Wow. Blast from the past…

I remember…

A week or so ago, I got a message from someone I have not seen in nearly 30 years. The last time I saw them, we were like siblings – so close, almost like lovers (except that we were each romantically involved with others in our small circle of friends). We were each others’ protectors and confidantes, through all the relationship drama that happens when you’re 22 years old.

I haven’t had that kind of a friendship with anyone, since – even my spouse.

That was back when I was drinking myself silly, most days. I was also still struggling with the after-effects of at least 5 mild TBIs, during my high school years. Plus, I was a falling-down drunk, so I may have hit my head during one of my forays, too.

Long story short, we parted ways under very bad circumstances. I was an ass.  And I split without an explanation. Just picked up and left and never responded to the letters they sent.

I was so lost, so confused, so messed-up and furious with the world. And when I started to get clearer and cleaned up my act, I tried looking for them online. But I found nothing, other than a single picture of them at a holiday party with an organization they worked for.

Then nothing. I searched again, but the picture was taken down. I can find pretty much anyone or anything online, so the fact that they were nowhere to be found made me think they were dead. It was crushing. I had wrecked things so badly with us, because of so much I had not figured out… and I believed I’d lost my chance to apologize and make amends.

Fast forward a few years. Doing a search, I found them again – just a single mention of their name at an organization where they worked, in the town where they had lived when I’d known them. No picture, no telephone, but I knew it was them.  I toyed with the idea of getting back in touch, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it as well as I wanted.

Fast forward a few more years, and another search shows them at a different organization in their town. Again, no telephone number or email. Again, I couldn’t figure out what to do.

So, I gave up. And I downloaded one of the songs we used to sing along to, back in the day. I listened to it, now and then, while driving around.

Then I stopped. That was over. It was done. Let it go.

Fast forward again… to last month. All of a sudden, a message from them shows up. They reached out to me. They found me. And they wanted to make contact.

It was something I thought would never, ever happen. But there it was.There they were.

I wrote a note back, and then wrote another. They responded. Then I wrote an extended apology and explanation for why I disappeared. I left out the TBI stuff. Why blame that? I was just an ass, is all. And young.

I haven’t heard back from them. It was a very honest, heartfelt note, and I can imagine they have some catching up to do with their own perspective. We’d had one one of those epic friendships, like soldiers do. Or castaways on a desert island, building a raft together, to head for the open sea and look for more help.

It’s been an emotional bunch of days. I’ve gone through over 25 years worth of upheaval, since last week, but now things are calming down, and it feels good. Like I’ve finally put that one missing piece of the puzzle in place. I don’t know if they’ll ever get back to me again, but the fact is, I finally finally got the chance to say, “I’m sorry. I did wrong.”

And that’s all I’ve really ever wanted.

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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

8 thoughts on “Wow. Blast from the past…”

  1. Most breakdowns in communications are not so one-sided. There are many times factors that come into things that the other party doesn’t know about you and vice-versa. Some times we are not even totally sure of how we offended another. But there comes a time that figuring things out- is outdated. We try to do best in our little worlds. Be of good cheer when possible.
    Apologize, as you did, for what we know were wrong words or actions. I took a personality assessment a few months back. the question was a tough one. What do you value more “justice” or “mercy”. I chose mercy although I value justice in a big way. At times, justice is a matter of perspective for we humans. I also score very low on the want “revenge” meter.
    I believe heavily in looking at one’s faults before taking inventory of anothers. And I try to live by the serenity prayer. Somebody once asked me “would you rather be loved or feared”. My answer is neither. I don’t care about those things. I can’t care about those things. I am nothing to fear and apparently not much to love after getting bopped in the head to many times. It is not poor me. Sometimes it is just how it goes. Live righteously, don’t dwell on the self-righteous for it could be me at times any way. acceptance gratitude. Not easy for the seriously depressed mind but we can give much self-talk in that way. I do.

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  2. Very true about the “love or fear” thing. I feel the same way. Also, after being feared for so many years, I realize that a lot of that is completely out of my hands, and people will feel about me, how they feel – sometimes regardless of how I am actually acting. I’m not responsible for others’ actions and emotions. But when I am wrong and I genuinely hurt someone by my actions, apologizing frees me up to move on. It settles the “debt”, so to speak. Right relations with others – in my mind, regardless of how they feel – is important to me.

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  3. sometimes we just have to accept that some things are not in our hands.
    that working on ourselves to do the best that we can, is all we can do.
    it is not easy to go on when you don’t understand. why people turned on you.
    but i assume that they must have some reason. nobody has told me.
    one day you are a welcomed father, a teacher with decent evaluations.
    next day it all turns on you. you try hard to understand. you know to always remain humble.
    you have no power in the world. you have no money. you belong to no important people.
    people assume you “get it” but it just ain’t clicking up there. acceptance, gratitude.

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  4. It’s true. They are not. And I have let go of the wish that my old friend gets back to me. I have no idea what “their process” is with this renewed contact. To be honest, I don’t even know if they had the same sort of connection with me, that I had with them. Often, it is lop-sided, and I don’t even know how the other person feels until years later, when they say, “Did you realize…?!”

    Well, no. I didn’t. I can’t help that. I’m thick that way. A bit dense. Naive and trusting. And often oblivious. I should get a t-shirt made that says, “Don’t hate me because I’m oblivious.”

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  5. Yeah I could borrow that. Or “No, I’m not shallow, I just need time to remember where we were feeling yesterday!” I have asked the other to write down feeling stuff. Let’s make sure we’re on the same page. I lived kind of a survival street life for five years and came across many different types and throw my brain injury in there, please be blunt. I’ve had some think I was disrespectful for assuming things. I wasn’t. Nor was I cocky. And please don’t get on my case for being in the wrong environment; you’re environment wouldn’t have accepted me anyway at the time and don’t talk bad about “those” people cause they were more real than most of you and much more compassionate and wise. “well, then go back there.” I pause, “well, I didn’t fit there either” They have had to know about life in a way that I didn’t and I have a brain injury.
    They are not “lower” than me and you definitely are not “higher” than me. “Well don’t do me any favors, you don’t even have a car” I’m outa here. Thinking…Here, you won’t take advantage of me in the worst way when my mind skips – gets fatigued. But here seems pretty superficial these days. Singlehood became default setting. Who said joy had to come through intimacy.

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  6. Environment is all relative. And some days, I prefer the company of those who are real and raw, versus the well-behaved, well-dressed people I’m around all day. Actually, I’d prefer to be alone, thank you very much.

    Some joys come through solitude. Lots of them, actually…

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