Joyce sent the final manuscript of my book – Forgetting the Former Things: Brain Injury’s Invitation to Vulnerability and Faith to Wipf and Stock publishers on June 1. At first, she was going to edit my work but as the days progressed, it became clear my brain injury challenges made this impossible.
I needed her organizational, integration and her concentration skills – all which are challenges for me. I wanted the book to be theological, not just biographical which meant I had to integrate theology into my story. She did this for me or I wouldn’t have been able to write it. I understood the integration but I was unable to do it alone. So the authorship is “Tamara Puffer with Joyce Hollyday.”
The reality that I could not write the book alone didn’t really hit me until she sent it off to the publisher. My mind flooded with thoughts such as, “I can’t even write a book by myself!” and “Other brain injury survivors have written books alone! What is wrong with me?”
My thoughts got darker and darker as they tend to do. I was falling off a cliff – which is how I describe my depression. I didn’t know how to stop falling and I ended up in darkness.
Last week my husband Michael and I went to Myrtle Beach. I asked him to go alone but he refused. I didn’t want to go but I forced myself because the beach is his healing place. I told him I would try my best not to bring him down but I couldn’t guarantee it.
The first couple of days I tried really hard to engage but it was difficult. I had trouble sleeping the first couple of nights and one day we went on a bit of a wild goose chase trying to find a certain park. When I couldn’t sleep I sat outside on the balcony overlooking the beach.
It was then that I remembered the sermon Joyce and I preached at Circle of Mercy several months ago. I spoke about needing Joyce’s help but that was okay. I said something like, All of us need help. I can be a minister of vulnerability now. This frees up others to be vulnerable as well.
The last couple of days there were totally different because I remembered what my call is now: Minister of Vulnerability.