It’s been ages. Nearly two months since I last wrote, and I had expected to be back writing every day with this move. I expected life to be easy and that I would have all sorts of free time and I would write and knit and workout and find some balance again.
Clearly I never looked logically at the realities of moving, let alone moving with a spouse with a TBI. So here is the reality,
This move has accomplished a lot of what we thought it would. It removed the financial strain of living with one spouse on disability. It gave us a new house and town to build happy memories in. It has allowed us to meet new people and not get the awkward “aren’t you better yet?” question. We have room to grow in this house. We have room for friends and family. We have had more ridiculously happy and in love days than we ever had that first year.
We also spent a lot of time painting and unpacking boxes. I personally spent a lot of time getting lost on the way to the grocery store or home from work because my geography skills didn’t magically appear by moving. We spend a lot of time watching deer play in our yard, or being stuck in the car as they lazily wander in front of us on the road. We sleep. Personally I sleep like I’m trying to make up for every late night in my life. When I pictured our move I didn’t spend time thinking about the real life things that would eat away at time.
Our first month reminded me of how many coping strategies we had in place at our old house. Lists, and systems and routines. We lived with them for so long they were really second nature and when we moved we did not prioritize putting them in place again. Without a daily list and organization in the house and a routine it became very apparent how much Jason still suffers with his lack of ability to prioritize, to focus. His energy levels took a hit because every single thing we did every day was a new experience to process, new directions, new stores, new neighbours. Again, all of these things were foreseeable, I just didn’t spend time planning for them.
Unforeseeable things happened too. A friend of Jason’s was killed in a school shooting and we were reminded that the world isn’t necessarily safe. It was a feeling we lived with for ages after Jason’s attack but at some point it stopped being a part of us. Then with his friend’s death we were on edge again, wary of people, happy to stay together in our home. Those feelings passed quicker this time, we’re back to happily meeting people, but that anxiety was palpable for a week or two. Jason was also approached by his alma mater to give a talk on being a successful graduate that has found work in his field. He turned it down because living on disability doesn’t scream success, although I would argue his ability to cope with this last 19 months is extremely successful, even if not the requirements they were looking for specifically. Jason handled the situation with grace and kindness towards himself. I was knocked off my axis with grief. It’s not very often we think of what the brain injury means for work or what scientific developments he’s missing in the office. But when we realize it, it is a sharp, terrible hurt.
And so two-ish months into our move: we are more happy than sad, more settled than anything. We’re still learning and seeing how TBI is a part of our life, but it feels like a smaller part. We have half written blog posts galore to clean up with updates on treatments and new articles and I truly hope we get back to sharing our experiences to help others. Thank you for your comments and kind emails of support as we’ve transitioned, I hope to be connecting with all of you again soon.