Gabby Giffords squelched all talk about whether she would run again for another term in Congress by resigning this week. I must say, I am not at all surprised. A part of me was fearful that she would run again for lack of awareness is very common for TBI survivors. I thought I could go back to full time ministry and figured I would be able to do this after resigning as an associate pastor. I volunteered as a chaplain at a retirement center thinking eventually I would go back to full time ministry. After doing this for several years, it became clear to me this wasn’t going to happen.

She has received much attention in the press. I can’t imagine having to deal with the challenges of TBI while being so much in the public eye. I would love to see her recover to the point where she could work as a congressperson again but I really doubt that will happen. I remember my TBI therapists tried to steer me away from ministry but I wouldn’t listen. I was convinced I would be back.

I think I am ultra sensitive to any talk about working as I did before. I want Gabby to go back to Congress while at the same time, I would be jealous if she did. Thoughts would probably flood my mind. “Why did God let her go back to what she loved, but didn’t allow me to return as a minister? What is wrong with me? Did I not try hard enough?” Today I just have to tell myself to stop thinking this way. It serves no purpose and I only feel worse when I do.

I looked at that “Welcome to Holland” piece again. (Feb. 9, 2011) It helps me see the things I have gained among the losses and how the pain of this is never going to go away. I’m also reminded that in many ways, I’ve become stronger. Gabby and other brain injury survivors in the public eye are helping folks become more aware of this injury and that’s a good thing. Every brain injury is different and just because someone else can return to what they did before, doesn’t mean everyone can. (And if I’m totally honest with myself, I don’t know a single survivor with an injury as severe as mine, who has been able to return to the job they had before.)

Today a friend gave me a wonderful gift. She made some moon earrings for me to wear. Moons are a powerful symbol for me and I will wear them as a reminder of the moon which shines brightly in the dark sky despite everything.

What are your thoughts about Gabby Giffords? If you are a survivor, what has changed for you and what has if anything, remained the same or gotten better? See top right for commenting instructions.