This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Relationships After TBI. Rosemary Rawlins, caregiver, discusses Parenting after TBI in the Family.
I feel like Mary and Anna lost both parents on April 13, because before that, they were the central focus of our family life.
You know, we did everything with them in mind. And you know, they were well loved and everything, and then boom, overnight they grew up fast. It was like their father is in the hospital, and they had nicknamed him Hughberman. So you get an idea of how they saw him.
And I was very distant myself, in a sense of – I just – many, many times when they spoke to me, I couldn't concentrate and hear them. They would want to go to the movies or do something and I'd be like maybe later. And they knew, you know, we're not going to the movies.
It's just kind of sad. And I knew that but I couldn't take the focus off of him. I just was so one-track minded. So the way I think I dealt with that was to keep them very busy, to keep everyone on schedule, make sure they got back to school. I gave them the choice of when they went back to school, and they decided.
And so they were in school all day – dance, and they were busy on the weekends with dance and friends – and we still kept up that. And then I just ran around a lot. So I think that really helped, because their life kind of went on, although it was very difficult for them, and they rose to the occasion. They were just amazing kids. They didn't rebel. They didn't, you know, lash out, and that could have easily have happened. So I feel really very blessed to have these two daughters.
I did become overprotective of them. Their dad had always been really pretty protective anyway, you know. Young girls. And they were at the dating age. And so a lot of the young guys were afraid of their dad before the accident. And afterwards he was so friendly and so – he was like, "That's a nice guy. You should go out with him." And they would be like, "Dad, you know, we're just friends."
So it was odd. It was a bit of a change. So I felt like again, I had to step up and be the more – the one who laid down the law at certain times. No, you're not going to get in the car with that boy, or no, you're not going to do this. And it was hard, because he was stricter than I was. And they could have gotten away with more than they did.
But I think they watched me very closely, and they were thinking, you know, we'd better not let Mom fall apart. So they were great. They helped us in that way.
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