February 22nd was Ben's 27th birthday. He celebrated by eating birthday cake and had a day of fun with activities and receiving calls and messages from friends and family. Social contact is what Ben loves best and he enjoyed every minute of the day. Ben still lives in Colorado. He still requires a supportive environment that caters to the needs of a traumatic brain injury survivor. Although Ben can do many things, he still has deficits in memory and needs monitoring in social situations. His problematic behaviors have diminished with good medical care and a supportive environment. He is quite a character with a quick smile, a great sense of humor, and an eclectic fashion sense. Everyday I thank God for leading us to Colorado and for the amazing helpers that help Ben navigate his world.
In May it will be 4 years since Ben's accident. The home where Ben lives has a beautiful mountain view. He has started guitar lessons and has started an exercise program. It is restful. I visited Ben the weekend before his birthday. We shopped for clothes, took long drives, listened to music, tried a new church and had a special birthday dinner out. Ben was joyful and intently interested in everything we did. He tells his story to anyone who wants to listen and is quick to point out that God saved him for a reason. I am backing up Ben's story everywhere we go with the miraculous facts of his survival. It's like walking around with a magnet that draws people in. If you don't want to witness about what God can do, don't go anywhere with Ben. A spotlight seems to follow him wherever he goes. You will be speaking to the manager in every restaurant or store as Ben asks about the business and compliments everyone he sees. You will get opinions from strangers on anything Ben wants to know because Ben will ask. You will see the look of incredulous disbelief on every face when the facts of Ben's life become apparent and are shared. Every time he leaves the house, it is an adventure. Every time he leaves the house, I believe he touches someone's life.
I do wish there was more progress in areas of struggle for Ben. I want him to remember what I tell him consistently. I want him to control his behavior and self monitor in all situations without help. I want him to process steps to a goal and get started on that goal. Statistically the chance of huge strides in healing diminish as time moves forward. Ben is young, however, and change is happening. More importantly, I believe that good things are happening even now. A wonderful life skills worker shared a video of a friend of hers reading the first few pages of the devotional written about Ben's accident. This person was emotional and obviously touched. He almost couldn't get through it. Ben's story spoke to him deeply. This worker shared this with me at a moment when I was asking God, "So is this it, Lord? Is this what Ben's life will always be?" Even if it is, God is in control and it is enough. It will be for good!
The purpose of this blog is to show how faith, my professional training and a healthy sense of humor taught me and continues to teach me that Jesus Christ is always in control. I am a fellow learner as this journey for my child unfolds. My wish is that Ben's legacy gives others hope where there seems to be none. It is also my desire that the information I have assimilated with my medical mind and filtered through a mother's heart gives practical ways to deal with this ever-changing chronic disease. Finally, for the many friends and family members who continue to follow Ben's life change after the injury, the story continues.