I had a dream.
I'm walking down the pavement of a familiar park. It's sunny out, and I notice a man on the path ahead of me.
This man turns to wave, smiling. He is carrying a mail sack. White.
I yell to him but he does not hear me. He turns and continues to walk away. I begin to run after him, and it is then that I realize what's in the bag.
He's holding my memories. All of them. My entire childhood, every book I've ever read. All of my secrets, my fears. A lifetime's worth of connections and recognition over his shoulder. Like Santa Claus.
I'm sprinting now, running as fast as I can. The sun is setting, and I see him reach a hill. He slows briefly before going over, out of sight. Never breaking stride.______________________________________________________________
People tell me how great I'm doing, how strong we are to get through something like this. If it were them, they wouldn't be at work. They couldn't get out of bed. Little do they know that I'm really not that strong at all. It's all that I have not to completely shut down.
Last night I found myself in the bathroom, screaming into a towel at 3am. All of these thoughts...these thoughts that you might not be the same, that you might not remember us. At times they are too much for me to handle. In the beginning, everything was happening so fast. It was difficult to think about time from one minute to the next. I just took it every second, one at a time. We all did. But now? Now we can see a bit farther. My back aches from these chairs. I long to go home straight from work, to kiss my son goodnight. Now, this isn't some tragedy you are involved with. Now this is life.
I can't figure out which is worse. Is it better to know nothing about brain injury at all? In some ways, I think so. Then I might find it easier to be optimistic; however I have this basis of knowledge. The brain has always fascinated me. I have taken classes, taught lessons. I know what these injuries entail. We discuss people with neurological disorders, their struggles. In my mind they are always some stranger in a distant place. They are never you.
It is becoming increasingly hard to focus on the positive. I am grateful that you are alive, but I am terrified of what is to come. Before, I could place my thoughts on the small victories but now they aren't enough. I want you back, completely and in your entirety. Yes it's selfish, but I can't help it. I don't want you back in any capacity. I want you back, same as before.
Lately I wake up not wanting to. I can't be happy for anyone else, and I can't seem to grasp how to function normally in this prognosis. This unknown space. How do you make dinner? How do you engage in small talk with this ominous cloud over your every move?
Frank asked about you today. As we left the grocery store, out of nowhere he asked if you were better. I told him no.
He looked up at me. And in the middle of the parking lot on a Saturday afternoon, there it was. "Almost, mommy."