Friday, September 26, 2008

finally something happy to think about...

Yep , you are hearing it here! (not first either! lol thanks to Facebook) Dennis and I are heading to Toronto on Thanksgiving weekend to visit with family in friends in Brantford and Paris, then up to Coburg then to Uxbridge and finally ending in TO to stay with my cousin (who btw is wanting to take us out somewhere "swanky" were her words!LOL)before heading home. I had to tell her that we are from Manitoba and we dont do swanky... so i need to raid a few closets and find some stuff to take. Our family had all been returned to the airport on Monday to go to their respective homes and it was so incredibly hard for me to not climb on a plane and so somewhere--anywhere! So i came home and talked it over with Dennis and it was decided that Ontario is just were we need to be right now. I cant wait to see my cousin Andy (havent seen him in 20 yrs or more)and his wife Barb and my other cousin Melanie and her gorgeous 10yr old Jade! I will also get to see my aunts and my great aunt and then there are all my old school chums that i havent seen since grad in 1990... sigh (i want to be 10lbs thinner and more fit but i cant see that happening in 2 weeks!lol) I am just a bit excited to go as you can tell. I havent been home since Josh was just a few months old (he is 14 now) and Dennis has never been! He will get a bit of more understanding of my life i think (yes even after 16 yrs together) and why i am the way i am!

This summer has really made us all realize that we need to enjoy and appreciate our family and friends while we are all here! Not just expect them to be there. Yesterdays funeral was hard. There were about 500 ppl there and with Rdg Mtn being a small town alot of the ppl at Dawn's funeral had just been to Dwaynes...

The kids have all been told that it is just a mom and dad trip and they all seem to be ok with it. Grandma and Grandpa will look after them so all will be well on that front. But even tho i am so excited to go home and see my old friends and family i havent sen in 20 or more years-- I feel so guilty about it. (darn the "mom feelings") I am trying to relax more about Sam (he went on his first sleep over last night) and the other kids, but as we all well know... being a mom seems to automatically make our middle name "guilt". I am trying to give the "giddy-let-get-going-on-the-plane-and-relax"felling more free reign so it will hopefully drowned the guilt... we will see how that works for me.

Sam and I were in WPG on Wed for appt's they started at 10 and were solid thru til 2.30. (we finally ate lunch at 3.30 on our way out of the city). He will be doing a sleep study (overnight) in Wpg sometime before Christmas, at that same time we will be seeing the neurologist again. The neurologist on Wed told us to hold off on the full time school for now for a few weeks. Keep him at 1/2 time and let him get his self sorted. Sam had a couple of full time days at school but he was so tired by afternoon he was short and snippy with ppl so 1/2 days til he can gain control of his emotions when tired. We have had a few episodes with his lack of social skills and emotions, but for the most part he is Sam again. So when we get back from TO we will try full days again. Nothing has changed on the physical activity front-- no football, hockey or other contact sports til spring, no biking, swimming etc til spring either. His OT had said that he scored lower on his tests she did with him last week and will be sending things thru to the school for some help with it. So hopefully he can get back to his normal self both at home and school a bit quicker. He aced the communications tests he did. His therapist said he had amazing vocabulary for a 12 almost 13 yr old (Happy dance here!lol) and she wont need to see him again! He also needs to go for psychological testing to see where he is at mentally i guess. (so much info on Wed i was losing my train of thot!)
So that was Wed in a nutshell.
Overall Sam seems to be healing and reacting to everything that has happened this summer well--but there are days where i wonder still. He can be very emotional and touchy. Those days make me want to crawl back into bed (since back in time isnt possible...)and wait it out there...but, in being the mom i cant. They are draining for me and I am sure they are draining for him but he doesnt seem to understand when he gets into those moods so we have to teach him how to watch for them and know when he is tired before he gets to that point and how to either deal with it or work his way out of it. I have a hard time when i am like that... how do you teach someone else!?

One Wed night he was getting ready to go to bed after our trip into the city and he hugged me and said "thanks mom" and i asked for what. He said " for all that you have done today and this summer for me." I looked at him and said "Sam, i am just glad to have you here to do those things for!" his reply...he leaned back and looked up at me and said "I am too." he hugged me again and went to bed. I stood in our room and held back a waterfall of tears...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the surreal life

This last week has been just so surreal. It has been impossible to think of it any other way. It has passed by so slowly. Dwayne's funeral was Friday and it was a hard one. The church was full and emotions were running high for everyone-- even the 'tough' construction guys were crying.
I was proud of Joshua. He stood so tall and proud as a pallbearer, but tears were running down his face. He broke down just before everyone got to the church for the private viewing. He broke down at the cemetery but he walked and carried Dwayne not only physically but totally in his heart to the hearse.
My mom has been just like a Chevy truck - "like a rock". At the funeral luncheon she was comforting everyone and doing Dwayne proud. He was smiling on us i know. It is going to hit her hard on the holidays when he those were times he was always home for. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter... I thin that is when it will all hit my Hannah too. She is very confused right now and not really understanding what is happening.
Isaac is taking it hard since he is very emotional and very in touch with people's feelings. But he went up to the casket and said in a small quiet voice" i love you uncle Dwayne, good bye."
Samuel was overwhelmed and sat beside me, holding my hand crying and he kept asking if i would be ok. What an awesome man he is growing into. I was so proud of all my kids on Friday. They were great supports to Dennis and I, My mom and to others.

WE came home from mom's yesterday around noon and we were trying to relax and take it easy when we got a call from a friend that was calling to tell us of another friend that had a massive heart attack last the night before. It just never seems to stop! She was 45-50yrs old. She has a teenage daughter and a husband... i cnat even describe what is going on in our heads and hearts this week. It is hitting Dennis hard as he played broomball with her and her husband, they were at our wedding, she used to run the cafe in Kelwood where we would have coffee and meals... to much.
Then this morning my mom passed this email on to people. I am posting it cuz it is so true... I cried, so maybe grab a kleenex or two first...

Maybe... we were supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that,when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

Maybe . . . when the door of happiness closes, another opens; but, oftentimes, we look so long at the closed door that we don't even see the new one which has been opened for us.

Maybe . . . it is true that we don't know what we have until we lose it, but it is also true that we don't know what we have been missing until it arrives.

Maybe . . . the happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

Maybe . . . the brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; after all, you can't go on successfully in life until you let go of your past mistakes, failures and heartaches.

Maybe . . . you should dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go, be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you dream of, and want to do.

Maybe . . . there are moments in life when you miss someone -- a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, a child, a cousin -- so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real, so that once they are around you appreciate them more.

Maybe . . . the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.

Maybe . . you should always try to put yourself in others' shoes. If you feel that something could hurt you, it probably will hurt the other person, too.

Maybe . . you should do something nice for someone every single day, even if it is simply to leave them alone.

Maybe . . giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they will love you back. Don't expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart; but, if it doesn't, be content that it grew in yours.

Maybe . . . happiness waits for all those who cry,all those who hurt, all those who have searched, and all those who have tried,for only they can appreciate the importance of all the people who have touched their lives.

Maybe . . . you shouldn't go for looks; they can deceive; don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.Find the one that makes your heart smile.

Maybe . . you should hope for enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy

Maybe . . . you should try to live your life to the fullest because when you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling but when you die, you can be the one who is smiling and everyone around you crying.

Things can only get better right!?
Samuel told us a couple of weeks ago that he was going to be going to school full time in 2 weeks-- that was his goal.Well tomorrow he is going to go for his first full day. He is so excited. I pray that all goes well for him and that there are no side effects of the florescent lights or noise or that he gets too tired! I found out on Thursday from the school too that he will be back in his regular class (the band class) and he is going to be on percussion instruments (he was a trombone last year-- but it is too heavy for him to handle right now! He will be very excited when i can remember to tell him... :-D

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

same -- title 2 posts down...

DWAYNE DALE UNGER -- Dwayne Dale Unger, beloved husband of Debbi, father of Darren and Tanya, and stepfather of Jodi Ginter, entered into rest in Neepawa, MB on September 14, 2008 at the age of 55 years. Funeral service will take place on Friday, September 19, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. in the Neepawa First Baptist Church, 219 Highway 5 North, Neepawa, MB. Interment will take place in the Riding Mountain Cemetery, Riding Mountain, MB. If friends so desire, donations may be made to The Harvest Sun Music Festival (support of local farm aid) in care of Kelwood Improvement Society, P.O. Box 36 Kelwood, MB R0J 0Y0 or The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba, 824 - 18th St. Unit 3, Brandon, MB R7A 5B7. White's Funeral Home Neepawa - Carberry in care of arrangements. (204) 476-2848. (from

in a nutshell that was last weekend for us. Again... i want to cancel all weekends.
This is just too much. I know that there is a plan in the works but how much emotional pain can one family take!?
Dwayne was combining and got out to help unplug it and walked behind the header and had a massive heart attack. He was gone in seconds.
He is leaving a huge hole in my mom's heart, my kids and mine and Dennis'. He will be missed by alot of people. Tomorrow is the funeral and it is going to be large 600-700 ppl or more. I dont know how but we will all get thru it.
I am worried about Joshua. He idolized Dwayne (as did all the kids) but Josh was his shadow. He is going to be a pall barer and I know he will do it because it is "uncle Dwayne" but he hasnt cried or anything yet. I just pray that when (if) he breaks down that Dennis or I are there to help him thru it. This is the first time he has really lost someone he loves. I think the other kids will all be ok (well as ok as to be expected) But Josh... i am not sure.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

still here...

i have been finding it hard to sit and write anything here these past few days. I will get a thot that I would like to express and find that it sounds either too "poor pitiful me" or too personal to write. This morning I was up earlier than everyone else (something that is rare these days) and in talking with a friend on-line found that she seemed to hit my feelings on the head. She said that is is hard to get going forward when i know all that could have been-- I am suffering from "too much info". I have a few minutes of 'breakdown' if i happen to be 'struck' with the "gurly bug" as Hannah and i call it. But then take a deep breath and carry on... or try too. Please dont get me wrong, i am extremely thankful for his life and improvements that have baffled doctors and therapists, but somedays it is hard to process it all. Sometimes i wonder if i am waiting for the other shoe to fall...
This week is going to be a busy one as Sam is going to school for a part day on Monday and then starting to go for 1/2 days right now and then from there we will go forward. He is ready to go . He needs the structure and the socialization with his peers. As much as i am excited to see him go it is extremely hard! I have only really been gone away from him for one day since July 29 and I went to Brandon to go to the dr. and do some shopping. It was so hard to walk out the door-- but on the other hand it was hard to come home again to the stress (not that the stress was gone while in Bdn). But to go to school is difficult too. The kids are all there, the busy halls, the fluorescent lights, the noise, the stress for Sam (and Josh). But as Dennis says 'we wont know if we dont try with him'.
I asked his tutor to please text me once or twice to let me know how he is doing thru the morning. ( I am sure that Lance [the tutor] thinks i am nuts -- which IS true...) We also learned on Friday that Lance has been traded (he is a hockey player), so he will be leaving at some time and i pray that someone else can be found to work with Sam at school. He is still realy needing work on his social skills and the left side is still weak ( I notice of slack in his face still alot) and he drags his left foot slightly when he walks. I hope that if they can find someone else to take over the tutor/mentor position that they are able to connect as well with Sam as Lance has.
This week is also another round of doc appt.'s in Wpg on Tuesday. We see the OT, PT, Ophthalmologist, etc and then we have an appt for Josh at St. Boniface. So it will be an early morning, busy and long day for everyone.
We are still waiting for doctor reports too, from Winnipeg for ... basically everyone. Our home doc, the school, us... No one has seen really anything of any importance...bureaucratic 'planning' i guess. Maybe these next few rounds of appt will bring in the paper work!
The rest of the kids are handling most of this very well. Hannah has her moments tho. I am not sure if her moods and moments of tears are due to this past summer or to her age(9) (and having 'gurly moments") It is hard to deal with somedays since everything and anything can set her off!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cancelling all weekends...

they are too emotional it seems. This weekend was not the best i have had (nor was it the worst...) but this was the Saturday that for the first time we went in different directions -- since July29. Saturday Josh was all geared up for his mentor duck hunt and Sam was preparing for the "Banjo Bowl" in Winnipeg(for those that are not football fans-- the 2nd of 2 games between Saskatchewan and Winnipeg). We are big RoughRider fans here and this was Sam first time to a game!
I had been preparing myself all week for Josh to go on his hunt, but nothing prepared me for how it was actually going to be on Saturday when we woke up and he was getting ready to go (Packing his overnight bag, clothes, shotgun...) I was ill, anxious, i had a headache, my stomach was turning. I couldn't eat so i did what i could... i took my pills from Dr. Chapman and i slept, i cried when i was awake and i slept a bit more. I wasn't ready to let him go out (without Dennis) and shoot a gun. Even tho there was going to be a mentor with him -- one to one-- i was so scared. Not that he would do something , but what if someone else did. Accidents happen.. we well know that. Dennis tried to calm my fears but i was still very ill for the rest of the day. We sent Dennis' cell with him and he texted us frequently and told us everything that was happening (going to see the field where they were hunting, saw his blind, lots of geese in the field, going to eat, going to bed and the most important.. I love you mom.) I prayed and Dennis prayed for and with me , and i made it thru Saturday night, but the anxiety got the better of me as we drove out of Neepawa. Now we were going to be in Winnipeg if he needed us... but he is a strong kid and handled the whole thing great. He kept me posted thru out the day (texts started at 4 am!!) and called me when he got home. It was hard to let him go out there and hard to leave him to take Sam to his football game, but we all made it thru. Joshua texted us that he got 2 geese and 2 ducks! Good size ones -- so now i have new recipes to work with.

The game between Sask and Wpg is a touchy one with Bomber fans in the city. We got many dirty looks and gestures over our Rider flag on the van and our shirts and hats... but we just smile and say"cant take the cup from us!" or" 7 wins (8 after last nights win!!!!)and 2 losses... not bad for the under dogs!"
WE got sorted at the stadium and found our seats (waaaaaaaaaaaay to the top of the stadium near the top of the bleachers). We got to watch the Riders warm up before the game ans Sam was getting excited. He really wanted to see Darrian Durant (his favorite player-- Quarterback) and Weston Dressler (receiver) but Durant is out with an injury. He was quite excited to see Congi practicing his kicking. Once the game started tho it was a bit different. The crowd was too loud for him and i think the Bomber fans yelling obscenities to the Rider fans got to him. Sam was sitting in front of me and about 5 minutes into the game i noticed he wasn't watching the game . he was huddled into his sweater. When i asked him what was wrong he cried and said "i cant see!" (here i panicked and thot he couldn't SEE). He couldn't see over peoples heads and bodies and he was so confused or ooverwhelmed maybe, that he didn't think to say anything to us OR to stand up or move so he could see. We moved seats and he was able to see but needed to be reminded thru out the game to more around to be able to watch the game. He really didnt like the noise of the game either. He sat with his hands over his ears for most of the game. Sam says he had a great time and i am sure he did but i am sure the overwhelming noise and crowds and verbal abuse that was being bantered back and forth kind of wrecked what he was hoping it would be.
There were 5 minutes left in the game (score was 31-31) and we got up to walk to the west side of the stadium to the Rider's tunnel exit, so Sam could see the players up close. We ended up sitting right by the entrance of the exit for the last 2 minutes of the game and had a great view of Congi kicking a field goal for the winning points 5 seconds left in the game for the score 34-31! It was a great end to an awesome game and I think thot that was the highlight of Sam's day... until Dressler(#7) was walking in and autographed Sam's hat for him! James Johnson(#19) (defensive back) signed Isaac's hat for him too! (both boys were flying high then!)

Today i feel like i have been thru the wringer a few times and am exhausted. Sam started his tutoring today and after what we saw yesterday at the stadium, I am glad we aren't pushing the going to school thing. When he gets overwhelmed by things he retreats and gets very emotional. I am not sure how well that would go over in a Jr. High school with other students. So we are going to be working on strategies to help him with this. So i will be surfing the TBI sites for any info to help him to deal with it. This is my new "norm" new things crop up and i am surfing TBI sites... how much info can one brain hold!? :-D

Thursday, September 4, 2008

and so it goes...

School has started and Sam went for 15 minutes on Wed. just to see his friends and for them to see him, to get a bit of work to start on until the tutor is available to come and start school work (which hopefully will be on Monday).Sam was very happy to see the kids at school and i was so proud of one friend that greeted Sammi at the school door with a big hug! (Thanks Tiff!) I found it incredibly hard to stand off and not hover over Sam and the kids while he maneuvered thru the crowds of the halls and the classrooms! I wanted to follow him and make sure everyone gave him a wide berth... but i didn't. I wanted to tell everyone to back off be sure to be nice to my boy and no snide remarks and sideways glances at him... but i didn't. I wanted to take him home and place him in my invisible plastic bubble...but i didn't. He has to have his independence and freedom -- he IS 12 after all.("almost 13 mom!") and he has to learn to stand on his own (fully knowing that we are here for him if he does have to have someone who has is back) Then tonight we left him at cadets (after briefing the leaders about what to watch for if he gets tired and if his social skills start declining). I found that extremely hard to do-- leave him in a room full of hyper teens... "normality is good... just breathe and walk out the door, Jodi."(breathe... in and don't forget to let it out!)

Dennis and i were "counseled" by the counselor (well duh!) that we need to find time to do things together. Not as easy as it sounds or as easy as some people seem to think it is. First-- have you ever tried to find a "sitter" (for lack of a better word)to stay with your 14 and 12 yr olds!? These are kids who were, until recently, babysitters themselves!
It isn't easy to find the 'sitter' that is able to fully understand about seizures and what can and cannot happen (We have grown used the ever so NOW popular "well he looks fine to me type-phrase [ and what they really want to say i am sure is "stop babying the boy"].
Secondly, it is also not so easy to convince the kids that they aren't being "babysat". Now, you can tell them all the stories and explanations that you want but there is still that look of "give me a break" that makes you want to cry, stay home or lock them in their rooms -- either way-- none of these are actions that will end in a nice relaxing night out! SO once all this is accomplished-- who really wants to go out and try to relax? (FYI-It was way easier when the kids were younger (doing this the first time around) and getting someone to come in and watch them -- back when they were cute and sassy. Now they are all just plain sassy... lol

Today was just another reminder that people that don't always understand what occurs with TBI survivors. They tend to look at the outside of the person and the family and see "all is well". Not realizing that there is alot going on beneath the surface-- stuff that we as a family will see but not noticeable to the outsider's eye.
I am not trying to whine or look for sympathy or anything... just informing people. Tonight Dennis may have hit the nail on the head when i told him that i wished (sometimes) that we were still in Wpg at the hospital because there it was far easier to deal with things because everyone there seemed to understand that this is all a learning process for us ALL(no long -- or short-- explanations of things) . Dennis said "maybe we are going thru this so that we can help someone else to get thru it in the future or possibly right now" (and of course we dont know it!) If this is a plan of God's (and i doubt we will ever really know) I believe like Mother Theresa said "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."

Today was one of those days, it seems, that just passes you by and at the end of the night you are left sitting there in bed wondering" Did i manage accomplish anything today? Did i manage to make it thru another day unscathed by the remarks of others? Did i pass on any words of kindness or love to anyone if they were brusque, rude or snide? Did i brush my hair!?"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Samuels recent mood swings are beginning to get to me. I know that they could be attributed to:

A) his personality
B) his brain injury
C) his age
D) slep apnea
E) all of the above (this is my choice)

but today i just want to sit and cry! 'Everyone' is making him mad, 'everything' is putting him in a foul mood. He might be upset about school starting tomorrow and i am hoping i am able to drive comfortably so i can take him in for a bit to see his friends... but that is NOT helping him or me with this attitude and moodiness. I am feeling very frustrated and irritated by his mood. I have tried to explain that he needs to go to his room for a bit to get away from everyone until he feels he can deal with what ever was bothering. He can pray, punch a pillow, cry, write, draw... whatever it takes but all i get is silence, crossed arms and glares. But he goes to his room and i pray... or i try to ...
My brain is so full of everything that has gone on, is going on and what is coming up with not just Sam but with the other kids, Dennis, my mom and life in general, that i keep feeling like i am losing this battle. I am so tired of smiling and telling people that all is fine and we can handle this... some days i am not so sure-- other days i am positive we can.