December 17th marked the one year anniversary of my brain injury. My family even celebrated it with a birthday cake, we make a lot of jokes in our house, if we didn’t we would cry even more. This past year has been a constant learning process and never ending firsts for most things. There have been so many things that I have experienced for the first time since dealing with retrograde amnesia. I am still amazed after one year how many things I have forgotten over the life of 46 years. In this past year I have learned that family is the most important aspect of my life, without my wife Joan and my daughter Taylor I do not feel I would have survived this horrific accident. They have helped me learn to cope with losing my memory and to teach me acceptance and patience. Both have taught me how to be a husband and how to be a father by sharing stories of my past as well as describing my reactions to situations in my previous life. Although my son Grant has not been around for much of this year I try to better understand how he struggles with his own life. I know deep down Grant desires to be involved in our family but he seems to be fighting his inner self to allow himself to fully accept his sobriety and this causes our family much pain.
This past year I am also putting together some of the puzzle pieces as to who I am as a man, husband, father, son and business man. This process of reinventing myself is still the hardest for me to deal with. The thought of me ever figuring out who I once was and how I can become that person without having any memories to go on is a daunting task at best. I have done so many things this year to try and recreate my past but it still seems like I am living someone else’s life and not my own.
This one year anniversary has also marked many good experiences, from becoming a board member of the NFL Alumni Arizona Chapter and serving on the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of Arizona. Taking an active role in serving the community has been very rewarding to me and has also began to lay a foundation for me on what truly matters in terms of success. With our story being aired on ABC’s Nightline in the next couple of weeks and our book deal in the works, Joan and I have realized the importance of giving back to the community and taking an active role in philanthropy. We find it important to be able to share our story through our professional speaking as well as telling our story throughout the community to provide inspiration and hope to all who need a lift in their spirits.
After the first three months of feeling really bad with the constant headaches and mass doses of narcotics for the pain I have learned to cope with this condition and to make the best of life under these circumstances. I truly look forward to the year 2010 as being one of many changes in our lives as well as learning many new things and experiencing all of life’s finest.