My brother discovered a love of writing about five years ago and has written more than 200 essays. However, Marty’s “voice” has been silent since June when a series of seizures left him with substantial memory loss (click here to read more about this). Since then, many of you have asked how he’s doing, and I’m thrilled to let him tell you himself. The following is Marty’s first essay since his brain injury. I couldn’t be more proud of the progress he’s made.
“I have no yesterdays – only today”
By Marty Haraldson
A person reading the title of this short essay might say that I have written that incorrectly. It should read, “I have no ‘tomorrow’ – only today.” We are never guaranteed tomorrow. But on the morning of June 23, a Thursday morning, things for me went from normal and everyday to extraordinary and life changing. It was on that morning that I lost my yesterdays and started struggling to recall the events of each “today.” Now, if I do not record the events of each day, those events fail to become memories.
It was a Thursday morning. It was trash day in our neighborhood. That meant taking the garbage can and the recycling container down to the curb early in the morning before going to work. I did just that. That’s the last thing I remember doing for the next three weeks. After walking back into the house, I apparently suffered a “rapid succession of un-witnessed seizures,” according to the medical report. These seizures caused a neurological memory loss and a psychological memory loss. I spent the next two weeks in the hospital and a third week in a care center.
This event makes it difficult for me to learn new things and remember new things, even simple things. As far as remembering what I did yesterday or the days preceding, I cannot remember unless I have a written record of what happened. If I fail to write down what I did yesterday, where I went yesterday, or whom I saw yesterday, I’ll most likely not be able to remember it. I’m embarrassed when I walk into the offices where I once worked for 30 years and not remember everyone’s name. It bothers me, too, that I cannot remember all of my neighbor’s names. Even more embarrassing is when I cannot remember my own phone number or my home address that I’ve had for 20 years. It’s then that I realize and accept that something is really wrong with me.
When the doctors and therapists say my “possible” recovery may take a very long time or that my recovery may not be “full” or “complete,” I must prepare myself for that possibility both physically and mentally. I cannot live with blinders on. I’ve always taken on life and responsibilities with both eyes wide open and given it my all. There’s no reason for me not to do the same in my present situation.
I realize that this is not what I asked for. I’ll now be living on disability income. My life now moves at a considerably slower pace. I’ve been accepted as a volunteer at the S.T.E.P. program in my city where I’ll be helping with their food shelf program. My truck and I will be put to good use to help those in need. I hope to get back to my former self, but much has to happen before that is possible. Until then, I’ll make the best of what God has allowed to happen in my life. I hope you, too, allow Him to make the best of your life!