At the moment my house is quiet, Dennis and Josh are out with the cows and there are still 3 kids in bed, So I will take this time to update a bit on the conference (as much as I can until the rest wake up.)
Tuesday morning this week, I drove to Dauphin for the conference and as I sat and listened to the story of the lady that was driving with me (she had read the article and has a son with an ABI, she asked if I would mind a partner for the drive up) I was thinking how, "Wow, her story is so different from any of the survivors in my life, but she 'gets' what I talk about!" Then as I was sitting in Dauphin, listening to other stories around the room and then the other thoughts started "I don't know why I am here. Sam is not even in this 'league', maybe I am making a mistake about being here. I should have stayed home and helped Dennis. I feel so silly sitting here thinking that Sam's issues can even begin to compare with what some of these people are dealing with..."
Then the speakers started... and as I sat and listened and learned (ya I was shocked too!), we may be miles from where we were in the beginning but we still have miles to go in other areas, big areas, small areas... and then there is the' territoried' area we haven't even begun to 'explore' yet!
I learned about AMBIGUOUS LOSS.
AMBIGUOUS LOSS-- (defined by Dr. Pauline Boss) an unclear loss either physical absence with psychological presence OR physical presence with psychological absence.
This is something I had felt for years with my dad but people would say I was 'crazy' to think like this. I have always felt that my dad - the person who was my dad- died 15yrs ago and now the man who is left is still 'dad' but not the man I grew up knowing. This is ambiguous loss. My dad and Samuel are both still physically with us but both are different from how they were before their brain injuries. My dad is obviously more so, but there is still a loss with Samuel too. It was so uplifting to hear that I was NOT crazy (ok just not for this area☺) and that it is a 'normal occurence' with family and caregivers. I actually have 2 friends who BOTH told me that it was HORRIBLE for me to feel that my dad was gone, especially when e was right there in front of me! But I am sure that if everyone sat and thought about it, we have all experienced some form of ambiguous loss at sometime. It can happen even when someone does die, but eventually you are able to work thru te grief and go on, other times, like with a BI survivor (or probably ANY survivor), it is hard to 'get over it' when you live it daily.
Here are a few DID YOU KNOW tidbits...
ABI is one of the most common causes of disability and deaths in adults and is the leading cause of death in Canadians under the age of 45.
The annual incidence of brain injury is greater than that of Multiple Scleriosis, Spinal cord injuries, HIV/AIDS and Breast Cancer combined!
There are 3 times as many deaths from BI than from AIDS in the USA in a year.
There are more BI every year than ALL types of cancer combined!
Every Year in Canada, over 60 children will die as a result of bicylce related injuries, the majority from brain in jury.
22% of people with a BI will never leave thier homes.
In Ontario, 92% of men and 100% of women who sustain a severe BI never return to full time employment.
Bicyclists wearing helmuts reduce the risk of a BI by 88%.
Many people who previously would have died from thier BI now surivive, but with a diminished capacity for living.
More than half of Toronto's homeless have suffered a BI - and 70% of those did so prior to ending up on the street!
After one BI, you are THREE times at a greater risk for a second BI and EIGHT times greater for subsequent injuries.
After reading these it really makes me wonder why there is not MORE AWARENESS out there about ABI/TBI!? We need to spread the word and get people learning about this! Learning that BI's are nothing to be ashamed of and there needs to be more support to survivors, famiies and caregivers! Get educated and spread the word!!!!
(I am now stepping down off my soapbox and going to begin my morning... with a cup of coffee, a handful of TBI papers to read and sit on my swing on the verandah! Happy Saturday!!!☺)