by Linda W. Arms, dated Dec. 20, 2012
Six years ago, in 2006, I could not face Christmas at home as I did in my past. In January of that year I had the accident that caused my TBI. By December of that year, I had not made much progress in my recovery. I could not face the Christmas decorations and products that I saw in stores already in October. I would get tears in my eyes. The difficulties I had just in being in a store became even worse because of the emotions that my brain was having to deal with. I was OVERWHELMED by the thought of putting up a tree, buying presents and doing any of the things I normally did in the past, including always having a big holiday get together at my home. I just couldn’t face it. It just was not possible to be who I was before. So I, my husband and daughter, ran away.
We went to a place I used to live growing up and that I have many fond memories of. We went to Germany where Christmas is still celebrated in a much quieter style. We stayed in a small village. We bought a tiny tree about 12 inches tall with a few decorations already on it. We enjoyed some very low-key events in this village that did not allow cars on many of its streets. I could face Christmas here. I did not have to try to be the person of my adult past. I took many naps. I could not count the money to pay for things. I could not sort out many things I used to know about being there. I leaned on my family. Even with all these things in my way, it is still a wonderful memory that I have of this special time when we ran away from Christmas . Today, six years later, Christmas is still much, much simpler compared to “before the accident” but I don’t feel I have to run away. I am getting better in small doses. I hope all of you are finding yourself better than last year. Have a Merry Christmas!