As the warming-gold Autumn has turned to winter, I’ve heard the echo of familiar fears the ice and snow bring to TBI survivors like me. For many without brain injury, winter is merely the months of aggravation scraping windshields, shovelling driveways and waiting for the car’s heater to ratchet up. For many survivors, however, it is Fed-Exed fear. Delivered right to your doorstep. The reminder of falls we took when finely-tuned brains smashed on unforgiving sidewalks. Or the reality of cumbersome wheelchairs trying to navigate through slushy, sliding pavement. For me, it is the unsteady slippery terrain, laughing hungrily at my poor balance.
During good weather I use a cane to walk, allowing me to keep three “feet” on the ground. During winter, I often use a trekking pole, even two, to keep me upright. Always beating back that fear, knowing already what one misstep can cost. Reminding myself that safe and smart never look ridiculous.
Yesterday I quick-determined not to head out, as we were getting 8-12 inches dumped on us. I decided, instead, to put up some Christmas decorations and watch what I imagined would be huge lovely snowflakes sweetly falling hour after hour.
What came were teeny tiny, nasty snowflakes. Mean and angry. Not lovely. They blew sideways and stung the cheeks and watered the eyes and there was nothing lovely about them at all.
When they tailed off to mere flurries about six hours later, I had to behold their splendid work. I was amazed that all these teeny tiny snowflakes could create such a beautiful landscape. And it hit me then…
Look what big things little things can do!!! Sometimes during our recoveries, we are so frustrated by what we can no longer do the way we used to do it. We were once such huge lovely snowflakes…
But time and time again, in the 12 years since my injury, I have been reminded how far baby steps can take us. Progress, in any measure, in any pace, is progress still.
Sometimes we forget that different doesn’t have to mean worse. Those teeny tiny nasty flakes created as beautiful a winter landscape as any large lovely flakes could have mustered. As is with everything, brain injury survivors must take heart that there is more than one path that leads to accomplished. To beautiful. To, “Yes, I can do this”….