Be Careful Getting Out of the Car!
Jane Parks-McKay—a freelance writer, former teacher and journalist, and a longtime member of Central Coast Writers—saw her life turn upside-down one day in 2007, when her husband, Tim McKay, knocked his head on the door frame while getting out of a car. What started out as a seemingly-innocent “bump on the noggin” quickly turned into a serious and debilitating traumatic brain injury. Just like that, Jane found herself thrust into the unfamiliar role of full-time caregiver. In an ironic twist of fate, Jane suffered a similar injury this past December, smacking her head on the door frame while getting out of an SUV. In the following essay, Jane demonstrates the power of writing and sharing as she transitions in and out of the roles of caregiver and cared-for.
I’m home recovering from a brain injury. It has its ups and downs. The ups are being able to stop and smell the proverbial roses. The downs are being able to stop and smell the roses BUT life goes at … such … glacial … speed!
Four months into this Great Adventure, I’m already starting to wonder if I’m on a different planet professionally from others. The world seems to be going past me at warp speed and each day I feel more behind. I’m also becoming acutely aware of my 60-something age. Did I always have that stiff, walk like an arthritic older woman four months ago?
Realizing That Her Time Is Slowing Down
Recently I’ve realized that it’s someone else’s turn to get the nurturing that has been extended to me for so many years. Others helped me along all those years when I was on the fast track and like it or not, my time is slowing down. As I interact with people over the phone or at the stores, I ask myself, “Can they really be out of high school? They look sooooo young!”
The other day, a young professional we had worked with asked me to write an online review for him. He had worked very hard on our behalf and I was happy to oblige. As I was thinking about his many attributes, I realized that he wasn’t even alive when we bought our home a mere 25 years ago. When I emailed our niece who works at Zillow for some advice on how to work the blankety-blankety website, I realized here again I’m dealing with a college graduate who had been in the professional workforce a few years by now.
At 25, I remembered I felt I had it so together. How many ‘older’ people looked upon me the same way so many years ago?
In the end today, what I was left with was a smile on my face and in my heart knowing that I was helping to pass the torch on, it was their time, not mine anymore. Pretty neat.
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This column first appeared in the Cedar Street Times, April 29, 2016. To find out more about the writing, editing, book design, publication, and marketing services offered by Park Place Publications, and for a free consultation, contact Patricia at 831/649-6640, firstname.lastname@example.org