Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day whatever, Apr 29, 2012

Sometimes you forget, ya know? I mean sometimes you're all caught up in the daily junk that is what we call life that you forget something that changed it all. We have just been so busy; I am really struggling to take care of Kevin and have a little something for me - my business. But tonight I had a few extra minutes and thought to myself 'let's start unpacking all those boxes in the office - you know the ones full of paperwork and mail from the last 4 years?'. So I started going through box after box and opening letter after letter, rereading card after card. I came across notes on how to do certain projects at Armstrong Cable when I worked there, Kevin's enlistment papers, I found so many cards and letters from people through the years and notebook after notebook filled with notes about Kevin for about the first year of this journey. Like the day he had his stroke and what we were going to do about the meningitis. Then there was the 'list of surgeries'. That flat out made me laugh because there were only about 12 on there. There was also a ridiculously long list of medications and on and on. I was doing well really. At this point anyway. Kinda chuckling at some of the stupid things I wrote. And smiling at some of the letters we received. I was thinking about how much more I know now than I did then. But then I opened this folder and staring back at me was my son, Kevin. In a nice, big 8x10 photo. From before. When he was normal. When life was normal. IT'S TIMES LIKE THIS THAT I FLIPPIN' HATE WHAT HAPPENED TO US!!!!!!!!!! Don't get me wrong - of course I am so happy that we have what we have. Kevin is doing unbelievably well, but damnit - why still does it have to be this way? Why couldn't he have just lost a toe or something dumb like that? Why can't he still be in the Army (or slinging burgers at McDonalds - I don't care)? Why can't I have a normal 8 hour a day job instead of a 24 hour one? Why can't we be near our friends? And family? Why can't Breezy be making almost double what she's making now because she had a GREAT job in PA with GREAT benefits! And we won't even discuss how I would be making at least triple what I do now and I sure wouldn't have to have 'inspectors' come to my home to make sure I'm doing it right. Then there's all the damn doctor's appointments. It is frickin relentless! We are both just so tired of it all that I haven't even called the therapist to resume work on his hand since we came home from Colorado. You know what I'd like? JUST ONE MONTH OF NO HOSPITALS OR DOCTOR'S OFFICES!!!!!!!!!!!! That's all - just 30 flippin days. It is really too much to ask for? And lawyers - PLEASE dispose of the need for any of them. It is ridiculous how they get tens of thousands of dollars a year from Kevin! Talk about raping an incompetent person; the court system surely does that! Ack! It really is just too much to bear sometimes. I usually do so well; mainly because I am kept too busy to think much about it, but tonight - seeing that picture just slammed a fist into my heart. It killed me to remember the boy I had before, the life ALL OF US had before. If I could only turn back time...


Jeff said...

Dear Leslie,

You are entitled to your rank, God knows you have served your time in Hell.
With that being said. Let me remind you of the pictures I posted of Kevin on Facebook a short time ago. When we met at Kevin's namesake skate park here in Brady. Kevin's friends were there and they put him on his board and the smiles and laughter that were shared that bright sunny day. Look how far he has come and you have made it so! Leslie, I'm no expert on your sadness, but know this you have made Kevin's life a meaningful one and filled it with love. When everything else fails love still remains and that is precisely what you have given Kevin.
Kevin's disability's doesn't define him, but Kevin's strength and character do.
Be proud of your accomplishments. You have overcome such adversity with a veterans system that doesn't always work the way it should.
In the end your a loving and caring mom with great strength who has done the very best for her boy.
Best wishes,
Jeff Bernstein/ east Brady

Anonymous said...

Leslie - I'm not going to tell you that this was God's plan or that you have done amazingly well, etc. I am going to tell you that you are allowed to ahve these feelings; you are allowed to want your "real" son back; you are allowed to be peeved about the lawyers and the doctors and the incompetency of agencies. Nobody knows what you go through unless thye walk in your shoes every day. You hold it together every day - for one reason - because you have no choice, you have to do it. Plain and simple. We all know you are a wonderful mom; we all know that Kevin is an amazing young man. It's the "what ifs?" that get us. If he is doing so amazing with this horrible thing, what if it never happened, how amazing would he be? What if you had put your foot downa nd said, no, you're not going to the service. What if..... But, you know none of us can change it and all of us would if we could.
I am so humbled by your posts, With sons, age 20 and 23, I am so grateful, but I also know there are many "what ifs" in that also. Minute bu minute, I know that there can be any number of things that can happen to disrupt the normalcy of life. We all think we have control, but really there is absolutely no control. We all think if we do the right things, bad things won't happen. In my 51 years, I now understand that we ahve no control and good things happen to bad people, just as much as bad things happen to good people. No rhyme, no reason. I would have never thought at my age that I would be watching my husband go through what he has and the "what ifs" pop up.
Allow yourself to mourn, because you are truly mourning the lost of your son in almost the same way as if he had not come back. He did come back but not as Kevin. By all means, you are allowed to feel anything you want to feel. Please promise if it gets too much, you will go speak to someone. There really are things and people who can help you through your feelings. It may not make the situation any better, but it can make you feel better about the situation.
Thoughts and prayers, Leslie!

Linda said...

I haven't posted in a while....but i totally agree with what Mr Bernstein and Hallie wrote Leslie! U have heard many times how good of a job you are doing with Kevin....and that is SO true! I seen first hand when I met you and Kevin at the All Stars..and how proudly he was showing us the pictures on his phone of his car...I could tell how over whelmed you were then..and still are some days. I just wish I could do something more than write here to help lift the heaviness in your heart. Hallie is have the right to have the feelings you are having when you see pics of Kevin before the accident! It doesn't just change ONE changes the life of the whole family, friends.....even the community! I pray that someday you guys are able to move back to PA to be closer to everyone!! U so deserve a break! And you have every right to feel what you do and I hope you have someone you can fall back on to help YOU when you need someone to talk to!!

Opal said...

My dear friend...the others have said it for all of us so I won't repeat their comments. Just know that I am glad that both of us can release our frustrations by writing what is in our hearts. You are allowed your moment too, but keep it just that...a moment. Time now for a little talk with self, put that beautiful smile back on, and go to bed knowing that you are so loved by your family and friends, that you have put your family first in your life, and that God kept Kevin alive for you. Get up in the morning ready to continue facing the tough world that is both behind and ahead of you...but as I can just hear you telling me at my low times when I look in a mirror and see your reflection looking back at me saying " Get it together girl, if I can do it you can too. " while I reply " Yeah, I hear ya buddy "'s hoping that you hear me buddy ??? I love you more than words can say and I hate what happened to Kevin but so glad that it brought us together. Your strength has gotten me thru some pretty rough days so don't let me down now....When I am down, I just think of you and since my problems are nothing compared to yours, I instantly feel better. I hope that you feel better too by the time that you read this...Hugs to you buddy.....Love ya....Opal

Butch said...

Damn Leslie, where is your drive on rag? What you need is trip for you and Kevin to Lexington, KY June 6 thru 10 for the Herd reunion. Sure would be good to see you guys again.

karen said...

Just read this now, Leslie, and wanted to acknowledge your pain and loss. No matter how much you are grateful for what you have, your loss is huge. Anyway, shedding a tear on your behalf today, hope you are doing well this summer,

karen in Vancouver