Message from Angela

Each month I try and impart some wisdom learned along the way. Everyday we learn something new if we allow ourselves this opportunity. In March and April, unlike the previous months, I find joy in the little things such as being acknowledged and welcomed.

Acknowledgement is defined as, “To recognize as genuine or valid, to take notice of, to express  gratitude or obligation” (Merriam-Webster online dictionary). A welcome sign invites weary travelers into a place of rest. A plate of cookies or a glass of lemonade reassures the guest that your visit or stay is wanted. A smile, a nod, and a handshake are all forms of appropriate greetings. As some of you may know, my 86-year-old mother is slowly leaving us from a horrific disease called Alzheimer’s. She still eats when fed, says a few unintelligible words, smiles at times and says “shush” when too much noise is around her and she wants to sleep. However, on the first day of my visit to see her in March, it took her a few hours to decipher who I was, how she knew me, where I came from, and so on. Mom was sizing me up. The brain’s neural pathways are designed by our Mighty Creator. He knows how the circuitry works and what it takes to communicate a simple smile or a complex thought. Our Creator designed us magnificently. He knows every inch of us, what we will look like in the future, and is always with us. Well,  after a few hours, mom looked at me straight in the eye and mumbled, “you’re here.” At that moment I forgot all about the 5 hour flight, the hour drive to her nursing home, and the many distant stares of eyes not registering the visual image. I was welcomed, recognized and acknowledged.

We at B.R.A.I.N. and F.B.I. believe in welcoming each person with open arms, making them feel worthy, loved and wanted. Each week at our themed social meetings, we introduce ourselves to everyone from the college student, the neighbor down the street, the business man, to the brain injury survivor. No one is treated differently as we all are children of God. When our friends miss an F.B.I. meeting, we worry. We reach out to each other as we have become a family. One of our newest dedicated volunteers, Daniel Dykes, a 27-year-old man, who met our founder, Sue Rueb at Sports Authority, had recently become interested in the life of one of our older survivors. Arden Boyd was an 83-year-old man with Parkinson’s Disease. The two men would talk at the Tuesday meetings and share stories about life. In January, Arden developed pneumonia and was hospitalized. Daniel visited him routinely, not out of obligation but out of friendship. Arden has since passed on Saturday, April 6th, but he will always be remembered, and he has certainly made an impact on B.R.A.I.N. and Daniel, his friend.

Where do you feel welcomed? Is it at your local coffee shop, your church, the gym, the market, your job or your home?

Join us any Tuesday night from 5-7 p.m. You will experience first hand the feeling of being welcomed.

Until we meet again,

Angela Mandas, MA CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
F.B.I. Group Facilitator

 

2 Comments

  1. We appreciate the news letters, keeping us updated about our B.R.A.I.N friends and how all are doing. Thank you, Angela for the article about your mother. You and yours are always in our thoughts and hearts. You have been such a blessing to us during Don’s continued recovery. You light up our lives.
    Lovingly, Don and Kathie

  2. Beautifully written Angela. My mother as well is dealing with dementia. She was discharged from rehab yesterday and now has a full time live in caregiver in her home. It is a strange feeling and bewilderment to have your mother not know who you are at times. And I understand it can frustrating and confusing for her at times.
    My husband has Parkinsons disease also known as PD. Knowing what happens to the brain and body with the progression of this disease is very unsettling at times.
    We are to live each day knowing that If he brings you to it , he will get you through it. That is my daily mantra. FBI brings me solace on a weekly basis. I am truly blessed to be apart of BRAIN.
    Elissa

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