I stood on the side of the road, not sure how I got there, or if I did it alone. I wondered if I was alive or dead, for I spoke to no one, and no one spoke to me.
A severe pain hit my head, as if someone had stabbed a knife straight through my skull. I reached up, placed my hand flat against my head, holding it there until a watery substance ran down my arm.
I was afraid to move my hand, afraid of blood gushing from my brain, but when I pried my fingers away, it was only sweat, covering every crease of my palm. …
My husband and I drove the roads of rural Washington, meandering past rose gardens and long grass that bent beneath the sun. The Cascades rose in the distance, casting shadows over the valley. I lay my head back, imagining the highway as an old dusty road, carrying families to church, and the local general store. Now it was busy, two lanes of noisy trucks and cars, their intoxicating smells drowning out an otherwise quiet community.
In the distance, I saw a fruit stand. “Can we stop?” I asked.
“Of course,” Randy replied.
As we waited to turn, Randy tapped his wedding ring against the steering wheel to a made-up of ‘life is good.’ He looked over and smiled his large crooked grin, the same grin I had fallen in love with twenty-seven years before. …
Brush Strokes and a Brain Injury
In the corner of my study, a large canvas leans against an easel. Swirls and brush-marks, soft shades of yellow and gray, dark splotches filling empty spaces.
You can find me in front of a canvas, usually on stressful days, pulling bottles of paints from a big box, removing piles of brushes I’ve accrued over the years.
I’ve always loved art, which is why, in my last house, a craft room was created for me. …
What no one tells you about a brain injury is this, once your brain has failed, you are afraid of it failing again.
Which is why I have a hard time letting go. Memories are tied to all I own.
Soon after my accident, I started minimalizing my life. It wasn’t something I planned and it wasn’t as a direct correlation to the minimalist movement. I didn’t even know about minimalism until about two years ago.
I began minimalizing because of my brain injury, because stuff was noise and confusion in my head, and often, I couldn’t understand what objects were, what they were for, how to use them, or even what they were called. …
Where do memories go when we lose them?
Do they fall to earth, get trampled like dust beneath our feet? Or do they flit through the sky, like fiery ash? Perhaps memories float through the atmosphere, tiny atoms waiting to one day reattach.
I wonder, when we lose memories, if they are forever gone. I wonder if we can ever get them back.
I’ve lost many memories, nearly three years of my life.
I am like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces.
I try to pull images back. But they are lost. Forever gone.
As if they never existed. …
I am thirteen. On trial for two crimes committed when I was four.
My mom sits across the table from me, mending held tight in her lap, staring at me with narrowed eyes. The judge in the courtroom of my life.
“How can you not remember?” she asks.
“Because I was four,” I reply sarcastically.
“Well, you did it. You stuck a fork straight into your Grandma’s head. She still has a mark where it hit.”
“Well, she might, but we can’t see it now, can we? She’s dead.”
Tears sting my eyes. I try to imagine myself, a scrawny little girl who was afraid of the world, piercing my grandma like a piece of meat. …
It Could Happen Again
It could happen again. It’s true.
I could be sitting at an intersection, waiting to turn. A car could hit me from behind, and my brain would be flung from side to side, my words and thoughts scattered like thousands of pieces from a puzzle. Just like before.
This is why I worry when I get into a car. Why I freak when I see an accident.
It’s also why I wrote this article, to tell others about my worry, and how I am trying to get past it. You can find it here: Conquer Worry
My gut twists with that kind of anticipation one gets when they know something horrible is about to happen. I breathe deeply and look at the calendar.
It is July 10, 2017, four days before the anniversary of my brain injury.
My inner clock reminds me of this day every year, just like it reminds me of my father’s death, and every major event I’ve ever encountered. It remembers without knowing.
A force clutches at my throat, so tight, I can barely breathe. I inhale the sticky summer air. Tremors crawl beneath my skin, a little earthquake inside me, invisible to others, more than real to me. …
I once knew a couple who waited for some day. Sad to say, that day never came.
My aunt and uncle had many dreams. They dreamt of retiring to a lake, cruising across the open seas, visiting family far away, and opening their own antique shop.
My aunt and uncle were the ultimate dreamers.
But their dreams, they never came true. They remained untold stories, dusty visions stuck in their heads.
Days sped by, age caught up with time.
Illness erased imagination.
Doctors were a daily ritual.
Life grew old. Stale.
Sounds of television drowned fears, dimmed fantasies.
Life was quickly erased. For both. …
Don’t hate me, but I can’t stand collections. Multiple pieces of the same item lined on a shelf, like dusty soldiers waiting to attack, give me the heebie-jeebies. I hate clutter, in both my house, and in my mind.
I blame this hatred of collections on all the collectors I’ve known in my life.
My mom was a collector, albeit not an extreme one. Still, she owned thimbles, vases, cups and saucers, and tiny spoons from each state she visited.
My dad was a collector, too. In fact, his collections multiplied like evil bunnies. If there was anything to collect, my dad found it. …