Monday, September 19, 2016

The gift

Dear Life,

Easily hurt. 
Yet extremely strong. 
That is the paradox of my my tall one. 
He has seen more hurt and pain within himself 
in the last few years that he never trusted anyone. 
Sometimes not even us. 
His story grew and grew within until his brain couldn't hold it. 
His mind was under so much stress it seemed like it was fracturing before our eyes. 
It was as if he was a piece of glass and he was shattering slowly yet devastatingly. 

After learning to slowly trust those around him, he started sharing. 
Little piece by little piece little bits of his story came out. 
Such a sad awful story, but to him sharing it was like giving a treasured gift when he did choose to share. 
It opened him up to vulnerability. 
And he got really frightened. 
Trauma can do that to you. 
But he slowly realized that those he chose to share pieces of himself to kept that special gift to themselves. 
So he began to trust. 
And he began to heal. 
Sometimes he fell back to his old ways. 
Old habits die hard. 
But we noticed a change over time. 
We noticed his strength. 
His courage. 
And the light started to come back in his eyes. 
He started standing tall, owning who he is. 
He stopped trying to hide, trying to shrink, trying to be invisible. 
We applauded this change. 
We were amazed and so happy to see our boy again. 
And over the last three weeks he was like every other teenage boy. 
He went to school, he practiced with his team and he worked out. 
He went to a football game. 
He smiled. 
Then he got braver. 
He shared his journey with those that have stuck by him but didn't really understand. 
His team. 
The courage he had to stand before thirty boys and share his personal hell and thank them for standing by him is powerful. 
Today he is a little fearful. 
What will they think?
Will the tell others?
Will they think less of me?
Today he is vulnerable. 
30 boys now have a piece of him. 
I know they will treasure the gift that has been given them. 
And I know my tall one will be ok. 
He is the strongest man I know. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

In one year...miracles have happened

Dear Life,

The emotions from last year to this year have changed drastically. 

Last year, our home was covered in a big dark cloud.
Kalani had been struggling for three years, as he was dealing with serious after affects from something he went through in seventh grade.  
He was unable to attend school for three years.
He became increasingly anxious, depressed, and unable to do daily things.
The most heartbreaking thing to watch was his inability to walk on the basketball court.  
His freshman year should have been exciting, his first year of high school basketball should have been fun.
We watched him deteriorate right before our eyes.  

Facebook and Instagram became a place of heartache for me.  
I saw everyone's posts of their children starting school, their shiny happy faces, the high school sports starting.
I watched my son doubled in half, not talking, covered in a blanket.
In unbelief, I listened to him tell me he was hearing voices that didn't exist; seeing people that weren't there.
I watched become someone else.
My heart broke in a million pieces as I watched my son become a shell of himself.
We attempted to watch the other freshman boys play basketball.
I cried in the bleachers as he couldn't even talk to them.

I would look at my son's pictures from when he was younger, and I would just wish we could go back to those times of innocence and joy.  
I missed hearing his shoes on the court, watching him play the game he loved.  
I was scared of this dark depression.
I was scared of this presence in our home that I couldn't see but he could actually see and hear.
I was scared I was going to lose him.

Through a whole year of help from his therapist, his coach, and the staff at his school, he climbed out of the darkness.
It didn't come free.  
He struggled, he cried, and he worked.  
He worked hard.  
Sometimes he went forward.  
Sometimes he went backwards.  
His coach reminded me often that it was a marathon, not a race.  
I had to cling to those words often.  
Every step backwards broke my heart again. 
He even told me a few times he wanted to quit basketball.  
I wondered if he would every play again.  

The love of his family and friends, the support from his coaches and teammates, (who have never once judged him, only supported him), the support from the school staff and his therapists brought him through this horrible year.

This month, I have witnessed a miracle.  
And today, Kalani went into school.


He's just another sophomore.

Who ran a marathon.

So grateful that Kawika made the decision to attend the same school as his big brother!
Best Brother Status!


Friday, July 22, 2016

A Glimpse

Dear Life,

Kalani and I worked together to create a video that shorts a very small amount of what he has felt and been through in the past year.  He wants to be able to show other teens dealing with mental health issues, that their lives are worth getting help.  He is such a huge example to me!  He is not afraid to share his journey in the hopes of helping others.

Last year, Kalani was unable to go to basketball, unable to practice with his team, unable to even watch their games.  He was unable to go to school or leave the house.  He was trapped in fear, and anxiety and depression took a toll.  He gained over 30 pounds in three short meals, he wasn't sleeping and he was not acting like the same kid I was used to.  He was either angry or sad.  Every night he turned into a very angry person who couldn't be around anyone.  He couldn't sleep in his room, he slept in mine.  He started hearing voices, and seeing people that didn't exist.  He thought he was crazy and thought he had to go to the hospital.

As a family, we were determined to help him while he stayed at home.  We got him into a special outpatient program through the county, and he was assigned to a psychiatrist and therapist.  It took many many weeks for Kalani to trust his therapists.  He was given medication to help with the depression, anxiety, and voices he was hearing.  It was a very scary few months, and honestly, we never expected him to play basketball again.  We were so sad that our boy had to fight so hard to just live, and often times the voices told him to quit. He got so tired.

He had a major breakthrough three months ago.  He was able to talk about something that has plagued him for years.  He is still working through this, but he was able to complete a semester of school, a session of summer school, and summer basketball.  We are so proud of him and all of his hard work.  He still has work to do, but he's in a completely different place than he was last year.

He created this short video to show a little of what he has been through. Thank you for everyone who supports our family, for those that have been kind and supportive to our boy, and to those that share his journey in hopes of helping others.  #ItTakesATeam