Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

April 14, 2019

Where Is The Best Of You?

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 10:55 am

Most of us in the brain-injured community think that, without quibble, the best of us can be found pre-injury.  Back in the day….

We speak with sad fondness and some with sharp anger, still, of better days and better ways we enjoyed before these injuries plucked us from our fabulous and deposited us here, where find ourselves.

I recognize this “yesteryear longing” in my friends and loved ones who, only now, are old enough to recognize the fading and sagging and softening and blurring of aging bodies and minds.

Not to be a fly in the butter here but I think everyone’s wrong.

You were never more important than you are today.  Never more powerful and capable to affect the world around you.  Never more gifted the opportunity to imprint and impart good upon this world and to and through the loved ones in your life.

To be honest, no one much cares who we were back then, anymore than they care to hear yellowed stories from the so many who wish to replay their glory days of high school or college fame on stages and fields and courts and in classrooms.

Anyone who has glory days to recall are fortunate and good for them.  Those memories and stories and faded news clippings will feed egos for a lifetime.

But for us, any of us, brain injury or not, who we used to be isn’t going to help around the house today.  It’s not going to help our kids with their math homework or their confusion about sex or their golf swing or jump shot.  Who we were back then isn’t going to teach a proud son how to tie a tie or how to fill a tire with air.  It’s not going to help a daughter with her Spelling Bee words or her curveball or the confusing ways that boys are acting now.

All that good and better we used to be isn’t going to rub the tired shoulders or draw the warm bath for that partner who is so stressed and weary because he or she is carrying an extra load now.  It’s not going to clean the house or do the laundry or lighten the load in any way.

That’s for the us of today.

The people around us, the ones we love most, don’t care so much anymore of any long-fading glories.  When life is racing by in chaotic, noisy, changing households, the glory we have to give…need to give….is the glory of the day.

The glory of today.

Our loved ones don’t care that we can’t do what we did twenty years ago or ten years ago or two.  They want to know that we are joining today.  That we are battling with them. That we are sharing and reducing their loads, their stresses, their demands.

Our kids, our parents, our partners, our friends….they already know what we must learn as quickly as we can:

The person we left back there can’t help today.

But we can.

We can help today.

Can you spend a little time outside yourself?  Outside of this.  The loss and the anger.  Can you spend some time with them and for them, being NOT the person you loved before.  But, instead, being the person they might want to love again tomorrow?

For most of us, the bar is not set as high as we fear it.  The demands are not as great as we imagine them to be.

It’s simply about asking, “How can I help?”  “What do you need?”  “Is there something I can do?”

Makes all the difference.

If you can choose that…If you can choose now…

Then the best of you is right here.  Today and tomorrow and, God help us, the day after that.

That’s the truth.  That’s our truth.


  1. What wisdom! It may be harsh to some people– their past is lovingly polished and held as paradise lost. I guess I am fortunate in the realization that my stroke got me moving, made me see that my situation was not good, helped me get out of that situation despite the ABI. Many brain injured people do not understand, or if understanding they do not accept the fact that everyone’s life has those glory days and times. Everyone can point out the “good ol’ days” when life was so much better. Was it?
    Kara, you speak truth, you speak wisdom and any who listen will look at what can be done NOW. We are here now. What are we doing about it?
    As always, thank you for your blog. I always have a “yay! Kara wrote!” when I scan my email and see that you have posted. Thank you for your attitude, your insight, and your words.

    Comment by morrowsue — April 15, 2019 @ 5:08 am | Reply

    • I can’t tell you how your note has made my day, morrowsue….Thank you so much. :)))) You kind words touch my heart. Best to you. Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — April 15, 2019 @ 10:14 am | Reply

    • I would like to confirm the “I always have a “yay! Kara wrote!” when I scan my email and see that you have posted” occurs for me too.

      Comment by Mark — April 30, 2019 @ 11:20 am | Reply

  2. Thank you so much, Mark. Big smiles here. You touch my heart. :)))

    Comment by Kara L. Swanson — April 30, 2019 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

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