I am going through some really strange emotions lately. I can't even really pinpoint it. Not really depressed, not anxious, maybe just sad? I'm not sure.
Don't get me wrong. I feel so overwhelmingly blessed that Leslie is doing as well as she is. I am so proud of her and it is great that I can call her or see her whenever I want.
I guess reality is just starting to set in, and I am having a hard time accepting it. When this all happened, we had a lot of people contact us who have had loved ones experience brain injuries, and their stories were (are!) so, so encouraging. We are very thankful for those people, because a lot of the time, that was the only real hope we clung to...that other people have had similar things happen, and they were okay. However, the main theme we got out of these personal experiences were that even though their loved ones recovered, there was always a part that never really returned. There was always a reminder, even if it was small, that their brain was injured. This is where I think I am struggling.
I literally look back on September 20 and shudder. I think, in a sense, as ridiculous as it may sound, that I am traumatized by it. I have been having "flashbacks", if you will, of certain moments. How cold the ICU room was. All the times I would be asked to step out of her room and wandering around the empty hospital at night with nowhere to go. The way my heart would start to race as I'd get close to the hospital. The beeping machines. Getting so excited when we'd notice her swallow, because it was a sign that she was responding to SOMETHING.
People have asked if we have gone back to Main to give them a flyer, or even just visit her old nurses, and I don't think I can do that at this time.
She is doing all of the things we wanted her to do, but there are constant, daily reminders of what happened. She sleeps a lot and is always saying how tired she is. She has no motivation. We can make her go places and do things, but she never asks to do anything. She has no interests. Her husband decorated their house for Christmas, and Leslie just sat and watched. Normally, she would have helped.
Why? Why can't she just be BACK. Why did this happen to her? Will she ever go back to work and live a normal life? Will she ever call ME and ask if I want to go shopping or out to dinner or will I forever have to ask her? Will she ever show the initiative to get up, showered, and dressed or will we constantly have to tell HER when it's time to get moving?
I just. don't. accept it. I want to. I feel selfish that this isn't "good enough" for me. I try to feel thankful, and I am thankful, just not thankful enough, I guess.
A sister is a lifelong friend. Someone who will always be there, regardless. I think that all of my life, I have taken the fact that she is there for granted. I am regretting that I will likely never have those times back, and it's too late. I blew it.
If you have siblings, cherish them. I never thought anything like this would happen to Leslie, and we had no reason to believe it would. She was healthy. Twenty-four hours before she collapsed, we were getting ready to walk down the aisle as bridesmaids in our best friends wedding. Tell them you love them and spend time with them. Appreciate them and don't let silly things get in the way.
You only get one chance.