Oh, those rose colored glasses – tinted with that blend of colors that darkens the suns and tints even the faces of my grandchildren. Those glasses that I wear that allow me to see into a world that I had not planned on being in. A world always tinted that shade of pink with a hue of brown allows me to work and function in the world of bright fluorescent lighting and sunshine. Without them a torrid of symptoms erupt and can cause migraines and eye fatigue.
Oh, those rose colored glasses are so different from the ones I had heard of long ago. Those glasses that people seem to think help you see the world in a positive light. A light that makes all look well and promising. How untrue, how simplistic a view that so many have. Yet, for me it is a varied type of reality that my rose colored glasses bring. It is the reality of living with a TBI.
Four years ago I was in a rollover. We had just left my grandson’s baseball game and were headed home when we were t-boned. The details of the accident do not matter much, but the changes in the my life do. That person in that car is no more. Or maybe, I should say that she does exist and is alive, yet the essence of her being is modified. Back then I lived a life filled with teaching and traveling when I desired via car or plane. Driving was a joy even in the busy streets of a city as long as I was bound to a site that I’d enjoy the day. I loved being able to drive to distant places and relish in the cultures and levities of the locale. Now, I am to drive within a twenty minute from home range as to avoid fatigue etcetera. I am learning to enjoy the local flavor of life. I have found a few places that I did not know of before, but mostly, I miss being able to go on an adventure to the local state parks and sites that I had grown to love. The one I miss the most is being able to go see my grandchildren. To be there for their ball games, their concerts, and all that life envelops pains me. I love seeing the photos on Facebook and being able to live through the pictures but it is not the same. I have wished for one of those self driving cars. I could travel once again as I had to see the animals at the zoo in Cleveland or the Chihuly glass exhibit in a nearby city. I could go to the markets and venues of Cleveland and maybe even see a professional ball game with the kids. I miss being able to travel where I wish. I cannot even fly to locations like I used to as I cannot get to the airport without having a driver. Those rose colored glasses help but they are not an answer.
Oh, those rose colored glasses that once helped me to believe in the system that would be there for me if I needed them are gone. Those glasses filled my mind with illusions that I would one day be taken care of by my retirement system, The process would not be hard and I would get from the system I had paid into what was due. But now that my new rose colored glasses are from whence I see the world I see that the system does not always work. For those of us with TBI the proof of our disability is almost impossible. Then on top of that to find a doctor that will fill out the paperwork is another task indeed. What you think will be there for you might just be an illusion from that old rose colored mentality. Not all is greener on the other side of the fence. True, I know get the standard retirement I would have. I am thankful for the approximately four tenths I made while working. But you need to also see that gone are the days of a full income. Gone are the days of saving for retirement, but more than that gone are the days of living my dream job. Gone are the days of building up the increments I will be paid. I am here by happenstance not by choice. In addition to the retirement system the settlement from the car insurance company barely covered my medical bills. There is no big pay off in the books for me. It may be possible for some, but my advice is to NEVER rely on it.
My rose colored glasses have helped me to see so many things. There are many who live in this world who may not have on the physical glasses but see the world in a new way. They are like me in that they had one life, had to let it go, and have moved on. I am blessed to work in a place (part time) where I see these folks daily. I now cook part time in a county facility where those who need respite care etcetera come to live. Each day when I serve them I see the faces of those who have put aside the life they once had. Some were engineers, soldiers, professors, and laborers for the good of the people. Yet, now for varied reasons they are a new person. A person who lives a life perhaps not by choice, but by the result of a card they were dealt in their lives; vehicle accidents, illnesses, fires that destroyed their homes and took all of their belongings and more. Those moments that you see on the movies or in the news that seem out of reach for you. Those things are what effects others, not you. Until they do. Then and there the rose colored glasses begin to take on a new shade and color of their own.
I ask today that you take a look at how you see the world. Are you wearing those optimistic, it will never happen to me glasses or are you wearing the type that I have? Seeing the world through a new hue isn’t a bad thing. It can shape you and mold you to be a new person that has strengths and weaknesses like everyone else. Change is inevitable. It will happen. I just pray that the way you see the world is not out of a magical belief that all will be the way you plan it. Life happens, card are dealt. Rose colored glasses are broken. I pray you will never wear the glasses that I do. But, if you do know that you are not alone.