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meaning | ˈmēni ng |
noun
what is meant by a word, text, concept, or action
adjective
intended to communicate something that is not directly expressed

meaningful
| ˈmēni ng fəl |
adjective
having meaning
• having a serious, important, or useful quality or purpose


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Caregivers, Healing and Traumatic Brain Injury

Question
My husband and I have been married for 35 years and have two sons. Almost 10 years ago my youngest son who was attending his 5th and final year of university for computer sciences was hit by a car. We lived in a motel room for a year to be by his side while he was in a coma and slowly was able to be brought home. Our son has severe brain damage but is aware of who he was and how close he was to reaching his dreams that he had worked so hard for. The lawyer we hired ended up leaving our son so short of money that we cannot afford for him to be placed in residential care where we know he would flourish with peers and activities.

We live in rural Canada and there are no services for our son. He requires 24/7 care and this has taken a huge toll on us... and all those who love him. My son is lonely and unable to even watch t.v. or amuse himself for a minute... he requires one on one care day-in and day-out. It is beyond heart breaking to look into the very eyes of your child and miss him as you do. Our greatest fear is what will happen to our son when we are no longer here to watch over him.


We have been banging our heads against walls trying to find help, and each time the bottom line is, you don't have enough money. And now our son's behaviours are so bizarre and socially unacceptable that we can no longer even go out in the community... I have maintained a positive attitude throughout and yet nothing seems to ever be enough. Our oldest son has drifted away, no one visits us because the injured son is all consuming, and we can't even have a conversation without him needing something.


I was wondering if you had any word of advice for us. We feel hope fading, we feel helpless, scared and heart broken. Our lives, all of our lives, have been twisted and there seems to be no end in sight. My dream is to see our son happy and content among peers and have activities; to feel he belongs and that he counts. I appreciate any input or advice that you might have for us. Thank you.


- Mother of a family in distress for too long

Answer
First of all, let me say how sorry I am to learn of your story. As a father, I understand the hopes, aspirations and unconditional love that we have for our children. To see them suffer and unable to enjoy life is a pain no parent should ever suffer. My heart goes out to you and your family.

I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to maintain hope in your lives with the constant care that your son requires, his apparent lack of progress and the impact it is having on your lives. Thus my counsel to you is twofold, one part for your son and another for yourselves. As caregivers, the healing energy that flows through you is directly correlated with your well being. What this means is that you need to nurture your Body, Spirit and Mind so that you can help your son. And as difficult as that might seem to be for you, it is imperative that you nurture yourself. We all need nurturing, but those that care for others need it the most.

I want to assure you that there is a path of healing for all of us including your son. As an individual, your son consists of a Body, Spirit and Mind that was on a path to becoming complete before this unfortunate accident. In this, try and imagine his growth from birth until the accident in terms of his Body, Spirit and Mind as separate entities. For example, your son was born with no knowledge whatsoever but his Mind began a rapid growth towards becoming more complete up until his accident. In his fifth year at University, your son was at the pinnacle of his mental growth. And then this unfortunate accident occurred and his mental growth plummeted.


As you can see in the chart above, your son's Mind was rapidly growing up until the moment of his accident. With a traumatic brain injury, your son's Mind is unable to grow on its own because his brain is not directly providing him with the usual inputs, information and experiences. It is as if the foundation of his house was suddenly built on sand rather than solid footing. Thus his efforts to continue operating as usual are thwarted because his brain isn't sending him the same signals as before. But that doesn't mean that his Mind is unable to function, he just isn't getting the information he needs to grow.

So too his Body was maintaining health or a slight decline due to aging. I can't tell anything about your son's physical condition from your letter but I surmise he was living a youthful existence:


Whereas we would expect your son's Body and Mind rapidly growing towards becoming complete at this stage in his life, the chart above depicts the opposite occurring as you described. Without the ability to function as before, your son's Body and Mind are not being nurtured as they should. And as much as you try to facilitate this for him, I'm sure you've experienced the difficulties present in doing this for someone who cannot function on their own.

But your son's Spirit is undamaged and unencumbered through the accident. In fact, your Son's Spirit is not only flourishing, but is capable of sending everything your Son needs to heal. The reason for this is because our Spirits are not constrained to our physical Bodies and are connected directly to God. As such, your Son's Spirit has direct access to the healing life force energy of God.

Whereas your Son's Mind and Body may be on the decline, your Son's Spirit is strong and needs the Body and Mind in order to thrive. We are all called to fulfill our purpose by choosing love, uniting Humanity and expanding God's presence in the Universe. Your son is no different in this regard and God wants nothing more than for your son to be a healthy, thriving member of Humanity.

I know it is difficult in these situations to not conceptualize God as a judgmental being that chooses who gets in car accidents and who does not. But God neither chose this for your son nor chose not to intervene. In the limitless lives we experience with God, this is but a moment in the immortal life of your Son's Spirit. Thus this temporary time is but an isolated experience in the total life of your Son. But that doesn't mean that he must spend this lifetime trapped by his injury. Healing is possible.

The key to healing is to communicate to the Spirit that your son is a thriving, contributing member of Humanity in the present moment. Your job is to express to his Spirit that your son requires more, not less, life force energy to achieve his purpose. As you'll see in Inspiration Divine, the Spirit lives in the domain of the future and therefor only aspires for what your son can be. While the Mind lives in the past and the Body in the present moment, the Spirit's focus on the future is what provides the means to channel God's healing life force energy to your son.

The Body communicates to the Spirit through the language of sensation so enlivening the five sensual dimensions is how you'll open up your son's line of communication to his Spirit:
  1. Hearing - speak in the Body's present tense and communicate how your son is a thriving member of the human race. Tell the Spirit what it wants to hear by describing how your son is choosing to love, uniting Humanity and expanding God's presence by creating that which didn't exist before. You know your son better than anyone so imagine what he would be accomplishing if the accident weren't to have happened. Let your prayers be vocal and convey what is going to be but in the present tense.
  2. Smell - awaken your son's sense of smell by incorporating a wide range of smells into this communication experience. From pungent to sweet, employ a dynamic range of aromas to bind your son's experience and trigger distant memories.
  3. Taste - bring your son's sense of taste to the surface by incorporating different flavors. Bring your son's favorite foods into the mix.
  4. Sight - regardless of your son's reaction, expose his eyes to stimulating visuals of the human condition. Before his accident, your son experienced a whole host of visual experiences and you should stimulate his visual senses like you would strengthen a muscle. Variety and intensity (within range, of course).
  5. Touch - You mentioned that your son was studying computer science prior to his accident and I can imagine his fingers touched a keyboard several times a day. Thus one of your son's primary input sensations was through his fingertips. Without expectation of function, provide him with the feel of a keyboard, the experience of typing or any other tactile sensation from his past.
Think of these techniques as therapy. You're slowly opening up the lines of communication between the Body and the Spirit. By flooding the Spirit with input of your son's experiences and communicating his active lifestyle necessitating energy for expansion, your convincing the Spirit to give your son everything that he needs to heal.

And as the Spirit communicates to the Mind, the healing life force energy of the Mind is directly channeled to where your son needs healing the most. By continually bathing your son with God's healing life force energy in this way you'll be awakening what has gone dormant.

I can't tell you that this will bring swift or dramatic results. But what I can tell you is that the healing life force energy of God knows no boundaries and healing is possible for your son. As his caregivers you are also his primary healers. During this time, I highly encourage you to practice your faith and include your son in your religion. As a member of your family, his Spirit needs nurturing and the nurturing of your Spirit will also nurture his Spirit.

I look forward to the complete recovery of your son. God wants your son to be at his best and I hope this provides you with hope for the future.

Namaste,

Darwin Stephenson

2 comments:

Andrew Sutton said...

I have deep sympathy for your plight and your son's. I would ask you to try giving him the sleeping medicine zolpidem ( aka Ambien) because many people with all kinds of brain injury have responded to it. Responders have had strokes, trauma in accidents, near drowning, heart attacks etc. There appears to be about a 40 chance of a response. Try sub-sedative doses such as 5mg (10 mg is the usual sleeping dose at night) You can read all about this discovery in an illuminating book by Dr Ralf Clauss called Hope in Brain Damage. You can preview it at www.hopeinbraindamage.co.uk or of course do a Google on zolpidem brain damage etc.
Good luck.
Dr Andrew Sutton

Sybil Reisch said...

As a retired Special Education teacher, and the mother of a child with special needs, I agree with Darwin in his suggestions to you. I also recommend reading the book I wrote about how God's Spirit helped us through the joys and challenges of a son who lived with Down syndrome for 27 years: "Journey With Jeff; Inspiration for Caregivers of People With Special Needs." This is available at Amazon.com. God's best blessings always. Sybil Y. Reisch