A crying shame

I sat in my den Friday afternoon with lights off, curtains drawn and sobbed uncontrollably like a child for more than two hours. Not something a normally stoic person does but has happened more often in the last five or so years. I broke down and cried when each of our three older cats — two of which had been with us since our days in Washington — died in Amy’s arms.

This latest emotional outburst came not from the demise of a cherished pet but stemmed from death of a friendship and an incredibly stupid mistake on my made me 30 minutes late to a scheduled lunch Friday.

We set the lunch via text for 11 a.m. but I put it on the schedule of my iPhone at 11:30 a.m. He had suggested 11 a.m. and that was in the text he sent on Wednesday but I put the time in wrong on my phone and computer calendar.

I had requested the lunch to see if we could repair a friendship that ended more than a year ago. I value friendships and I wasn’t sure what caused the end of ours. Maybe it was something I wrote on a web site, or something I said or an action. I didn’t know but it had bothered me and when I ran into him at Food Lion this week, I asked for a chance to meet and discuss it.

He left the restaurant at 11:25 a.m. when I didn’t show. I thought I was only a couple of minutes late when I got there at 11:32 but realized my mistake when I pulled up the text on the phone and saw he had set the time at 11.

A simple mistake? In most cases, perhaps so, but this one came in a week when I had covered a court case and got a name wrong in the story I wrote. The name on the docket papers said “Jimmie” but I wrote “Johnny” in the story. Fortunately, editors caught the mistake before publicaton.

Then, in another story, I misspelled the last name of a victim, even though my notes had the name spelled correctly. Again, the mistake as caught by editing and was correct in the paper this week.

Plus I screwed up a time to meet for a lunch to repair a friendship. I put the wrong time on my calendar.

What, I wondered as a drove home from that latest mistake, is happening? I’ve suffered memory problems since the motorcycle accident in 2012. Some of that, a neurosurgeon at Carilion said, could be caused by the brain trauma suffered in that crash.

That trauma is TBI — Traumatic Brain Injury. It caused me to lose memory of most of a decade of my life. I now have to put appointments on a calendar because I can — and to — forget things like a doctor’s appointment or other things I need to do on a certain day or time.

My memory used to let me destroy opponents in games like Trivial Pursuit. Now I struggle to remember the name of someone I’ve known most of my life.

I left messages for the one I unintentionally stood up for lunch Friday. He has not responded. Sadly, that does not surprise me. I asked for the lunch and then didn’t show up on time.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a CD on my desk. It contained some shots of a Floyd County High School athlete that his parents wanted. I had processed the shots and put them on a CD but have not located the note from the mother who contacted me. The shots were from two seasons ago.

These thoughts and others ran through my mind as a drove home from another screw-up. I walked into my den, didn’t turn the light on and sat in desk chair and broke down.

On Monday, I have an appointment with Carilion. I hope to resume occupational therapy to work on my memory and cognitive functions. I’ve also asked for a test of those functions. I took such a test five years ago and a new one might see if my memory is worse, better or unchanged from that period.

I’ve checked, and rechecked, the time for the appointment. It is one I cannot miss.

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3 thoughts on “A crying shame”

  1. My husband Don had a stroke in 2010. I did not know him then as we married in 2015. But, like you, he has memory loss
    snd times of deep sadness. My advice to him and to you is to not become angry with yourself. God can use you just the way you are, He LOVES broken things!! I will keep you in my prayers, and THANK YOU for sharing!!! We are looking for a TBI Support group, have not found one yet in the Toledo area. Many prayers to you, my friend.

    Barb Murphy-Dougall

  2. Doug Doug Doug, please don’t beat yourself up like this. I mean, I do understand that you’re probably going to but now you must forgive yourself and heal. This is cumulative on an emotional and psychological level, and it does no one any good.
    And on a personal note, even though we have never met in real life (yet) I will never throw away my friendship with you.
    I’m one of those friends that you and Amy are stuck with for life.
    Just call and explain, tell the truth. If the truth isn’t good enough, then I don’t know what to say, because I could never be the kind of friend who cannot understand such a simple mistake.

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