It has been nine years since our lives were sent in a new direction. The new direction is not one we would have chosen but at least it is a direction and not a termination. Many in my life, especially my immediate family have had to adjust to the changes brought on by Traumatic brain injury but many others only know the new me. Bonnie has called me “Husband number two” on numerous occasions; Mike says he likes the new guy better; Amy says different isn’t always bad…just different and Bryan and I are doing home renovations together via video chat. Everyone is moving ahead and doing the best they can.
I have come a long way but the farther I come, the farther I see that I still need to go. As I have gotten better, I have started to realize how inconsiderate I was to others and that makes me want to set things right by giving more of myself. This, of course, has to start at home where I am trying my best to talk more openly with my wife but more importantly, I am trying to genuinely listen and understand what she deals with daily.
This past year, I have used the gifts God gave me to help others. At home, I built a kitchen island and we renovated our hall bathroom.
I built a decorative wheelbarrow, a built-in spice rack; three raised planters and installed a new dishwasher for Bonnie’s parents.
Outside the family, I put together a shadowbox collage for a Vietnam Veteran who lives next door that brought tears to his eyes.
I also fixed a riding lawnmower for a good friend of ours who’s knees won’t let him push a mower any longer.
I began two other projects that I hope will widen my influence in the local community and help tbi survivors in need. I gave a brain injury awareness presentation to Health classes at the local Middle School in hopes that at least some of the kids will think safety when doing what kids do. I also volunteered for a council that advises the state of West Virginia on the implementation of the Medicaid Waiver that helps tbi survivors move out of care facilities and back into a home environment where they can feel more comfortable and have a much better quality of life. I was elected council chairman at our last meeting. I hope I can provide quality service and make sure the survivors in our program have everything they need to live the best life they can. Here is a link that explains the services we provide: The West Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Waiver Program