Journey

Service dogs are known for their incredible ability to stay focused with incredible self control. In an effort to advocate for my children and bring them the highest quality of life, I’ve answered my eldest son’s request to have a service dog. In my research, I encountered lots of costs regarding the aquisition of such a high caliber canine. It can cost anywhere up to $20,000. This is equal to the purchase of a car. I don’t intend to ride these canines. There must be another way because many programs suggest that the dog be purchased from another state or in another city, where one would have to train then bring the dog home. How does the application of the training work in your home environment if there is a need for different kind of training? Is it possible too, that training might be done closer to home? It occurred to me the sheriff department works with training dogs for service. Perhaps I could search there.

I was in the church thrift store, when my path crossed a service dog trainer. She relocated to help her dad because her mom passed on. She trains privately and has many years of experience. She told me that often the dog will choose you.

God works in strange ways at times, or, rather, God’s way is not man’s way. Becoming owners of two intelligent and energetic puppies was not what I thought was supposed to happen; however, each day has proven to be more and more his way. People are changing. Just the presence of the puppies and how they “naturally” read the needs of those around them shows me their paths were meant to cross ours. The “Furry Godmother”, as she calls herself, was part of God’s way to bring Angel and Daisy to us. Her teachings help to build my confidence in an area that is new to me. This journey I take will bring goodness and confidence to my children. They need the attention only a pup can give, especially after the trauma of our Angel’s accident. This four-legged Angel arrives to help heal. This Daisy comes to calm with her ability to monitor us, watching, making sure we’re together. Thank you Furry Godmother. You are God’s tool toward healing through His angels and daisies.

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Moody

Sitting with my 8 year old disabled son on my lap as I listen to the solo performance of Breath of Heaven, I feel the tears fighting their way to the surface. I hold my son because the seizures seem to avoid him if he feels comfort from an embrace of love. The soloist’s voice carries my tears closer to the surface as I identify with the pain, struggle and loneliness of being a caregiver. I adjusted his shirt, his position, searching to slow my breath and keep the tears back.

As she sang, “I have traveled many moonless nights with a babe inside, and I wonder what I’ve done.” The truth broke through my wall of protection.”You’ve chosen me now, to carry (my son). Iam waiting, in a silent prayer, I am frightened by the load I bear. In a world as cold as stone. Must I walk this path alone? Be with me now. Be with me now.Breath of heaven hold me together.Be forever near me….” My tears rushed and broke my walls. I struggled to keep them under control.The words from the soloist’s song were so true. My role in caring for my son gives me the knowledge to know the nativity story at the most personal level.

I sat in the third row, clearly seen by the pastor, yet trying to hide my tears. The journey is so long, ardorous and without rest. My son’s full rehabilitation still not within sight. “Breath of heaven, lighten my darkness, pour over me your holiness. Breath of heaven”.

I continued to listen to the words and know them as my own; “Do you wonder as you watch my face, if a wiser one should have had my place? But I offer all I am for the mercy of your plan. Help me be strong, help me be, help me.” I couldn’t slow the tears because it was all true. The pain, the wonder of my angel’s miracle is real too. He’s almost walking by himself. He wr

My middle son turned to me, seeing the tears and asked me what was wrong. I replied, “I have a headache.” He hugged me. My mood lifted. The soloist sang, “Breath of heaven, hold me together, be forever near me, breath of heaven”. My encouragement taken from the words of a song and my son’s embrace, I stopped the tears.

Not knowing a fellow parishener was watching, she came over to say, “You’re  the best mother, I’ve ever seen. You care for him so well.”

Restoration

While reading a familiar passage, I was reminded of how we seek to make things new:

I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain     Christ. -Phillipians 3:8

It hit me in a new way. My Angel is being restored, but not because I insist it to happen, though it is the greatest desire of my heart, but because my prayerful plea was answered two and a half years ago. Restoration has many levels of meaning and can be used symbolically for spiritual as well as concrete purposes. This restoration doesn’t mean that the same will come again. When we restore a place or thing, the original state or existence is not there, except in a resemblance of what it was. He is not the same. He is changed. Yet, glimpses of who he was shine and delight everyone. Nothing and no one is left untouched. My Angel restores gladness and joy with everlasting affects, just as he is being restored through our loving care.

Christians believe in the correlation of Christ, who renews us through His loss of life and resurrection. Even He was restored! How wonderful to see the spiritual meet concrete. With this reflection, I feel better about working tirelessly, watching him through the nights, knowing tomorrow brings more restoration.

Growth

Growth comes in many forms and contexts. The strongest growth experience is the one which requires inhuman strength and achievement. If you had a child with an acquired  traumatic brain injury which requires 24/7 nursing, you’d probably think, it will be all fine. The nurses will come and take care of him. This is not always the case. I’m facing my sixth night in a row of a twelve hour shift until the morning nurse comes in to relieve me; if there is one. I do this and get my boys up for their summer activities, and make some mommy-son time. When do I sleep? I haven’t figured that out yet.

Just the other day, I was pulled over for no staying in my lane. I informed the officer of my current circumstances. What would you do? The officer promptly reminded me that she was not in those circumstances and that I need to think about the safety of my son by staying within the lines and driving more carefully. Growth is what you discover about yourself when extreme circumstances arise as life happens. I guess I’m growing more than I know.

I know these circumstances are not typical. Not everyone faces what I face.I know there are other parents who struggle daily with caring for their disabled child. I keep telling myself, this too will pass. As each night of nursing my son to watch for seizures which may break through when I least expect continues to become more and more frequent, I have to keep a positive mind. I have to be hopeful. His quality of life depends on my positivity and determination to find an end to the suffering. I am his strongest advocate. With advocacy comes more growth.

The IEP Advocate, Inc. – The Advocate’s Prayer

Special Education Advocate in Orlando, Florida helps families of children with special needs who have an IEP or 504 plan navigate through the public school system. Advocate can attend IEP meetings in Orlando and Central Florida area. Special Education Advocate does parent consults, IEP support group meetings, IEP workshops, and Florida McKay Scholarship trainings about IEP meetings.

via The IEP Advocate, Inc. – The Advocate's Prayer.

My Little Man

Papito Papito,

Laying so still, I miss hearing you laugh, spit, sing. I miss hearing you play your harmonica while your brothers share a tune. Your spirit your drive; your zest for life. It fills me each, everyday. Remember how you would sit on your belly in the living room, watching the trains go around and around. You watched so closely, your eyes level with the tracks. When your brothers trumpet and fiddle, you love your harmonica and wistfully move while playing. Your delight is in one’s laughter. Your pleasure in one’s company. You see beauty in everyone, nature, life.  Your excitement when you see a car, a bus.

Every morning we sing, “It’ll be coming round the mountain when it comes, It’ll be coming round the mountain when it comes…” Then we cup our hands to our ears, listening for your school bus to arrive. Every day you see it turn the corner, your eyes rise wide with surprise, shouting, “BUS!” As if our singing is making it happen. As we cross to board your favorite ride, you stop and put your hand upon the safety lights at the steps of the bus entrance, transfixed, unable to move. Distracted you climb the steps, turning to blow kisses then move toward your seat at the window.

Almost gone, that tragic Monday, your zest and vigor for freedom to run, turned to tragedy as a mother’s worst fear unfolded with a pop and your body motionless on the road. I pleaded your return and heaven answered me. God provided all the right people at the right place at the exact moment so that you may return to fulfill a higher calling.