Times that Once Were

Written by BG Howard

April 24, 2024

An interesting thing happened relatively recently as an old friend contacted me via a popular social media platform.  Normally, I’d not list the person’s name but it’s warranted that a rare exception be made in this case.  The friend introduced herself as Verranda and proceeded to share memories of our attending high school together.

The significance of details shared during our brief messaging session is grounded in the fact that I have no recollection of who Ms. Verranda is…or was.  As some may be aware, I suffered a traumatic accident some time ago that resulted with the loss of my memory.  This made conversing (via the internet) with Ms. Verranda especially rewarding due to the fact she could share information concerning me of which I had no knowledge.

In truth, I thought the desire to discover more about my past had subsided as it has been very difficult; spiritually, physically, psychologically, and emotionally to continue the ever-challenging effort to live life in forward motion.  Several years of intense physical therapy and counseling have me functioning as close to normal as possible (with a few challenges) after finding ways to “creatively manage” certain obstacles.  Spiritual development continues daily while I’m plagued by psychological and emotional challenges that are, quite honestly, more difficult some days than others.

Over the course of the past thirty or so years, life has continued unobstructed for Mrs. Verranda as she noted having been a math teacher for twenty-two of those.  She’s been married to her high school love, Mr. Reggie Bell (also from our home town), for most of that time and they have a nine year-old son.  This examples the fact life does continue to move forward whether or not we’re actively involved. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Verranda Byrd-Bell for helping me realize the importance of memories.  Though I don’t have the benefit of those from the first half of my life, she demonstrated in a subtle way how significant it is to hold onto every aspect of what molds us into the people we ultimately become.  Of course, I’d be remiss to not extend a vote of gratitude to her husband, Mr. Bell, though not aware of whether we’d ever established a significant friendship in the past.

Granted, contemplating days that once were doesn’t give one much of an opportunity to alter the course of times past.  It does, however, allow for reflective moments that serve to bridge the gap between what was and the point to where life has developed.  The mere concept of recalling past events seldom occur until one realizes the void evoked when unable to do so.  Then the process or, lack thereof, takes on an entirely different meaning.

It’s not only wise to cherish every moment but also to appreciate the value that memories of those occasions hold.  Imagine undertaking everything in the course of a typical day, going to bed and waking up the following morning without any knowledge of your life.  And then to determine the next day was actually months later due to having been comatose. 

Having to start living again is extremely difficult when the issues and concerns that previously existed continued without interruption.  That means the financial obligations persisted; including accrued interest charges as well as any contracts in effect which couldn’t be executed.  In short, as a consequence of the accident, I took a “nap” for several months and woke to realize the amount of accumulated debt had elevated to 4.87 million dollars.  It has taken longer to recover from the substantial debt than from the injuries sustained in the accident.

To this point, I’ve never been compelled to provide details of the circumstances related to what continues to prove as one of the most challenging aspects of my life.  Gratitude is due an old friend who, without knowing, helped me to overcome an obstacle with which I’ve been contending for more than twenty-two years.  Understand that the most difficult place to be in life is when you realize the consequences of not knowing “where” you are.  I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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