My end of working life old man's job is helping individuals with disabilities. A few years ago I accompanied a young man to a privately run excellent program for those individuals who have experienced a brain injury. It was created by an extraordinary man who while on his honeymoon was waiting to pay the toll on the interstate in Maine when a tractor trailer hit the rear of his car at high speed killing his wife and causing multiple severe injuries including brain damage to my friend. He recovered and if you met him now you might notice a limp, but probably would not notice his brain injury. He had his own struggles with the government fighting for disability money and was reduced to living off of crackers and cereal when he won a nine million dollar settlement from the State of Maine. He used the money to create a foundation to help others suffering brain injuries-an astounding gentleman. I have never heard him utter a mean word against anyone as he cheerfully spends his days trying to help others get their life back.
Anyway, I was working with a brain injured client during their day program which offered a variety of classes for the members and on this day my client and friend chose a writing class. The instructor asked the group for any two random words which he wrote on the blackboard. One was "blue' and the other was "wind" and the assignment for both staff and members was to write a poem using those two words in a minute or two. Here is what I wrote:
A blue wind blew through his life
The calm never came
Each morning it howled and he howled back
But no one heard
Not even the people who had surrounded him all his life
In the end there were four silent walls
It could have been blue
I knew immediately the "he" was my older brother who had taken his life a few years before and what I know now is that not all internal damage is caused by speeding tractor trailers. Some can be caused by a blue wind.