Alive Day


A year ago today I woke up to discover that the world as I knew it had come crashing down. There are a lot of metaphors people use to describe brain injury – it’s a marathon, it’s a rollercoaster, it’s a journey. And it’s true. Brain injury is all these things at different times and the experience is different for each of the people involved. For me, brain injury has been an earthquake: a sudden and surprising jolt to the foundation of my life. And while August 18th signifies the day of initial impact, the past 365 days have consisted of a series of aftershocks that sometimes felt as devastating as the earthquake itself.

I’ve spent a lot of time convincing myself that if I worked hard enough, fought harder, and persevered  I could somehow “fix” the cracked foundation of our new life. TC’s survival was a miracle that led me to think we could miraculously glue the rest of the pieces of our life back together. I’ve spent a year frantically scrambling for pebbles, trying to create a mosaic from what was once a watercolor canvas. But that’s not the way brain injury works. You don’t “fix” brain injury. You don’t “fix” people. You heal them. And you heal yourself.

It’s easy to look at people’s lives and say, “That could never happen to me” or “That’s not the way to do it.” The past year has been a very humbling experience in that respect. I thought we had it all together. And maybe we did. But none of us have total control over what happens in our lives. And none of us know how we’ll handle a particular situation until we are forced to confront it head-on. The best we can do is reserve judgment in our examination of other people’s lives and to practice self-forgiveness in our own.

I accept now that we can’t glue our life back together. The cracks are permanent. Instead we can learn to live with the imperfections of our foundation, to look for new and creative ways to cross the divide, and to plant a tree wherever there is hopelessness or desolation. We can acknowledge the blessings along with the challenges and grow stronger at the broken places. 

Before I go celebrate with my beautiful family, allow me to say thank you for everything you have done to get us to this day. Each message, e-mail, comment, and prayer was the inspiration that got us through another minute, another hour, another day of this experience. Thank you for being there and for not leaving. You’ll never know the power of your kindness.

7 thoughts on “Alive Day

  1. I am in awe if your spirit and determination. Your opening up to all of us has made us rethink how we handle everyday things. I am inspired by your strength and love. God bless always!


  2. Abby, what an incredible writer you are. Came across your family story while reading IN THE CAPITOL Facebook page, and think/pray for you consistently. WOW, what a journey. My family experienced a similar life-changing situation when my 15 year old baby brother became a quadrapelegic from a car accident. Because of this, I feel a lot of the emotion you feel everyday. Feelings that most can only read about, so know there is a lady in northern Kentucky who prays for you and your dear family and REALLY understands. Keep up the great work, abide in God’s promises and remember to take care of yourself!


  3. Abby–I heard about the life-changing story of your husband and you on the news. I think its wonderful that you are using social media to share your story with others. Sharing does help self and others, I have found, since experiencing an SCI some 15 years ago. On a different note, I work on a project that offers very good (and totally free) resources for those who live with TBI found at I think you’ll find our video on relationships and TBI very helpful. Wishing you and your family all the best.


  4. Abby, you are so good to share your courageous journey with all of us; even if we never have to go through anything as horrific as the past year you and TC have experienced, we are strengthened for our own challenges by hearing about your vulnerability, doubts, triumphs and low points. Thank you for your humanity and the gifts of knowledge and experience you give us as we pray for good outcomes for the Maslins. Keep on writing!! You rock.


  5. It has been an honor to meet up with you and TC here and there along this road you have traveled these last twelve months. Your courageous and eloquent sharing with us all on this journey has greatly enriched my life and I’m sure the lives of many other readers here. May the next year be one of bountiful harvest!


  6. Abby, since the early days of my son’s accident, I have peaked and peered at your page from time to time. I can so relate to what you write, and I have actually been able to use your tools for myself and others. I do know parts of your journey, and you would be so familiar with parts of mine. As we both know, each TBI is remarkably different and it’s affects touch so many ranges of the spectrum of the brain. TC is so fortunate to have you by his side. You sound like a truly loving and dedicated soul mate. Thank you for sharing with us, Abby. Godspeed to you and yours. ~ Nicole


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