Hello there ….

I know I have been quiet for a day and most of this one.  Not because I am devoid of subject matter, but rather pondering whether I would dare to utter aloud (so-to-speak) that which in my heart.  This blog post has been stewing inside my heart since Ducky commented on my post “Tomorrow’s Weigh In Day Yikes”, and my husband responded with a post of his own.  Ducky’s comment (you can read it here) pulled at my heart, because it begs the question why am I on this journey, and what does it mean to me.  What does it mean for my family? It is hard for you to understand what this means to me or the magnitude of what losing weight has meant for me and my family without this information that I am so hesitant to share.  Do I dare lay this naked in such a public arena?

I think yes, because maybe one other soul might find our story and be lifted and find hope, hope for joy in their darkest hour and dare to live again.

My oldest son and my lovely new daughter texted me, yesterday, from Alaska to say they are expecting a baby boy.  This is news so sweet I hardly have words to express the depths of joy over how wonderful this announcement truly is.  There is a tiny part of my heart that is afraid if I share this news it will flit away in a puff of smoke.  What does this news have to do with the question of why and what?  Everything.

Should I really dig in and tell you this story?  If you have read my About page you have some clue as to what I am referring.  If you know me and our family story, you know why this has everything to do with the why and the what.  Our family has walked down or climbed up a very treacherous cliff to stand where we do now.  It depends upon your perspective of hardships.  Everyone has them.  No one is immune.  I will warn you, if I do post this, and you dear reader choose to read my tale, it will be long and sometimes sad, because that is the reality of this story.  We don’t live in sad and believe we are wonderful over-comers.  We do not see ourselves as victims, and we savor every wonderful moment of life, the good and the bad.   So dear reader, don’t worry or allow your heart to become heavy for us on this our life’s journey — remember we are always smiling — and that is real too.

Our family struggles didn’t begin with the birth of our youngest son, (because like most young people we made a few fabo decisions that created some trying moments for us to right), but our trials definitely intensified with his arrival.  There were years of screaming and not understanding what we were dealing with until he was three, and many more years of screaming followed our enlightenment of his autistic condition. I was in the downward health spiral during our discovery of his condition.  I became less and less able to get around; the fatigue was so great and my weight would increase with each new medication that we tried to correct the fatigue and other problems I was experiencing.  We made great strides with Collin, even though discovery of autism at 3 years of age is more than half way through the age they say is critical to have a chance at functional child (I wouldn’t accept that, and they weren’t right in Collin’s case).  I’m not sure I could have championed the ideas I had and we all acted out if I had known how hard it would be before we started.  I am glad we all jumped in with blind faith that we could make a difference and didn’t listen to the doubts.  BUT, all this takes a toll on everyone in the family.  Chronic stressors affect the body, the mind, the will, and emotions.  We were very close, and we all agreed to work as hard as we could to help the little man, and we did.  He made wonderful progress, even if we were only objects to achieve his desires at this time.

However, Collin had this horrible problem of darting out in the direction of traffic.  Terrifying.  The day he was diagnosed as more autistic than the average autistic child, he made an escape from the building where I was trying to keep him while Mike retrieved our car. (I had a cracked knee, and I was wearing a brace).  I grabbed his arm just in time to keep him from the jam-packed intersection only to lose my balance and fall on top of him, breaking his collar bone.  Mike arrived to find a crowd of people gathered around us as we both lay crying on the concrete sidewalk.  I couldn’t get up because I twisted my other ankle and jammed my wrist.  All I could to was hold him; he didn’t like being held, but he was afraid of the other people so he clung to me with his now broken clavicle, popping it in and out like it was a game, making me hurt all over.  This was not an isolated incident, but one of many painful journeys to a functional and amazing Collin.  How do you get an autistic child NOT to move a broken clavicle? You know the blasted thing has to be kept still to heal.  Autistic people tend to mess with sore spots because it calms down the outside stimuli, and at the rate he was going it would never heal.  Well, I duct taped his arm to his body.  You gotta love duct tape.  Yes, we laughed about that along with the docs.  My doc said between chocking laughter, “Yeah, Shonnie, thats what we orthro’s do, we duct tape children’s arms to their bodies.”  He even admitted it was a great idea.  The docs at the ER kept telling me he had to keep it still, while I kept explaining he was autistic, and he wasn’t going to stop moving it … they looked at me like I was nuts.  So out came the duct tape and his arm healed right up.  A girls gotta keep her sanity any way she can.  You know me: I can’t leave it all sad, because I just can’t look at my life like that.  It is my journey, and I wouldn’t change anything.  🙂

This leads up to the next extreme challenge.  The accident.  After the arm and another barely missed car incident, I mentioned to Mike how I wished there was a video that we could show Collin of a car hitting a person walking so that he would understand about darting from behind cars.  Little did I know that he would get his up close and personal live demonstration of what happens when you dart in front of a moving car.  At this time in Collin’s life, I could not go to the store alone, and that is another horrible story in itself:  Going shopping with Collin took years of screaming for him to learn to go to stores and don’t even think about going to multiple stores on the same outing–long, long story on how we changed this behavior, but now back to the second major challenge.  I promise all this is going somewhere.

It is going to the night my very handsome 19 year old son and his twelve year sister begged me to let her and Collin go with Will to play games with the youth group.  They were going to be at a friend’s house; one parent was going to be there, and they assured me everything would be fine.  I wanted to trust them, because there were no breaks for me unless my children gave them to me.  No one wanted to take on Collin but my dear sweet children.

I believe they were always trying to care for me, my two girls that is.  Will had just started growing into that place as a young man.  He was beginning to grow into everything I had hoped for him; he looked at me with such proud (proud in a good way-that he had thought of something nice) eyes wanting to prove he was maturing.  Smiling and telling me he would be able to handle it.  I told myself that they will be in the country, there won’t be many cars, and they will be in the field playing their after dark tag.  I was so proud he wanted to be a good big brother and take them with him, so I jumped and let go and said yes.  That one decision changed all our lives forever.  My poor baby girl and boy had front row seats to watch as our nightmare unfolded.  They watched Will run towards Collin and be hit and thrown 40 feet by the car that was about to hit the younger sibling.  They saw their hero twist and hurl and crash to the ground in a broken heap.  What greater love has any man, but to lay down his life for a friend, my older son knew we had to run at Collin to make him change directions.  He almost made it to safety, but there was a young driver at the wheel and he drove toward my son instead of away.  My sweet baby girl had to call and tell us her brother was badly injured as she tried to pull the screaming, praying, autistic Collin off his big brother’s body, not knowing if he was alive or dead.

We were in a big box wholesale store at the checkout when her call came through.  I paid for the groceries I had purchased, while Mike got the information about Will.  Terror rose in my belly like a volcano.  I don’t know if I shouted in panic or choked out the question, but I know I demanded to know if my children where all right.  Mike turned green and his knees buckled as he shook his head no.  I drove home, and we threw our purchases on the ground outside our apartment while giving Onnie instructions to pick up her sister as soon as she could drag and drop the stuff in the house.  My head was spinning, my knees were weak, and I could hardly breathe.  I had to get to my son to see if he was alive; the officer at the scene took the phone from my daughter to inform us where the life flight copter was taking our child.  I don’t remember the drive.  I remember the hospital waiting area and the ambulance sirens.  It took years for me not to become ill when I heard a siren.  I remember hearing the helicopter arrive and knowing my son was on board.

I waited to see what destruction awaited us as his body was rolled in and we were rushed down the hall.  Was he alive?  Was he okay?  They greeted us with the news that there was bleeding on the brain and that he was unconscious.  He would remain that way for four days and then he wouldn’t know who were for about as many more.  This was the beginning of our trials, not the end.

My happy family disintegrated before my eyes like a cloud of smoke blown by a strong wind.  My world changed that day and was never the same.  Sometimes, even now, a strong fear rises in me that the good in my life will fade, be snatched from my arms before I am ready to see it go.  It causes a body to embrace life or run from it.  We chose the former.  The events that followed this trauma are something quite fantastical, straight from the mind of a Steven King thriller or bizarre Dean Koonts novel.  I blamed myself, my poor baby girl blamed herself, as did Mike and Onnie who had nothing to do with the decision.  Our hearts were broken.  Our family united was shattered, decimated, and we were struggling to find a reason to live.

I will tell you that in the middle of this horrible mess, came wonderful light and a few new  terrifying hurdles to jump …

… And this finds us a third of the way through our story (well, of what I will tell) ……. Shall I continue?

Blessings …. S

21 thoughts on “Reasonings

  1. Shonnie-
    There are no uncommon problems. There are only common problems that are unspoken or not shared. I heard that once and it stuck with me. No one’s life is as it seems on Facebook or a Blog. Your candid honesty is refreshing and appealing. Your story while sad is yours. Other people can grow from what you share. You inspire others. Thank you for being you!

    • Thanks Aurora, this is what I have been trying to do … write my story. I think you have hit on the reason this is so hard for me. It is scary to take the first steps to writing the book. Thank you for your words, they mean more than you know. 🙂

  2. I have to say it again – you have an amazing way with words. God has truly blessed you with a gift. Thank you for sharing your story and feelings with us….you are one amazing lady !!

    • Angie, you are the biggest doll of all time. Thank you girl. You are such a wonderful cheerleader. You started out with me and you have continued with me. Thank YOU SO MUCH. What a blessing you are. 🙂

  3. Continue… Please Continue! I went to Wendy’s for a salad before I started to read because I wanted to be all settled in. YOU HAVE SUCH A WAY WITH WORDS >>> maybe the title of AUTHOR in your future. I’m just saying!

    • Thank you FGU. I did. Thank you for your words of encouragement. They mean so much. I feel like I am saying this over and over, but it is so true. You are touching on a part of my deepest hearts desire — the author. I have longed for this since my first book attempt in 8th grade. Thank you for saying it. I think I am going to push out and try. What I got to lose? 🙂 Live dangerously.

  4. Shonnie,

    I’m so proud of you!

    Forget the weight loss… you’ve had a burden to share the things that make you who you are. The blessings God has given amongst the trials. And look at you! One-third of the story is out… there has to be some sense of relief knowing you’ve put some of this out there for others to see. You and Mike have such big, beautiful hearts. Collin is a walking, talking (yeah!) miracle… handsome as can be and so functional you just want to cry with joy. I know the trials still ebb and flow, but God has a plan for your lives and the lives of your family. Will’s progress, while slow and heartbreaking at times, is progress nonetheless. And I’m convinced God has a plan for his life, too. He speaks to His sheep and the know His voice… and He doesn’t lose or forget His children. That includes Will.

    So many hugs for you, my friend…


    • Beth,

      Thank you. What a beautifully thought out response. God has been good. I believe in the plan he has for my children. I see his beauty in them and in their lives. They are very special blessings to me, each one of them.

      I am more relieved today after I got the second post out and logged in. I had much unrest after the first post. I think I have begun to understand the unrest in my spirit. I was literally tormented in my sleep the first night after my post. It was horrible.

      I pray tonight’s sleep is much better. It think it will be. 🙂

      Thank YOU! Hugs to you back.


  5. You are good people. That always comes across. That you should have had so many challanges is beyond belief. Autism is difficult to deal with. I had some experience of this when I used to be connected with a home for autistic kids. You and Mike have so many reasons to be proud of yourselves. I know this is of no use but you have my respect for what it’s worth.

    • Awe Ducky my friend,

      You are such a sweety! Thanks. Your respect means a lot Ducky. Very nice indeed. Means so much that you do understand even if it was not from having a child, but you have been around so you KNOW. Your words mean even more now. 🙂

      Thanks again 🙂

  6. Once we experience sudden disaster, we lose a certain innocence, I think, and no longer have the same feeling of trust and security in our life. We no longer take health, happiness and good fortune for granted, which can be a good thing, but also a scary thing. My sister’s son also was diagnosed with autism at an early age, so I know some of the struggles and challenges that involves. Please continue with your story…

    • OB,

      You are so right about the sudden disaster. We do lose innocence, the innocence of thinking that evil can’t befall us. You are right again when you say that you cannot take anything forgranted. Life is a special and precious gift, the people we love and hold dear are ours but today. We must live, love, and laugh while it is yet day, for we know not what tomrrow brings… I will be using that again in my final post. 🙂

      Many blessings to you and your sister. You do know the struggle. It is a long hard battle for life in the “norm” — which is illusive for the autistic child or his family.

      thank you for your words of encouragement — the did help me to press onward.


  7. hearing this my heart breaks, but seeing your strength through your post makes me smile. I think we are all dealt with heartfelt things in life… it is what you do with it to make it better, or how you handle to get your through such tragedies. I will continue reading your story, as you are not only writing to feel the release from you, but to show others that you can have strength and will power to do anything. 🙂 Thank you for sharing, not only your heart but your will power too.

    • Thank you Jumpin’,

      Sorry to make your heart sad, but there is joy in all aspects of life, if we are but open to see them. If we don’t choose joy we drown in sorrow. Thanks for your kind words. Thank you for believing in me. I appreciate the words of confidence. Thanks

      • You are so welcome. Through life we may have battles, but the battles dont need to defeat us we just have to learn how to climb over them 🙂 Thank you so much for posting, it does show (I am sure most of us) that we are not alone 🙂

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