On being forged into a warrior mom
If I could summarize our journey from Hell to HOPEISM, it would be in my faith, which I call HOPEISM. It has been my weapon of choice to get me through each battle I have had to fight in my mission to win our war called life with autism and seizures. Vaccine injury to be more specific. It would also be in committing to heart, soul, & mind the words and motto's from Forged, NDCQ, the Lone Survivor, and Levi Lusko in his book, "Through the Eyes of a Lion." I will be forever grateful to the inspiration, encouragement, and mental fortitude found through all of them collectively. Because of that, I am not allowing this tragedy of vaccine injury that has come into our lives to be an obstacle to being used by God. I am instead turning it into an opportunity to be used like never before!
This blog is dedicated to Brandon. His life has been forged by difficulty, obstacles, & all too often because of seizures - pain, blood, broken teeth, & broken bones. Yet through all that he has shown such fortitude. The bravery, strength, & resilience of a true warrior. He taught me that having strength through adversity means that even if you lose every battle, like the Lone Survivor, you never quit fighting until you win the war. That in the words of "NDCQ," you keep "dreaming," keep "daring," & keep "doing." As Team Guppy has yet to be able to escape vaccine injury, we have no choice but to as Levi Lusko writes, "Run toward the Roar." God has indeed given us such incredible power in enduring such impossible pain.
Some days the HOPEISM in that simply takes my breath away.
October 12, 2010
A friend who is closer than a brother...
This picture is one I took after a day of sailing with Captain Dave of "Heart of Sailing" in Kemah.
We were on our way back to the car, and where Brandon would normally be lagging behind us taking in the sights, he suddenly hurried up ahead to where his brother was walking -- and kept up with him, just a step behind him, walking stride for stride.
So much went through my mind as I was capturing that kodak moment.
From where I walked behind both of them, they looked so.... "normal".
Like two brothers who grew up laughing, fighting, breaking windows with baseballs, and pushing my sanity to its limits with their brotherly antics.
Like two brothers who at 17 & 16, would be fighting over girls, their dad's car keys, and who could beat him at arm wrestling.
(Neither of course, would be the correct answer in that....)
Watching them from behind, I could almost convince myself that was how it was.
I allowed myself in that snapshot, to grasp what I wish had been.
And not what instead was.
Even though there are moments like that day where I do take a dip in the daydreams of what I desired, I don't dwell there.
While there are so very many things Matthew couldn't ever do with his brother, there were so very many more important things he learned from him instead.
Things I could have never taught him in the way that the life experience with Brandon has.
Humor. Yeah, anyone can laugh at their siblings. But can you laugh when the absurdity of a situation that should make you scream, makes you instead laugh?
Patience. Anyone can bang on the bathroom door of a sibling taking too long in the bathroom, but can you patiently learn how to sleep when Pajama's, I want my pajama's, is playing over and over and over, all night long in the next bedroom, all your life?
The list is long.
The values learned from the list even longer.
I always wonder about the "stuff" about Life with Autism that Matt hasn't told us over the years. The stress if it was too much at times, if he felt cheated of our attention, if he wanted opportunities other families had that we didn't.
But if those things affected him negatively, we never knew it.
I think maybe perhaps much like how the good we saw about God from Brandon made our lives as parents of a child with autism more a blessing than burden; it had that same effect in Matt's life.
Making the maturity he gained from realizing the big picture of life, more important than those other things that now seemed small and insignificant in comparison.
I like to hope that any emotion Brandon's life put on Matt's, wasn't pity - but rather the kind that would urge him to press on to better use his gifts and talents in honor of his brother.
I like to think that any peer pressure Matt faced was put into perspective in seeing how Brandon was often viewed by others.
That anything Matt ever thought was too hard and wanted to quit, --- that Brandon never had the option of quitting autism.
I like to think that for Matt heading into adulthood, having a brother who will be in perpetual childhood, will remind him to not take things so seriously.
To stop and jump on the trampoline just because.
To not ever think you're too old for Mickey Mouse.
That anything in the future Matt thinks he won't survive, --- to recall the past and all the very many things about autism we all together as a family -- have survived.
To spontaneously laugh at the memory of "nackaby alerts" in a wet, naked brother running from the tub to the kitchen.
Passing a living room of his friends on the way.
That whatever brotherhood autism took away, its blessings gave back ten-fold.
In that truly there was in both their lives, a friend who was closer than a brother.
Matt praying to God for his little brother, Brandon living out those qualities of God for his older brother.
All those things and more swirl in my mind when I see that picture of my two boys.
But the overriding emotion is that of God's awesomeness and sovereignty.
The picture I wanted would have fallen so short of what God gave.
I wanted children who were smart and who could succeed in the world.
God gave me two boys who together more than they ever could separately, have changed our corner of the world and how we see it.
How we live it.
Who have taught us there's so much more to life than academics & achievements.
Than profit and perfection.
God's sovereignty and awesomeness in that quite frankly boggles my mind.
But I'm human and will always see that picture as a longing of what could have been.
I'm also changed and will always be humbled by the picture that is.
And as far as how I see it, even though Matt will always live a life that is two steps ahead of Brandon; because of Brandon, he'll always know that the best parts of that life are lived and learned from those just one step behind.
And from the One who is closer than any typical brother could ever hope to be.