How did I end up here? I remember waking up in a stupor, unaware of person, place or time, but I’d been down that path many times before. So why this time, why now? Why am I living in an assisted living facility and no longer in my apartment? The jokes I made about myself being dumber than a box of rocks are true? I have no personal privacy and am a 37 year-old living with people in their mid-eighties and older. I’m also a chronic TBI survivor with memory loss and post-concussive syndrome. Home alone is a little too B-movie bad.
So here I am. A little beaten, battered, and bruised; but I stayed true to myself in the face of it all. Along the way those 80 and 90 year-old neighbors of mine are some of the kindest, most welcoming people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
How do I make friends and influence enemies now…you know find the drive to get out of bed in the morning? I think a large part comes from me continually trying to figure out my brain and how to fix it. I recognize a lot of what I used to do and, when in a situation where I’m allowed to do a bit of my former life, what I’m unable to do, or not able to do as well, typically stands out to me. I’m still living life and so are the people I’m living with. I watch beautiful, joyous smiles appear and hear boisterous laughter resound about the room as they unwittingly up and have fun just when they thought they never would. Armed with my iPhone and DSLR cameras, I’m so constantly snapping pictures that I go unnoticed most days now.
The result is a multifaceted gift, with each photo and print representing a memory captured. Even when memory of the actual event is gone, that photo is proof of its existence and their good time. It’s a legacy memory. And its with bittersweet knowledge of the promenade of life that one day these photos and the stories behind them shall be passed to the generation. It’s a privilege capturing life that might otherwise go unseen.