Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 244 - Jan 30, 2009

I am watching my son sleep in my bed tonight, trying to come to terms with who he is as opposed to who he was. I don't do this often - look back - but it's there tonight. Sometimes I think it's sad because I don't always remember who he was. I can't always recall him being able to walk. Or talk fluidly. And I don't always remember what he looked like without all the burns and droopy eyes and head scars. I know that every mother remembers her babies growing up, but it's hard for me. Do you think it's a self-preservation kind of thing? I suppose it really is a good thing to not focus on the good times from the past because it would make these bad times all the worse. But do I really want to do that? Do I HAVE to do that to continue on this journey?

It's just laying so heavy in my heart tonight. He looks so different now. So incredibly scarred. And as he is becoming more and more cognizant, he gets so frustrated when he wants to say something and can't. And he tries to get out of his chair without someone standing next to him now and he just can't do that yet either.

And I know I just need to be patient. I am quite sure he will walk again, probably with a serious limp or even having to drag that leg, but he will still be able to walk.

And he does say more and more words now, it's just such a slow process to teach him new ones.

I don't know.

I wonder if I am just sad tonight because there is absolutely no way to get the house that Kevin wants? I have tried so hard, but without help - it's just not going to happen. It kinda makes me feel like a failure as a parent that I can't get something that my son wants so badly. It was so hard having to sit down with him tonight and explain to him that it's just not going to happen. He was so disappointed. He accepted it, just like we have always accepted all of the rough spots in our lives, but the disappointment was still there in his eyes.

And to make matters worse - if I don't find another one this weekend, we may not get one at all. As we all know, the economy is affecting the mortgage industry very hard and most banks are really holding back on mortgages. My broker was able to find one that will do so (with considerable penalties because of his lack of credit), but she doesn't think the offer will be there for very long. She is seeing too many emails with banks pulling away and told me to hurry. I have been looking online for the last 6 hours for the most part and they are all starting to look the same to me. And tomorrow I will be busting my butt with our realtors going from house to house, just trying to find one. Please keep your fingers crossed that this happens.

Ok - so now that I have pulled everyone down (so sorry), I will mention some good things.

First, Kevin and Breezy were talked about on KDKA this morning because they were on the Mike and Mike show.

Kev was also 'discussed' in an article in the Chicago Tribune. Click here to read it.

We also received Kev's Solumbra clothing today. Here is a pic of him wearing one of his new outfits:

Notice the new wheelchair? We are trying to get him accustomed to a normal small one instead of that monstrous one used for guys that pretty much can't move at all. We have to do this in small doses though because there is no head support and he is used to having it. But let me tell you - he can whiz around the hallways with that little one. He is fast!

And last, but not least, here is a pic of Kevin with someone from his (our) past. One of Kevin's friends' mom and sister from his growing up years came to visit today. I could tell Kevin had to reach into his memory for it to click on who it was, but it only took seconds - maybe 10 - and he did it. It was such a wonderful visit as we miss all of our friends and family from PA. I sure with the Super Bowl was more often - then maybe we would get more company, lol. Anyway, here is Sharon and Haleigh with Kev this afternoon.

It was just so nice to visit. But, once again, I did get a bit teary as it made me realize how much I really miss home.

Oh doesn't matter... Just wipe the sweat and drive on, right?


Denver said...

Right! You are doing an amazingly good job as a mom. I'm sure it took Kevin more than a year to learn to talk the first time around. You are committed for the long haul. You will succeed.

Anonymous said...


Feeling down sometimes is natural with all you are going through - I'm amazed that you still most of the time have such a sense of humor. Do not EVER feel like a failure though, just because you can't work ALL of the miracles you'd like to. You've worked more than a few over these months.

Good luck. I wish there was a way to provide you with a winning Powerball ticket or something, so money would be off the list of all the obstacles you've faced.

Holee said...

Did you try an established Condo? They are not giving loans on houses or new Condo's but you can get a loan on an established Condo.

The Gallery at Bayport is fabulous. They have a huge gym and pool. When the market gets better, you can get rid of a Condo real easy in Fl. It's just not a good time to buy or sell right now.

This might actually be better for you right now. Sometimes things happen for the best. Just taking care of Kevin for the next 2 years will be a handful. In a Condo they do all the work, pool & grass.

Bayport is 2 bedr. & 2 bathr. but for now it would do. The rooms are all huge. The living room and kitchen is open design and huge. I have friends who live there. They said they seem to still be able to sell them while houses are sitting empty for the past year.

Janna said...

I know how hard it is to believe a loving God would allow something like this to happen to your child. There is a book ( not long, not preachy and not "religious" ) that discusses why it can and does. It is called " The Shack ". As I told you I have a son who has had extensive medical problems and for years I hated God and thought He hated or at least didnt give a rip about me or my son. I think you might find it a comfort: I know I did.

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,

Did you try getting a house loan through the VA. My great nephew got one for his first home while he was on active duty and stationed in Savannah. This was about four years ago. If you haven't tried this - I could try to get in touch with him for more info. He's currently in training and it may take a few days to contact him.


Anonymous said...

First of all, this all is bull crap. YOU should not have to be worrying about securing a loan. Kevin was severely injured in the line of duty and THIS COUNTRY is obligated to take care of him to include everything. YOUR income / HIS credit, etc should have nothing to do with this. Do you know how much the government WASTES daily???? Have you been up the chain? I think I would be calling senators / congressmen/ General Senseki (in charge of the VA) /Admiral Mike Mullen chairman joints chief of staff / general Geogre Casey army chiefs of staff / and even Barack Obama, if I had to go there. Come on, there is NO reason YOUR family or Kevin should suffer financially because Kevin was doing his JOB for the US Army and ended up in this condition. When Kevin signed on the dotted line, he signed to defend his country; the other side of that is his country signed to take care of him be it medically when he was discharged through care offered at the VA, to train him to do a job, give him eduacation once discharged, AND take care of him if this happens. SOMEONE needs to step in here. You and he are not in Tampa because it is a beautiful city and the SuperBowl is being played there and Disney just happens to be there too; you and he are there because the US Army SENT you there for care and those appointed by General Peake and now General Senseki are telling you for Kevin's sake, you should stay there. Leslie, you have to fight those idiots (sorry, I am a little emotional right now) to live up to THEIR responsibilities to Kevin. Listen, Mr Obama can bail out the car industry and the banking industry - with many of the top exec getting BILLIONS of dollars. THIS is what is EXACTLY wrong with our country. I am going to rant and I hope I don't hurt anyone's feelings. Football players are paid millions of dollars; they play maybe 19 games a year. Our healthcare providers, our police, our EMTs, our MILITARY make peanuts and we expect them to care for the most important people in the world - our families and us or to protect the most important people - US. Leslie, take the chain of command - remember no swearing, be calm and BE PASSIONATE. The sqeeky wheel GETS the oil. Go to TV stations if you have too; go wherever you have to go. You should not be depressed; you should be pissed! All of America should be upset also that our government is NOT taking care of these young men and women but are taking care of banking execs, who have already pocketed so much money and continue to get over on us.
On the flip side of the coin, I think all mothers can understand how your heart feels when you actually sit down and think about this. All your hope and dreams for your baby has now been cut to "I hope he walks", "I hope he can do basic things", and "I hope he makes it through this." What a wake up call to all of us.. I am sad for you and your family and for Kevin. You have been through a tremendous 244 days. My heart breaks for you. I am not a mental health specialist, but I would think these are all normal feelings. If you didn't feel these feelings, I think there would be something wrong. You just want things "back to normal". you would rather be struggling with working your butt off, worrying that Kevin was going to be hurt on a skate board, worrying about the snow covered roads and snow storms in western PA, instead of what has become your normal. I understand and have been amazed how you have faced all of this. I am a very different person than you- I would have been screaming from day 1 or at least I think I would have been. You never know what you will do until you actually have to face it.
Keep you head on your shoulders, Keep your chin up. Kevin is doing wonderfully.
From snowy, cold (9 degrees) Ford City.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the long post above. Money is not something you should have to be worrying about right now. You have enough on your plate. Remember, each of Kevin's scars is a tribute to the HERO that he truly is. It has been, and will continue to be a long road to recovery. Just take each day at a steps. Look at how far you've come in just a few months! No, Kevin's future may not be what you've planned for his whole life. But he can, and will, still have a future! You'll be right there beside him the whole way.
Wendy (Clarion, PA)

Anonymous said...

I have the same question that Michele had...did you check with the VA for a house loen? We just bought a house here in El Paso and got 100% financing with them...
After talking with my husband (he is a retired Sargent First Class)we both can not believe that the VA would deny you a loan!!!
Please let me know if you need more info about this...

Hugs from El Paso, TX,
Tina Dwyer

Lisa D in Ca. said...

My brother and sister in law have a little boy with pretty significant special needs. He is 10 and has had more than 30 surgeries, most before his 2nd birthday. He didn't walk until he was 4 or potty train until 9. Still, overall he is doing AMAZINGLY well. So many people didn't think he would survive and what he has been able to overcome is awe inspiring and wonderful...and this is what we focus on. (his mom too). But every once in a while we see someone else's 10 year old, chatting away, playing football or whatever else it is a typical 10 year old does-- or someone stares at him for too long in the grocery store---or whatever it is triggers those feelings--and you can't help but just say SHIT, how the hell did this happen? and why did it have to happen to him? I always tell his mom that she wouldn't be human if she didn't have those moments and that they don't say anything about how she feels about him or what kind of mother she is. Every once in a while you have to grieve a little bit for what is lost...and then you are (just like her) will wipe away those tears and love that son of yours unconditionally, doing whatever you can to help him reach his full potential whatever that turns out to be.

and on a side note, I am another American pissed off beyond belief that an American Soldier and his family who have sacrificed so much for this country have to give a single moment's thought to finances. I agree that there must be something someone can do.This is madness.

Anonymous said...

"Hugs" to you guys! :) Somehow things will work out. Sometimes at the time it doesn't seem like it. I pray that soon you will be able to look back on all of this as memory of the beginning of how everything got sorted out. I think it helps that Kevin has so much energy within him. I think that is really helping him with everything. Walking, wheeling around, and everything else. Just watching the video of him in the car, with the kids, and just how is lifestyle was. He isn't someone who is going to let this stop him. He's already showed it to all of us. Cosmetically he will change as well. He is already looking so good without any plastic surgery. Just think of how much better he will get after that. Thanks for sharing all of your pictures! They are so fun to see! I'm also jealous with how nice it looks there. Shorts, tans, etc!
Have a great weekend!
Kathy in Iowa

Anonymous said...

I know this is not relevant here but it struck me (again) that you have such an ability to express your heart. Do you know how difficult that is for some of us? Many of us can't figure out what we really feel, besides the generic anger, happiness, etc., let alone express it so honestly and well.

I agree with the individual who recommended The Shack. I just read it and then saw the author, Wm. Paul Young, at a church here in Sacramento last Sunday. He has been through a lot in his life and he stood up there and made us laugh and cry at the same time. The book does indeed deal with, among other thigs, why bad things happen to some of us. No definitive answers, of course, but I guess that is what faith is all about. I felt like the book was a comforting friend.

As far as finding a house, I know how disappointing it can be but remember that there will always be a house or a condo or another place to live. Maybe not your first choice, but there will always be other options. Maybe a house is not what you need right now, I don't know. I just know that you have a brave young son who is almost walking and who is trying to talk, and who gives you smiles. You have brought this wonderful person into the world who calls you Mom, if not to you directly, then by the look in his eyes. He WILL continue to improve and the house situation will resolved itself one way or the other. Who knows? You might end up going back home - you just never know.

Warm hugs and smiles this day,

Cathy M

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,

I am a realtor here in PA (Karns City). My older boys went to school with Kevin, and I have been reading your blog everyday. My heart goes out to you. I had a customer last summer who was in the Army, he got a VA Loan through the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. I thought it might be worth a try, as credit unions are a lot easier to deal with than a bank. My son, who is in the Air Force was able to get a loan through a local credit union for a car with no established credit. So I thought you might like to try this avenue...the contact info for the Pentagon Credit Union is 800-247-5626 and their website is I hope this helps you out!
Stay Strong! You & Kevin are in my thoughts & prayers. Debbie M.

Anonymous said...

Leslie, I am a God fearing woman, I love the Lord with all my heart. I pray that you know who HE is. If not He is your best friend in time of sorrow and joy. Right now you sound as if you feel both. Yes Kevin is your son and you Love him with all you have. But OUR CREATOR loves Kevin even more than you do. He gave him his life. And God didn't take him away from you, he is still with you to love and hold and help. Just think how special God knew you were to give you Kevin. God had enough faith in you to take care of, His child, Kevin. He knew of all the people on this earth you were the perfect mother for Kev. He knew Kev would need that extra special mom to see to all his needs. Just like God gave us Jesus to see to all our needs, He also gave you, Kev And Breezy His Son, Jesus for all your needs. Do you have any idea what "all" covers. Every single thing in the world and beyond. You have a friend beyond friends in Jesus. Leslie I have know idea what you believe in, But in this you can. Just try, get on your knees and cry out to HIM, He will give you peace beyond all understanding. And He will always guide you in all you do. But try to remember this. For everything we ask for sometimes God says no. Why? Becuse it is what is best for us even if we don't understand at the time. Also remember for every door God closes He Himself opens another one, the right one, the perfect one. It is up to us to walk through through it. Always remember He will NEVER leave you or forsake you as long as you love Him with all you have. So instead of asking why? Just thank Him that He LOVED you enough to give you Kevin and Breezy. Why? because He knew and trusted you above all others to be their mom. I pray for all of you and I trust God to open the right door for you all. I pray you do also. With all the Love I have, Becky H.

Jessica said...

I can't even imagine what it must be like to watch your child go through so much. It sounds normal to me that you would have these periods of reflection and grief. Plus you have the housing situation weighing heavily on you. My heart goes out to you and I'll be praying that God would comfort you and continue to strengthen you and give you the wisdom you need.

Kevin looks great in the new chair and Solumbras! He'll be the terror of the hospital, lol! It's great that he was able to remember his friends from his childhood. I bet his memory will get better and better.

The Rock said...

Leslie , it is ok that you share your feelings with all of us . And it is ok to wonder how your life will still change ; in the next couple of Years. You have already went through so much change since Kevin was wounded . It must be hard to see you Son like this and all I can tell you is " Hang in there " you are doing so much already ! Check the Website
The Economy should have nothing to do with a Veteran needing a home.
VA Loans are also something to think about . Or write to a News Paper ! Find out what is available under the GI Bill . Also check with JAG ( Military Lawyer )at any Military Post .
I feel your pain Leslie and I am amazed by your Courage and Strength.
May you have a wonderful day tomorrow and find new memories .
Good Luck on the House !

Anonymous said...

Leslie, have been trying to put our visit into words, and now reading your last few days, sitting here with tears rolling down my face. First of all the Superbowl was incredible, but those guys don't hold a candle to Kevin. He's the true hero. Strong, courageous, determined and the list goes on. You and Breezy too are so impressive with how you are handling this with such grace!!! Failure? NEVER!!! That hospital was so overwhelming and walking in I told the girls, these people in here are the reason we can do what we do, the reason we are free. I could ramble on forever the emotions we all went through seeing Kevin; just too much for words though. I thought we'd pop in for a few minutes and leave but you know that didn't happen. I did not want to leave that boy's side (and yes he'll always be the boy running through my yard, skate boarding up the road at top speed). I am sorry about your mother, I think I expressed my dislike of this weather and getting around in it. Florida's wonderful for you guys, Kevin will be able to do so much more there. Would love to have you back in EB but certainly understandable. So much more I could say but I'll stop now. Good luck with house, so glad to see him out of his chair...again. And you go Kev in your new chair, it was so great to see him somewhat mobile!!! I was so totally impressed with the care he's getting! Take care all three of you!!! As always in our throughts and prayers, Sharon, Haleigh and Zach