Revisions

Once again it has come to my attention
that I need revisions to my life.
Oh, this life has been tweaked
so many times
although, I need another fine-tuning.
Scary as it seems,
I need to simplify once again.
I have the career path straightened
now, it’s time to shed the weight
of another huge and lovely skin;
the weight of my Mother’s hard work
and all of my devotion to a single
notion that I may keep it forever.
Even after desperately talking myself into staying
a thousand times over the years,
I have always been keenly aware
when I have over stayed my welcome.

I know deep inside
that all good and sturdy trees weather storms;
and yet they also throw off seedlings
to ensure their survival for years to come.
They too become vulnerable to change
and an untiring strong wind can alter their original
spot of planting, as it takes them down
on one blustery night.
I’m ready to be taken down and throw
off a seedling in another direction.
I’m ready to move on and build
a new dream one of better financial stability
for the long haul.
I’m ready for more simplicity in my life.
This one has not been serving me well
for a long time. I have refused to believe
it but there is no way to escape it now.
I am resolved on this delicate and timely
revision.

Let the Edit begin.

Posted in aging with TBI, brain injury, Change, Delaware, inspirational, Lewes, Live with Purpose, Loss of Mother, Milton, Poet, Resilence, small towns, Stress and living, TBI, TBI and Finances, Victim of violent crime, writing

Being an Active Part of Your Community

Milton, Delaware 2015

Milton, Delaware 2015 July 4th

Milton, Delaware 4th of July 2015

Milton, Delaware 4th of July 2015

Yesterday I got a haircut from John Potoki the owner of Salon Milton in Milton, Delaware. He said something that I very much agree with, he stated that people in America just aren’t the same anymore. He and I discussed that there is a lack of respect for each other and a lack of respect for America in general. Although he did say he didn’t feel that here in our Town. John is contemplative and he is a strong and active member of this community, I respect and admire his forthrightness and his good intentions which become actions. He is one person in a sea of people doing the right things for all the right reasons. I love him for that. I want to thank him for taking the time to notice this community and the individuals in it. Something he does well and without seeking rewards for his actions He does it just because he loves his community. Mind you there are a lot people here to thank for their efforts to help people in this community. Hopefully I will get to write about them in another writing someday soon.

I have also noticed, and not necessarily everywhere; in many communities and towns there is a serious lack of concern and respect for each other or lack of sense community in general. This saddens me because I know what it means to be involved in a Town where people Care for one another and others don’t have any idea what it feels like.

When I think about this topic it always takes me back to the many wonderful people I grew up with and a Town that I grew up in; Lewes, Delaware. These are memories always worth reliving in my mind or on paper. Unfortunately, I don’t know Lewes or the many new faces there so well anymore. Milton is my home now and I know I feel a part of it and belong to the people here, even though I have become an absent figure in its events and goings on this summer. I’ve been working on my house but that doesn’t make me feel any less a part of this community. It thrives on small town values which at times can be seen as non-progressive or annoying and even at times we have been called uneducated; that one makes me laugh, as it is so far from the truth. I say let them call us what they will, we know who we are and we know who are neighbors are. That I think, makes all the difference.

Back to Lewes where they rallied around a little girl and her family whose life had just been torn apart by violence more than 40 years ago, that’s how people should be. When they see a need, they stand up, they do, they respond, and they extend a helping hand. They do not just sit around and think, that’s someone else’s kid or family. They understand that is one of their own, regardless of blood or ties, or where they came from. I’ve experienced that here as well for myself and happily been a part of that for others. I just think in general whether we are homebodies or we’re busy, we should keep track of who’s in our neighborhood, how the people around us are doing, and without being nosey or intrusive be aware of the town and what people need. Life is too short to be so self engaged that we miss the big picture and your community. Most people feel the need to be a part of something larger than themselves; that comes in many ways, shapes, and forms.

A little story about a woman that I loved, who was part of our circle of people we rallied around and who rallied around us; lived on Mulberry Street in Lewes when I was only a child. She and her husband had one the coolest houses I was ever in and I was in many of them. She always had a big jar of candy that I could eat anything I wanted, dots, little marshmallow ice cream cones, root beer barrels; of course this was appealing to a child but that wasn’t all the joy she brought to me. It was larger than that and I felt the connection even then.

Today I see her daughter, Amy (yes we have the same name) I’ll be eating dinner with her at her home next to her parents old home on Mulberry Street. Suzy Cleaver is what we called her and I’ll always know her as Mrs. Cleaver, she stood about 5 foot tall, if that. Yet she had one of the biggest hearts and personalities you ever met. She was also rather mischievous or that’s what I always thought as a kid and I always liked that in people; I’m kind of that way too. It was in her laugh and the way she carried herself never better than anyone else, just wanting to find her community there in Lewes, she and her husband George were from Baltimore and came in the Summer time to their lovely home and new found love, the Delaware shore town.

After I became a victim of a violence I was a kid whose friends changed, they were the younger kids on my street, the younger brothers and sisters of the kids I used to hang out with because my friends kind of moved ahead of me in school and ability. So my friends became Tony Zigman and Troy Reynolds and the new kids I met in school, or who moved to the block. Tony and Troy lived on my street and we hung out a lot. In fact, they tried to teach me how to ride a bike again, I was 11 and they were nine. We used one of Tony’s old bikes and I put a bar on it for handlebars. They flanked me to support my wobbly, unbalanced body on two wheels, with their bikes, our pedals became entangled and I went sailing over the handlebars onto my chin. It was not their fault it was probably my idea and they were trying to help me. I look back on that day as one of the best days of my life, even though I ended up with 10 stitches in my chin, I eventually learned to ride a bike again. I also spent a lot of time either alone or with adults. The adults in my life also played a big part of who I became they were people that believed that I could do and become anything, they listened to my questions and always took me very seriously and I felt as if I was one of them.

Tony, Troy and I built a fort in my driveway from scrap wood found around the neighborhood. We bought nails by the bag full like we used to at the hardware store. It had a floor, a door that locked, a window with rat wire for a screen with a shutter on it that latched to keep the rain out. Since the roof was flat, I insisted we try to get a pitch on it so the rain would run off so it had four layers of wood for a roof. I am telling you it was Solid! Years later tearing it apart would be no easy task for me.

Needless to say I always wanted to sleep in our fort like I was camping and of course no one was going to let me do that after what had happened to me only two years earlier. Enter Mrs. Cleaver, she heard me begging one day to sleep outside in this wooden box and she didn’t even hesitate to offer to camp out with me. Looking back, she was actually the only person that could have spent the night in it with me, because of her size. She was a joyful person to be around and she loved me and I loved her, she had a child’s sense of adventure and fun. How could you resist that? She came over that summer and we set it up with sleeping bags and flashlights, the works. When it got dark we went out and slept in it or at least tried it was very hot, only having one window was a disadvantage. I think at some point late in the evening we came in and she stayed at our house. Mom cooked us a big camp breakfast, eggs and bacon, the next morning which we ate on the picnic table.

That’s the kind of person she was and those are the kind of people that we were surrounded by, the kind of folks willing to make a child happy, willing to go the extra mile for a family in need, willing to be full members of a Community. I was so lucky to grow up in Lewes. Mrs. Cleaver unfortunately died several years ago and I will forever miss her. She had class and a twinkle in her eye, a smile on her face, which lead you to believe she was always up to something; truth be known she probably was.

     So here’s to Mrs. Cleaver and the many people in Communities around the country and in our town of Milton that know where the kids are, that help their neighbors that are participants in their communities. Even in small ways like sleeping outside with a kid who wants to camp in their fort, or planting the town full of gardens just to make it pretty, or donating money and time to make sure the kids have a great July fourth celebration, or collecting school donations for the kids at the local elementary school, any of the hundred little things that go on in Communities of people who care to celebrate their town and the people in it.

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Sun Flowers at Knapp’s Farm Lewes, Delaware 2014

~All Photos taken by Amy Kratz 2014 and 2015. Photo #2 Jennie Lawson Taking Pictures of the band.

 

Posted in Advocay, aging with TBI, Being Active in Community, Childhood, Delaware, inspirational, Lewes, Live with Purpose, Milton, Photography, Poet, small towns, TBI, Uncategorized, Victim of violent crime | Tagged ,

Blogging 201: Day One on Day Three Setting Blogging Goals

I signed up for a Cool, Free, Blogging U , course and then promptly forgot about it as quickly as I signed up. They just reminded me by  sending a “Welcome” email and told us when we  would  start. The First assignment  message for us was to begin at Midnight GMT on Sunday. So Monday roles around and then Tuesday and we’re on Assignment three? How did that happen?

I’m thinking to myself,  How do I set Blogging goals if I can’t even remember that I wanted to write?”  I dread making Daily Goals even for work because they are so easily broken by my ever changing work load or attention span.

ARGGGGHHH Ok! I’ll do it!  See it’s really bad when I’m talking to myself while I write. The Irony is that my life is centered around helping people with disabilities make and reach their goals and I struggle to make my own and keep them.  I think I need my own support plan and Team to help me with an ELP, Essential Lifestyle Plan.

So here it goes Assignment #1:

  1.  Sit down at least every day for 15  minutes at the computer and see what happens.
  2. Write a paragraph, if that’s all that you can do; even if it’s just a bunch of ideas and not a story.
  3. Don’t let any other task other than eating stop you, which means stay off of face book. It’s a thief of my time!
  4. NO #4 three is enough to start.
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Not for the faint of heart

This is a good example of what loosing yourself and reinventing yourself is after TBI. Good Read.

Broken Brain - Brilliant Mind

The path must be there somewhere The path must be there somewhere

I’ve been thinking a lot about my recovery, lately. What I lost to TBI, what I’ve gotten back, and where I go from here.

Scratch that. Yes, I’ve been thinking a lot about it, but thinking is not the point.

Living is.

Looking back at where I was, just a few years ago, it amazes me that I was as functional as I was. I mean, even just five years ago, I was grappling with all kinds of crap like intense mood swings that would completely wreck my day, and a ton of money troubles — creditors calling me constantly, threatening to take me to court — and some of them succeeding.

I landed in court at least twice (maybe three times?) that I can remember, and I totally screwed up one of the appearances, where I didn’t realize I needed to go into…

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Spring: A Time to Remember The Good Ole’ Days

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Me 2000, Memorializing Mom at the Joan E. Nagy Memorial Garden, Milton, DE

This photograph was Given to the Cape Gazette by Amy Kratz for their story: Survivor: Attacker Should Serve Life,  April 19- May 2, 2005

This photograph was Given to the Cape Gazette by Amy Kratz for their story: Survivor: Attacker Should Serve Life,
April 19- May 2, 2005

This time of year always make me think of Mom She was the strongest, most caring, and loving person I know or have ever known. She  was a friend to many and my Best Friend, Mother, and Father. She never spoke poorly of people and in fact everyone I have ever met that knew her, has nothing but amazing things to say about her. No she wasn’t perfect but pretty Damn close, I think. Tonight while sitting in her house/my house; I was looking for something to write and found  a couple things about mom that I wrote in the past.

 

 

 

The Neat Nicks

Tonight as I made my bed, putting all clean sheets, pillowcases, and tucking in the hospital corners I had a good chuckle at the wonderful things I inherited from the Nagy family. Always meticulous at housework and creative in their tasks, I remembered something that mom taught me. I was putting the top sheet on and realized it was upside down, I turned it over and while doing so mom’s way came flooding back. Mom not only raised three kids alone making everything in the house sparkle and crinkle and sharp. She eventually went on to own a bed and breakfast in this home and I recall coming to visit and all of her top sheets were upside down because she turned them over at the top so they looked pretty as a hint of color protruded out of the bed spread. Of course I do not do that because… well because I am me and not mom. In fact I am so NOT mom that I have mix matched sheets, pillow cases, and comforter or bed spread because my main goal is clean and then comfortable and then whatever it’s called to being perfectly unmatched but comfortable.

So I flip the top sheet over and then make perfect hospital corner, noting to myself and the cat; that she would be proud of those corners that she taught me as a child, while I helped her make her bed. Last week I had gone to the attic and found pillowcases; which are much needed in this house. They were folded so perfectly in rectangles I hated to use them. I thought they are the last things that are still perfect about this home; the home that Joan built. However, I am a utilitarian and everything has a purpose so let’s use them. I washed the pillowcases and the put them away. Tonight I put them on my bed. I had forgotten how neatly folded they were and I bet ironed, that even after a good long washing and drying they still had the pattern of the fold like a nice pressed and starched shirt. The things I learned in the Nagy family were all so important except some of them I have discarded or some would say bastardized along the way, simply to uphold my own laziness. I cannot keep an immaculate home and nicely pressed sheets, a perfectly manicured garden or body for that matter. I guess some things will always stay completely mine, in the home that Amy built.

 

Spring’s Memories

This is the time of year that I always find so beautiful and so sad; Spring holds great promise and life and all I can think about is that mom’s birthday , death day and Mother’s day are all culminating on the horizon like a storm on a calm day. Everything reminds me of how much she loved this time of year. Her flowers blooming, the weeds trying desperately to destroy the beauty of the tidy beds she carved out, oh so long ago. When I sit on the deck in the morning I look at all the changes in the yard since she has left it. I stare at a raised bed full of weeds that used to have juniper bushes that she planted. I look at the Japanese maple she planted almost 20 year ago and think how very delicate yet sturdy it is. I sit on the porch and look at the worn out cushions and wicker that we used to sit on but now aren’t as well kept as they used to be.

All of my surroundings are a variation of what she began 21 years ago and left me almost 11 years ago with. It is hard to comprehend that she has been gone for so long but I can still hear voice in my head sometimes and it becomes more difficult every year to remember exactly how she sounded. I tend to cry a lot more at this time of year even though I am more revived because of the longer days and warmer nights. I tend to mope a little more at this time year even though I have far more energy. I even tend to see her in every moment of every day and at times, I day dream back to the days that she was here, to make me laugh and listen to all my wild adventures.

She certainly was one of a kind and everywhere I go, I see people who say to me,” I really miss Joan.” And at this time of year I am struck by their words harder; they are like a punch in the gut. Frequently, I cannot respond without crying at the words, as they spill out of their mouths. At times I find that that person is looking at me and I know they are thinking,  “I am sorry I brought it up.” In actuality I am happy that they still remember how great she was because I miss her daily. It just seems that at this time of year I miss her more; it is a measurable, palpable feeling of sadness; more so with Spring upon us than any other time.

Posted in Childhood, Delaware, Grief, inspirational, Loss of Mother, Photography, small towns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Getting better – patching up

I am posting Broken Brilliance because I love his raw honesty about living with a TBI.

Broken Brain - Brilliant Mind

Ah, the weekend.

It’s about time. I had a very long week, and I’m ready for some unstructured time. I’m also ready to just kick back and do some reading and cleaning around the house. The spring cleaning/reorganization bug has bitten me, and everywhere I look, I see an opportunity to change something for the better.

I’m really enjoying being off the clock, off-topic, off-schedule. My weeks are so schedule-driven that there’s not much time to just chill out and let things sink in. A perpetual state of mental indigestion pervades my weeks – there’s just not enough time to let it all sink in.

And

Just

Be.

I’m looking forward, today, to just doing what I like without trying to manage the long-term results. I get pretty sick and tired of that whole “results-oriented” mindset, where everything you do has to directly point to a specific goal and desired…

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What We Dream Of Being

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Before I was Nine I wanted to be a Harlem Globe Trotter. Funny how I had it all figured out at age 7 or eight. I could almost, well I thought I could or imagined I would play as well as the Globe Trotters. No, I never understood how incredibly special they really were; you know coming from Harlem and being poor and rising to the top of their game through silly and masterful antics on the basketball court. The only thing I knew was that I could whistle their tune and shoot hoops really well. Gordy and I even had some of their moves down, or as I said, we believed it. We had a dirt basketball court in our back yard until mom made it a concrete patio before I was nine and then we were talking; there were the best games played on that court for years to come.

After 1973 and my TBI I wanted to be a Neuro Surgeon, to even be able to think that I may have an inkling of what that job entailed was a huge leap. Being surrounded by medical people for years and intensive training on words like sphygmomanometer simply put blood pressure cuff/ machine; yes I wanted to know what everything was called and how it worked. I knew that word and struggled to learn it after my TBI. These people in white coats and stethoscopes hanging around their necks amazed me. They were like Gods and Angels. They had big and unusual names like Dr. Rangaswami, who wore a red dot on her beautifully tan skin and Dr. Yanez who had dark black hair that streaked back on his head, and their importance was evident, so much so that their names were called over a loud speaker every day many times a day. They were needed by  someone somewhere immediately. They changed my idea of what it was that I wanted to be.

For many years after the hospital, my toys would get wounds and I would prescribe and give them treatments. I think playing doctor; even though it sounds creepy, helped me physically and mentally overcome the trauma of being in a hospital for two months and going through Physical Therapy for years. The things kids do to heal are pretty amazing. Yes I knew I’d be a doctor or at least thought I would.

Then as the years passed I became disinterested in Neurosurgery as my hands twitched and I continued to have seizures. I was not at all academia material either I quit school in 10th grade but went back to Adult Night School to get my diploma a month later and graduated in 1981, not behind my class as it was foretold but two years before them. I then never imagined I’d ever get to college it wasn’t anything I dreamed of doing or thought about for any significant amount of time. I fell out of love with those ideas and thought about writing a book. This idea has been with me for a very long time and it grew on me to the point where I began to KNOW that one day I would write a book. I just didn’t know where to begin and I knew deep inside that I had not accomplished enough to be taken seriously.

As I got older and in my twenties I fell out of love because of boredom with Lewes, Delaware and the lack of potential success I would find there, since I didn’t drive and I had tried every profession that I thought would interest me. We didn’t have money so noone was going to send me to school and how the hell would I get there I rode a bicycle everywhere. The nearest college was in my back yard the University of Delaware, College of Marine Studies but it wasn’t enough to interest me. I think back and wonder why? I am fascinated with the water and fish and ecology and geography and the ocean, but then it just wasn’t it.

So I literally fell into college with no real plan except the idea that I was working with people and I was absolutely fascinated by developmental disabilities and mental health. The people I worked with were dually diagnosed. So Psychology was my major from the day I walked in the door. I seemed to know that very well although I had never taken a psychology course. I was just living it everyday mine and others.

My route to any success I have had has always been the road less traveled, so to speak, I did everything backwards and my school schedule is a testament to that. I took all the core courses in the beginning and all the English, Science, and History in the middle and the end. I knew something about myself; I had to keep myself interested in school because it was so very difficult to get through. I flunked so many courses and had to retake them. I had a hell of a time reading all the material and there was so much to read and learn. On top of that I worked some of the most stressful jobs one can work full time and take college courses. There were group homes, crisis hotlines, and psychiatric facilities. I was burnt every day. Just exhausted so it took me 9 years to get my degree. These were  some of the most amazing years in my life. I scraped for every cent to get to two to three classes every semester. A reminder of these times came to me tonight.

Tonight a dear friend wrote me an email about her daughter Amy whom she named after me. She was explaining to her what I went through to accomplish my goals because my namesake is also struggling to get through school. Here’s what she wrote and it moved me because you tend to forget what you had to go through to get where you are now or sometimes I do.

From Mary Tim Hare:

Hey Sweetheart: 

 

It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken but Amy keeps me updated on your Facebook doings & occasional contact. You’d be proud of your namesake Amy. She has lots of challenges but she keeps plowing on. She’s been accepted into a special Ontario apprenticeship program for hairdressing that will earn her license shortly after graduation. At the same time she’s pursuing academic math & sciences. The hope is that she’ll have the necessary high school courses for admission to veterinary school & with her hair dressing license, be able to earn the money for books & tuition. 

 Recently we had a talk about you & why I named her after you. She’s been very discouraged lately, in part because despite her desire to be a vet, she’s failing this semester’s round of advanced chemistry & math. Academics are not her long suit & every inch she gains is a struggle. I told her about your determination to earn your degree & become a psychologist; the repeated classes, finding money for tuition & seeking it out for books & living expenses; coping with the unremitting seizure disorder, the challenges that posed in academics & life; bicycling through every weather, the accidents & sometimes fear; the loss of your mother. It’s hard to get through to a teenager, especially one as oppositional as Amy can sometimes be, but I wanted her to really understand that I named her after you because I’d hoped my daughter would be like you. If she has to re take a class until she passes, do it. If she has to battle her own brain, body & sometimes despair, do it. You did & it was that example I wanted for her. I wish we had a copy of your book Amy. There’s only so much I can tell her about the determination to survive & live well despite obstacles. I’d like her to read your book (heck, I’ve always wanted to) & hear your voice, rather than mine.”

This email came to me with the subject line: Seizure Advice- and that was not about Amy but Mary Tim’s other daughter. But it got me thinking once again about, What I Dreamed I’d Be. It also took me back to a time that somehow I thought I seemingly breezed through as if unaware how difficult it was all the time and just kept plugging along. There was little time to worry about whether it would really happen because I knew I HAD to accomplish this. In my mind I would have been a failure if I didn’t get my degree. Because I felt an obligation to THE ME that I knew I could be!

That thinking has been a common theme throughout my life since I was beaten and received a TBI, “I HAVE TO” and “I Can DO!”, I actually use as mantras for my life, because there’s a ME in there, a person that Dreams of doing Something bigger than I am doing now. This feeling continues to give me an incredible sense of determination. A steadfast idea of believing that just because I had wanted to be a Harlem Globe Trotter and didn’t accomplish that. I didn’t just stop Dreaming of bigger and better. There are new things to do and accomplish.

What also interests me is that you never know what others see in you until you get a moving letter like.  I know that my namesake, my wonderful  Amy will get through whatever she needs on her own will and determination; Not because she is my namesake but because she is a strong young woman with dreams and a woman of her own determined resilience and inner strength. I believe in her and her mother does too. She also comes from a family who has suffered hard knocks and stuck together by the glue of love. This a is always a good foundation.

People with TBI understand very well that they dreamed of being one thing or were actually doing their dream and now they must Dream of being something else. It’s important to recognize that just because you didn’t get what you wanted the first time you can’t give up. It’s also crucial to understand that wanting something so badly is the fuel to a Fire within you. So hold on for the ride it’s a long one and there are hurdles to jump.

Go out there and Dream of who you want to BE, Again!

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Brain Injury Association 2015 Conference Part 2

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I had a Great Day at the BIA Conference 2015

Our Amazing TBI Support Group Leaders at the BIA 2015 Conference

Our Amazing TBI Support Group Leaders at the BIA 2015 Conference

Barb Murray and her Miracle, Paula Murray at BIA 2015 Conference

Barb Murray and her Miracle, Paula Murray at BIA 2015 Conference

Gunnar and Ginger (Proud Mom) BIA Conference 2015

Gunnar Watts His Story “How To Survive a Car Accident” and his Amazing Mom Ginger at BIA Conference 2015

Posted in brain injury, Childhood, Delaware, inspirational, Live with Purpose, rehabilitation, Resilence, Speaking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brain Injury Association of Delaware Conference 2015

Halloween 1973 Amy In Wilminton Hospital out of ICU

The Brain Injury Association of Delaware Sponsored it’s yearly Conference on March 12, 2015 in Dover, DE  “Joined Voices; Shared Journeys the Brain Injury Experience” I was honored to attend and also be asked to speak at a Break Out Group. I was also fortunate enough to be sharing the group with an amazing woman Barb Murray who has a closed group for Mothers of Miracles (M.O.M.)  on Facebook. Her Group is only for moms who are giving care to their children who are Survivors and at home. She is one of the many parents doing this very thing across America. She and her family; Mike and Paula ( a survivor)  are an inspiration to many. They are Advocates in this incredible journey and battle that we all face. I really applaud them and admire their positive attitude, strength, and humility. They are glue that holds our Sussex County TBI group together.

I have only known about the Brain Injury Association since 2011, I was so amazed to have discovered it and thrilled it existed that I began  writing emails to their Director at the time. I then wrote an article in their Brain Storming, News Letter it was about Care Takers and even though I am not one, I believed I had a unique perspective about my own Caretakers as a Survivor. My family and mom were just incredibly supportive of anything I wanted to do and they let me fail; which is something we as a society don’t want people with disabilities to do. Those failures and many successes taught me amazing  things.

The Brain Injury Association of America is a National Organization so if you need assistance in your Sate please find them on the web. Many States if not all have an affiliated office, so look in your state for resources and there are a plethora through their website  even if your own state doesn’t have what you need.

I want to continue to thank my Readers for following me and my journey and to the Survivors and the Family members, I want to say,” Don’t give up the fight!” , I have seen what I would have to call Miracles, People who are here and it is amazing they are surviving and living well;  because of the injuries they sustained. Yes they like everyone with a TBI struggle, but they are fighters like I have never seen the likes of.  The families they are passionate  about their kids and want the best and are sometimes so frustrated by the system and the lack of resources but they keep fighting; they never seem to give up. You just have to admire them. I certainly do.

My family always told me as a Child, “Never say Never!” and the word” Can’t” soon wasn’t in my vocabulary.   Believe you can, even when it seems it’s not possible and you’ll amaze yourself! Trust ME.

BIA of Delaware Conference 2015  Agenda

BIA of Delaware Conference 2015 Agenda

Amy Speaking at BIA Conference 2015 "Being Inspired Through Blogging"

Amy Speaking at BIA Conference 2015
“Being Inspired Through Blogging”

Barb Murray Speaking at BIA Conference 2015

Barb Murray Speaking at BIA 2015 Conference about her Facebook Support Group Moms of Miracles., M.O.M.

Break Out Session #3

Amy L. Kratz and Barb Murray speaking about Online Support and Inspiration for Survivors of TBI and Care Givers of Survivors.

Posted in brain injury, Delaware, disability resources, inspirational, PTSD, Resilence, Speaking, TBI, TBI resources, Uncategorized, Victim of violent crime | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

To Be Yourself

To be Nobody- e.e. cummingsI have always thought that people do not give you the belief of feeling important you give that to yourself. You do not need anyone to validate your importance in the world but we all need it sometimes. We desire our family to love us no matter what, our friends to include us, and our community to embrace us. We never expect that our world will crumble from the inside from something that happens to us on the outside. It happens and for people with traumatic brain injuries it is the beginning of a very long and arduous journey. It is a journey of discovering who we are all over again. In an instant, our sense of who we were is gone. Some of us never regain it again.

To all of us loving who we are is important so that we go out in the world and show the world that it is who we are and what we stand for and why we think the way we do and what we are capable of accomplishing. Your beliefs and ethics and morals are all significant not just to you, but to those who love you and those who you have not met yet. What happens to you when you have a brain injury is critical to the ability to be able to be cognitive of who you are. The purest sense of just being the person you are, that ability many times disappears.

The belief that you are worthy or important or that our life matters; well we wonder where it went and it is almost incomprehensible to grasp. It becomes the search for the knowing that who were is somehow still there. Your family wants you back, your friends want you back, your community and co-workers want you back and MOST of all YOU want YOU back.

You become a series of inadequacies and your feelings or sense of who you are is diminished a hundred fold. You are trapped in a body that doesn’t work properly anymore, your emotions are all over the place, and you yearn to be who you were. You may feel all of this and not even be able to speak it because you don’t have that capability. If you can actually remember who that was, would you go for it? Would you think about it every day and wish that you were there again. You’re Damn right you would!

Our sense of Self is wrapped up in the things we find important and the things we have accomplished, who we love what we enjoy. Those are not gone but you may struggle to do them or even remember what they were; so much so that they fall away from you and you have to rebuild as you struggle to catch them before they dissipate. Restoring your whole Self is no easy task and you may end up being someone you never thought you could be or you may end up never being anything you thought you’d be. Yes they sound the same but they are uniquely different in that in the latter you are not the person you thought you could be, you become a person that isn’t able to be who they would like to be. You can’t always help it; it becomes a new and unsettling reality.

Head injuries change everything and tonight I thought about that a lot. I listened tonight to some amazing people at our TBI group. People who are care takers and people who are survivors. We all are different from who we imagined we would be and our lives were changed forever by a car accident, a stroke, violence, and being hit in the head with an object. We are Different and we all are finding our way back to ourselves. I am no different from the other survivors we all struggle with similar things. The only thing that makes my situation significantly different is that I was a child, a small child and it was 41 years ago, not 10 years ago not 2 years ago, these folks are still really working hard on recovery physically and emotional and mine is more emotional, at this point and I struggle with weird things. Things that rarely anyone ever notices, some of my struggles are so ordinary they don’t seem as significant as when I walk into our group. One of them is pain, from a hundred falls from seizures, I have good days, and bad days, just like the masses. Yet they truly understand me.

Therefore, every time I attend our TBI group I come out of there feeling significantly improved upon just by being surrounded by people who care. I thank them for embracing me for who I am and encouraging the good in me, they see it and I am happy to say I know what it is too. My wish for them is to everyday fight for who they were or strive to be better so that they can find themselves again.

Posted in Advocay, brain injury, Childhood, disability, Grief, inspirational, Live with Purpose, Poet, Resilence, Stress and living, TBI, TBI resources, trauma, Uncategorized, Victim of violent crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment