April 9, 2012

1 Corinthians 13:1
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

How many of you have seen the movie “The Vow”? It is based on a true story about a couple that gets married and they get into an accident, and the woman wakes up with a brain injury. The brain injury has caused some memory loss. She cannot remember the last five years of her life; she does have short term memory so she can remember day to day. I ask because I went to see that movie. It was suggested to me, and someone actually said that it appeared to be a lot like my life. I do agree there are a lot of similarities but there are also so many differences. For that reason I have decided to write about the movie and my own experience, how I see God in my life and working through Gary and me. I do want to say before I even begin that I am going to be centering this all on the famous chapter in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and the movie, “The Vow.”

I want you all to know that I belong to a group of women who are caregivers for husbands (and a son) who have anoxic brain injuries. An anoxic brain injury is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. Gary’s brain injury incurred when he died in bed and went longer than 10 minutes without his brain getting oxygen. He was in a coma for about 5 days and then was moved to Marionjoy Rehabilitation Center. There he learned to walk and take care of himself all over again. It was a slow progress. When he left he did outpatient therapy. As of today Gary has both long and short term memory loss. He remembers people and he can even remember how he knows the people, but he cannot remember a specific event. We are still working on that.

I mention that because the severity of an anoxic brain injury is far worse than the brain injury that was in the movie. That is the first thing that is not the same but very important to point out. The woman in the movie could be left alone and remember day by day what was happening around her, and Gary does not remember five minutes. This makes for a very long and hard day for his caretaker, me. It is what I have been doing since August 14, 2011. Today was a very hard day for me and as I continue to tell the story you will understand why.

The group that I referred to and I all feel that the first thing we need to address is all those out there who come to us with their point of view or advice with little to no understanding. Don’t get me wrong, we love our families and their support. We are talking about those people who are not family but feel that they can assess the situation from where they are standing and tell us what they believe we should be doing. I do think that they are trying to help in their own way but it just comes out all wrong. It comes out a lot like the clanging of brass; it is just noise and offensive noise. The reason is because I think it lacks the love that needs to be in all of our speech.

When I say love in speech I am not talking about sugar-coating or lying to someone so you can placate them. I mean really loving the person you are talking to, putting yourself in their position and asking before you speak, “Now if that were me would I want to hear this advice?” In fact, that might be a good place to start. If you see someone and they are abusing the person they care for, speak up loud and clear. If not ask God if you should share what you are thinking and if so, then ask yourself what is the best way. Like I said, a lot of people have come to me with advice and some of them I just love and thank them for it; others, not so much but then I just go to God in prayer and ask Him to help me forgive them for their ignorance. I am going to be writing about my experience with Gary and his anoxic brain injury and I am going to be honest about my stupid mistakes as well, so don’t feel picked on if you are one of those people in my life who clanged and banged. I pray I just say it all in love.

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