It is important to display grace to those around you who are likely to have difficulty understanding the challenges you face with your traumatic brain injury. For example, it is most helpful for me to be reminded of meetings or appointments I have. Medical appointments are typically OK because I will receive an email reminder, but I may forget when I’m supposed to have lunch with someone if they haven’t given me a written reminder or a calendar invite (either they didn’t create one or I was distracted and forgot to). This is most common when I don’t have a notepad or phone in my hand. I may not remember 5 minutes later when I’m thinking about a different topic.
It may be difficult for others to realize that travel (for those of us who cannot drive) is an actual need and a consistent one. I like to allow my family some relief when I can – it is a real burden for those closest to me to pick me up and drive me places. I’m sure others who face traumatic brain injury and do not drive would likely agree. I try not to rely on the same people over and over – but it is nice to have consistency. Paying the gas bill for a friend who has provided a ride to help me out is far more affordable than paying for an Uber or hiring a personal driver. Chauffeurs can be difficult or impossible to afford for many of us (who face traumatic brain injury). It isn’t a simple expense when you face challenges just finding a part-time job (much less a full-time one).
There are benefits to memory challenges though. For example, I have been mistreated before – but I forgot about it a very short time after. Someone else reported it and it was addressed. Forgiveness can be easy, because I don’t often recall mistreatment in detail. It’s easier to let go of the past because I have little memory of it and I rarely hear from those couple individuals anyhow.
Grace is one of the best gift I can offer others. It can be challenging to understand what it’s like to potentially have no memory of what happened 5 minutes ago if you are not the one personally experiencing it. This isn’t consistent though – because sometimes, I do remember. I can’t predict what I’m going to forget and what I’m going to be able to recall later.
Psalm 84:5-12 (New American Standard Version) is a good reminder of the blessings we have when we trust in the Lord. He can heal our memory and He will recall everything that happens, even if we can’t.
“Blessed is the person whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the roads to Zion!
Passing through the Valley of Baca they make it a spring;
The early rain also covers it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
Lord God of armies, hear my prayer;
Listen, God of Jacob! Selah
See our shield, God,
And look at the face of Your anointed.
For a day in Your courtyards is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.
Lord of armies,
Blessed is the person who trusts in You!”