Sunday mornings were a special time for me. I was always awake hours before anyone else in the house. I relished the calm and quiet. I’d make coffee and sit at the kitchen table doing a crossword puzzle. I especially loved days when the morning sun warmed the house, as it rose over the lake. Life was good living the American dream, complete with two dogs and 2.7 cars.
Sunday mornings are now nothing special. Just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean jack to me (or Ryan, for that matter). This time is replaced by dressing my son, transferring him from his bed, and stimulating his bowels. Coffee is a necessity to make it through the
morning day. Crossword puzzles give way to endless therapy.
Last weekend, when Sue told me how she was “awed” by my fortitude and wondered how I did it, I said something in reply that continues to nag at me. It was so matter-of-fact and without a second thought that it startled me. I guess hearing myself say it aloud made it real.
I said, “Don’t be impressed, it just comes off the end of my life… exponentially”. A classic case of “tit-for-tat”, I thought to myself (and smirked). Those who know me will have no doubt I’m a huge fan of the former, but in this situation I’ll gladly take the tat. Anyhow, Sue said nothing and I didn’t look up from dressing Ryan to see her reaction. Hell, I didn’t mean to say it. It just came out without thinking. It felt like I had just vomited my thoughts.
It hit me hard for one simply reason. There are people depending on me being around and I’m not sure I can sustain myself for the distance. This scares me.
For me, having my card punched from this life would — in many ways — be welcomed. No, I’m not suicidal… not even close. I’m just depressed and tired. So, I’m sure this is the point where some are ready to tell me I must take care of myself, for Ryan’s sake. Believe me, I would… if I felt I could.
In reality, we are being tossed around in a sea of desperation and there is only one life vest. Sue and I chose to give it to Ryan and we’ll tread the water. All the while, I’ll keep Sue’s head above water as best I can.
I’m not foolish nor ungrateful. I know we never would be at this point without all the help from you. You surround us, nourish us, and give comfort and strength. Life rafts. Ready to pull us from the wreckage, but knowing we will never get out of the water until Ryan is able to swim on his own. You do this despite the rocks being lobbed from the shore by the attackers and their families.
We are sincerely thankful to those who have not abandoned us. Oh, how I hope we can come up for a breath long enough to truly let you know.
[poll id=”26″] See previous poll answers here.
Ann H Tearle says
Still here…still praying….and will be always…
I know you know that of course you have to take care of yourself in order to be able to care for Ryan the way you do. Feeling as you do though, Ken, I’m sure you just don’t think you have the energy or time to even think of taking on yet one more thing. BUT, if you could swing it (you know, have a person whom you trust come and be with Ryan for the amount of time it would take for you to do this) it’d be like letting the steam out of a radiator……and i believe it would give you some of the support you need to keep on keeping on. Gosh–you know what? It sounds as if it is time for you (or your rep) to train a group of volunteers who would work in shifts–and i mean serious people who would make the commitment and learn how you want Ryan taken care of, so that you knew these were people you could trust to be Ryan’s helpers. I am a retired phlebotomist/Med Lab Assist (after 16 years on the job) from Kaiser Permanente. I live in Catlett, Va., but I am retired and could participate in a set up like this–say, 4-hour shifts. Food for thought……Retired nurses would be even better–maybe the hospital would have a list of those who wish to serve and would commit to this. The hospitals do a certain amount of ‘outreach’ work in the community (as volunteers)–this could be a real project for the right participants. Please give it some thought……..prayers in any case. You need a break, for real.
I know you can sustain yourself for the distance Ken, I have faith in you. You are not a quitter!
Ms. Blasé says
I think we are all each other’s life rafts. Being interconnected, even if by tragedy, somehow helps us all to keep afloat and focused on what’s really important in this life: cherishing and maintaining the priceless relationships we have with others.
That’s what it’s all about!!
Jill in Morgantown says
I truly don’t know how you and your family continue to do the things you do. I know you have to go on sheer willpower. My heart just aches for you all. I wish there was something we could do to take away your pain. Still here and praying in Morgantown
Ken, when your brain and body gets this worn out and tired, it comes up with thoughts like yours to protect you against too much overload, like a circuit breaker. I feel if you had a break and a contactful presence of someone you trusted who would just really hear what you have to say and for you to take it easy once a week to talk, you would be able to recharge and sustain your inner spirit. I will pray that your spirit and soul is charged with the energy of the Holy Spirit, and you are given the sustenance to feel more alive. I don’t think many of us could do what you have done for your Son Ryan, even if we wanted to, so it is awe inspiring your love in you that keeps Ryan and your family together. I will pray for you, Ryan, Sue, and Kari, that you all be blessed with faith, energy, good health, and whatever is needed to make you know God’s love for you and your family. You need a break and some time to heal from all this trauma my friend. God Bless, and I will pray that I can do something to help out, just ask, unfortunately, I’m not a nurse, not rich, but I will give what I can. Patrice
Ken…I know for a fact that a good therapist can help you when you are in a dark place. Contact me if you want to get some names. I think you would be surprised how much they can help.
With you guys at all times. Whatever you need, we will always try our best to help. Have no doubt about that. You can forever count on us. Wish things were different. Don’t think many of us could do what you do We are all simply in awe of you and will do our best to offer support in any way. Love, Peggie
**sorry, meant beat you down
Ken, Have you ever been on an airplane and heard the comments on what to do in case of a disaster? One instruction is… to put the oxygen on yourself first then your child. You need to do the same thing. Realize that you need to save yourself first and that is helping Ryan (in the long run). Take some time and maybe join a gym to release some stress and strengthen your body and spirit. Being a caretaker is a difficult task and will beat up down if you do not take care of yourself!
Very well said, Kyne. If only to have someone Ken trusts whole-heartedly to stay with Ryan while he and Sue together take even a short walk outside together could be rejuvenating. I don’t know if Ryan is mobile at all, but even a car ride somewhere close….to a park or something just for a change of scenery, might do wonders for everyone. Ken, I know it wouldn’t be easy, but is that a possibility?
My eyes fill with tears every time I read your blog, Ken. My heart aches for you and your family. I cannot walk past your street without thinking of you and saying a little prayer.
Your OK in my book. I had the American Dream at one time until my nervous breakdown, followed by job loss, health insurance loss and finally the loss of everything I worked so hard for within an occupation that I loved. I know depression and despair. That is not you.
Gail Doyle says
Ken, Even though I don’t know you personally ,from everything you’ve written over the months ,I feel the kind of person you are; the husband, and the father,the man who would and does do anything and everything for his family ..I really hurt for you when you feel this way and know there is nothing anyone can do but let you know we’re here and praying for you and will still be here when Ryan gets better. Thinking of you all… Always here Ken Gail
Carla Liberty says
You are experiencing what no parent should ever have to face. You didn’t choose this, it chose you. No, let me rephrase that….it was THROWN at you – hook, line and sinker. I can’t pretend to know what you, Sue, Kari, and Ryan are going through. But I do know that as Paula so eloquently said, we will never abandon you. Love / hugs, and continued prayers ~~carla
Let us pray… …
Ken, you have my utmost respect, and you represent the finest in strength and love. It may often feel as though you are totally alone in this world — but remember, there are many who are encircling you and your family each and every day with love and prayers. Not that this eases your pain, but at least, you know you are loved and cared about, as is Ryan, Kari and Sue. You know if you reach out your hand for help, someone’s gonna grab it. Love & prayers always, Paula
Carla Liberty says
BEAUTIFULLY said, Paula.