By Brian Baez, Caregiver Liason
I have to admit, I never thought that after being given the job title of “Caregiver Liaison” here at The Aphasia Center that I would have to do so much self-reflection as a part of my job description. I’m grateful for it though. Writing from a caregiver perspective has forced me to step back and examine who I have become over the last few years. I’m not the same as I was before aphasia became such a major factor in my life. I’m sure many of you can say the same thing. Who is this new person? Do you find yourself more patient and accepting of others? Do you know your limits better now than ever before?
Even before I was an aphasia caregiver, I was the one being cared for. My partner was the one who took care of me when I was going through chemo a few years ago. What an educational experience! I learned so much about myself, who I am, and about my constitution that I never knew. And now that aphasia has entered our lives, it’s time to discover even further what we are truly made of. When communicating with someone with aphasia, we are sometimes forced to strip ideas down to the simplest form in order to understand what our loved one needs. Why not do this with ourselves? By breaking down our thoughts and feelings into their purest form, maybe we will be able to see how much we really have changed; hopefully for the better!
Even in the most trying of times, we have the opportunity to grow and become better versions of ourselves. Life’s challenges are what make us grow. Illness, disability, aphasia, these things can be a catalyst for the growth that moves us forward. Our only responsibility is to be aware of these changes, and not hold ourselves back. How has aphasia played a role in your life? In what ways have you changed?