much about doing the “right” thing for everyone else. Cause you know, we live together and have to like each other so we better figure that out.
Surviving traumatic brain injury has nothing to do with you if you aren’t in the home. You can help, you can support, but you don’t get to criticize or complain about feeling slighted. If you live in a world where you feel punished because someone that was the victim of a violent crime isn’t going out of their way to appease you, you should probably go spend a day at rehab with them and start understanding where all of their energy is going. And I say that with love, because we have met many people who should know better, that don’t get it. And so if you want a relationship with your loved ones that are dealing with TBI, go be in their life with humility and kindness and love.
Summary: You can be sad/mad that this terrible thing happened to Jason.
You can be sad/mad that this terrible thing happened to Jason and the repercussions reach into your life and leave you missing Jason.
You can’t be sad/mad at Jason for his recovery being inconvenient for you.
Some readings on this that aren’t directly related but worth thinking about:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/i-suck-at-being-a-friend-right-now_us_581be6d8e4b044f827a78ae1 Do you cut your friends slack for being busy with work or kids? What about someone trying to recover their life makes them less likely to be given grace?
http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/07/opinion/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407 An oldie but one of my favourites. If you are not in the inner circle, keep your criticism to yourself.