The Courageous Life of a Full-time Caregiver: Loving a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor

By Melanie Vadzemnieks

God's Brave Women - Melanie's Story


Life as a caregiver is not a path anyone willingly chooses. Rather, we are often thrust into this role through a traumatic event. In my case, it was a car accident caused by an impaired driver.


A young lady under the influence of prescription narcotics and alcohol plowed into my husband’s car at a high rate of speed. The impact caused my husband, David, to spin across the highway median and he was hit head-on by a semi traveling 65 mph in the opposite direction. It’s a miracle he survived.


If you had told me the day before June 7, 2011 that we would endure such a major upheaval, I would have said that God would never allow such a thing to happen to me, knowing I wouldn’t be able to handle the aftermath. That’s what I know now to be a faithless answer.


"If you had told me the day before June 7, 2011 that we would endure such a major upheaval, I would have said that God would never allow such a thing to happen to me, knowing I wouldn’t be able to handle the aftermath."

We have experienced nearly every scenario possible for a traumatic brain injury survivor – trauma ICU, rehabilitation hospital, brain injury treatment facility, in-home care, and nursing home care (where my husband has resided for the past 8 years). Our children have grown up with the realities of brain injury, having been only 10 and 12 when their dad was injured. I’ve moved from stay-at-home mom to part-time work, to full-time plus a side gig to meet our financial obligations.


Life as we knew it before that June day exploded and it became my job to find the pieces we could still use and forge ahead with a new normal. It hasn’t been an easy road, but God is faithful.


You see, grace expands to meet the needs of every moment. I think that is why it is most often preceded with “amazing.” Our Heave