Most of my long time readers know the story behind my daughter's brain injury. However, I have quite a few new readers who may or may not have gotten that far in my blog and our story. My daughter has a severe traumatic brain injury. She was shaken. Yes, my daughter was shaken. Yes, she is MY biological child (it really peeves me when people ask me if she was mine. Oh and you wouldn't believe that people ask me if I did it... really? Come on!). She is MY baby. Forever. I carried her for 42 weeks (Yep! I was miserably overdue in the extreme Arizona summer heat.). I went through labor and delivery. I went through every fear of being a mother with her. My ultimate fear came true- my daughter was abused. Severely. It's not believed by the doctors, detectives, attorneys that this was abuse that was happening for a long time. As a matter of fact, we all believe this was a one time incident. The person who did this snapped and sadly, my daughter pays the price of this "snap" and will pay for the rest of her life. My daughter's brain will never heal. The parts that are damaged and parts that were removed are gone. Forever. Her left hand will never function. She will always have a limp. She will always have cognitive delays and issues with controlling her emotions. These are the cold hard facts of her life.
She was 11 months old when she was injured. As a matter of fact, her injurversay (Thanks Renee for that word!) is in a little over a month from now, July 8, 2004. She will be 10 in two months.
I spent the first few years after her injury depressed. I was despondent. I felt so much despair, anger, sadness, hatred, and I grieved. I grieved hard. It hurt so deeply to know that somebody intentionally hurt my daughter and almost stole her life. My daughter is lucky- she's alive. Not only is she alive- she can walk, talk, make decisions, argue, sing, laugh, and do the things that other children who have suffered from shaken baby syndrome can't do.
The person who did this only received a sentence of five years probation. I grieved over what I perceived to be injustice. My daughter is worth more than five years PROBATION. My daughter will NEVER go to college. She will NEVER live on her own. I will be taking care of her for the rest of our lives.
However. A big however. I learned to forgive this person. Forgiving somebody does not mean that you are saying what they did was ok. What was done was NOT ok but I love myself and my daughter too much to live in the anger, the hatred, the sadness, and all the heart-destroying emotions that was overcoming me. I even distanced myself emotionally from my daughter. I needed to be healthier to take care of my child. I forgave for me. I forgave for my daughter. I also have learned to forgive myself. I had no control over what happened. I can't change it. If I could, I would but that's not possible and there's no use focusing on what can never be. I no longer hate this person. As a matter of fact, I hope that this person has peace. I am still seeking full peace. I am trying. I constantly falter. I cuss too much. I am impatient. I can be mean. I am trying to better myself each and every day. When my emotions are out of whack, my daughter reacts. She's too important to me. I spent too many years being focused on what happened to her to see that she needed my attention. She needed my focus. She needed me. She needed ME to be with her MENTALLY and EMOTIONALLY. I am not 100% healed, I don't believe I will be 100%. I still have flashbacks to the moment I saw her lying in the ICU with tubes out of her head, in a coma on life support. I still remember the two months we lived in the hospital while she was recovering. I still flashback to the phone call. The emergency room. To sitting on the homicide floor at police headquarters while my daughter was in emergency neurosurgery. I can't forget.
I get better every day.
I get stronger each day.
I am slowly becoming more patient.
I am becoming a better parent each day.
I learned to not focus on what happened.
I learned not to focus on what could have been.
I embrace what is.
My daughter can do ballet. An adaptive ballet.
My daughter gets to enjoy life.
I chant and meditate.
Buddhism has helped me find peace just as your faith helps to guide you to find yours.
I forgave so I could move on with my life and release the bitterness that grabbed a hold of me. It helps my daughter to know that we live for today. Or so I try. It's been nearly nine years... maybe in another nine, I will be 9 times stronger and so will my daughter. A work in progress. I am moody and tempermental but I am getting better each day.