Exes are usually taboo in relationships, but not in this one. In fact, this couple’s relationship is on a whole different level. In 2008, Brandon Smith suffered a traumatic brain injury in a severe car accident.
After failing to fully recover, his wife Kristen made the painful decision to get a divorce. She never abandoned him in his greatest moment of need though.
In fact, she became the legal guardian of her former husband, and is giving him the greatest care together with her new family.
At the time, Brandon, 23, was an auto mechanic, and Kristen, 24, a speech pathologist. They had been married for two years. They were high school sweethearts and she considered Brandon her rock.
Kristen went into complete shock after she received a call about the car accident. It was so bad that she said they couldn’t even tell her if he was alive or not.
She found herself asking her mother, “What will I do if Brandon is gone?” At the hospital, she found Brandon at the neuro trauma intensive care unit.
A commercial truck crashed into his car and caused the traumatic brain injury that would put him into a coma for two months.
Doctors warned Kristen that if Brandon woke up, he would never be the same. Still, Kristen hoped for a miracle and believed that Brandon would remain the same after recovering from his coma.
Little did she know that his condition would be so serious that she would end up as the legal guardian of her former husband.
Due to the severity of his injuries, Brandon needed round-the-clock medical care and had to be moved to a nursing care facility in Texas.
Kristen recalled this long and painful period as a time of profound sadness and isolation. She said, “Every morning I woke up and I was hit by this train of sadness. He was my soulmate, my best friend.”
It soon became evident that Brandon would never recover, and this led to Kristen’s heart-wrenching decision to file for divorce.
However, she never gave up on Brandon and vowed to take care of him until the end. She declared, “I had a lot of talks with God, and I decided I was going to take care of Brandon until the day he died.”
When Kristen filed papers to become the legal guardian of her former husband, the judge questioned her ability to care for him if she started her own family. She confidently assured the judge that she was not going anywhere.
Kristen kept her promise, and now she and her husband James Armstrong, along with their three children, visit Brandon regularly.
Kristen is grateful that James allows her to continue to love and care for Brandon and remain the legal guardian of her former husband.
She shared, “We bring Brandon to our house every week and we take him out to restaurants. What makes it really beautiful is how much my family has accepted Brandon as a part of their family.”
James, 36, has formed a special bond with Brandon. Kristen posts visits to Brandon on her TikTok account and one video highlights the nature of this unusual but loving blended family, James can be seen carefully spoon-feeding Brandon breakfast at a diner, and then helping him from his wheelchair into a car.
Kristen said, “I once thought I would never meet somebody who could love me and love Brandon. I mean who’s gonna wanna take on somebody who still loves their former husband?”
Kristen recalled the bond between Brandon and James was forged on their meeting. She said that when she stood up to go to the bathroom, she came back to see James’s arm around her form husband. At their wedding, James also promised to love and care for Brandon.
James has since lived up to his promise, helping Kristen fulfil her commitment to be the legal guardian of her former husband.
Kristen said, “James helps in whatever ways he can. He never complains, he’s never uncomfortable. And I think that’s a huge thing. Some of the stuff that comes out of Brandon’s mouth is a little crazy, and he can’t toilet on his own. But none of that bothers James.”
Their children love and care for Brandon as well. Kristen’s two young daughters adore her former husband and always want to snuggle with “Uncle Brandon” on the couch. Her stepson also often accompanies Kristen to the nursing home and helps care for him.
As the legal guardian of her former husband, Kristen considers caring for Brandon an honor and says her love for him has only grown.
She said, “Brandon’s short-term memory is very poor, so he’s not anxious about tomorrow or regretful of yesterday. I’ve learned from him how to be more present. Even though he can’t communicate well, he’s always teaching us things. He makes life beautiful.”
Kristen may be the legal guardian of her former husband, but James has no obligation to care for Brandon at all. And yet he does.
Of his relationship with Brandon, James said, “He’s our family member. He’s like one of our kids, we love him the same. He’s a central part of our family. He’s a central part of our life.”
Kristen will always be grateful for James’s love and understanding. She stated, “James surpassed all my dreams of how a future partner could love Brandon. James has never expressed or shown any jealousy. He’s never questioned my unwavering love for Brandon or given pause to the role B plays in our family. Instead, he has accepted Brandon with wide open arms. I’ve overheard him proudly telling the story of our family and how Brandon fits in it.”
This family is certainly unique, and their story is a testament to unconditional love and a commitment that goes beyond boundaries and expectations.
Watch James caring for Brandon in the video below:
@followmetothemouse So grateful for this man who not only chose me but chose B too💚🥺 #familyiswhatyoumakeit #agoodmanishardtofind #agoodman #family #goodhumans #tbicaregiver #tbicaregivers #caregiversoftiktok #fyp ♬ Fight Song – 🆃🅷🅴_🆁🅰🅽🅳🅾🅼_🅳🅾🆂🅴