We're all on a journey

One-Eyed Fat Man
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
You guys know bits and pieces of our story, but I thought I'd fill in some blanks for those who might not. After graduating from A&M with a B.S. in agronomy and an MBA, Melissa and I got married in Bryan on January 3, 1981. I began a career in banking which I did for about 15 years. In 1987, while we were living in Baton Rouge, where I worked for Hibernia National Bank, our second child, Holden, was born. When he was six weeks old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour - in the span of about two hours, our world was turned upside down and lives changed forever.

Holden's tumour was removed and determined to be benign, but about 72 hours later, he suffered a
hemorrhage causing severe brain damage. Holden lived just over 18 years, but was dependent on our family for all of his care - feeding, dressing, bathing. He was in wheelchair and couldn't speak, and had vision impairment. And everyday, we were blessed by him as we learned what it really is to love.

On December 9, 2005, Holden died at home, in front of me, Melissa and our son, Brien, who was 13 at the time. At Holden's funeral, the church was packed with not only family and friends, but many of the kids, now in high school, who had been his friends, pushed his wheelchair to the lunchroom and music. A number of them came to us in tears, telling us how they were going into special ed or medicine because of Holden's impact on their lives.

After the dust settled, we tried to move on with our lives, but it wasn't easy. Holden had been the focus of everything we had done for over eighteen years. Our marriage suffered, and we were actually separated for several months a few years after his death. I learned I was suffering from severe anxiety which actually dated back to my childhood, and had a detrimental impact on just about every part of my life.

Brien is an extremely smart kid, but he went into a tailspin during high school. In short, he made some bad choices which fortunately didn't ruin his life. His grades also suffered and with the 10% rule, he had no chance of getting into A&M, so we looked east. He was admitted at Ole Miss, Arkansas and Alabama, where he decided to go, beginning in 2010. School came in third behind fraternity and partying, and his grades reflected it.

Along about the same time he left for Alabama, Melissa and I started getting involved in short term mission through an organisation, Rivers of the World. This led us to Vietnam, Peru and Congo and we began to feel God calling us to full time mission work. And we continued to worry about Brien. Despite those worries, the calling we felt was stronger, so in 2015, we joined Presbyterian World Mission, and as many of you know we now serve in Zambia.

A couple of years ago, we finally told Brien he needed to grow up and decide what he wanted out of life. We also told him it was time to take a timeout from school. During that time, he worked cooking in a cafe in Tuscaloosa. In May of 2017, he returned to school and since that time, his GPA has been about 3.6.

In December, we'll fly home for a couple of weeks to attend his graduation and spend Christmas with him and our daughter's family. We're very proud of him - I've told him a number of times everyone loves a comeback story. But I'm even more proud of our journey and how we've responded to all of the challenges we've faced. I'm overwhelmed by the love people have shown us during our lives and in large part, I believe that's what lead us to mission. I guess my real point in posting this is to let you guys know that even in the face of adversity there's a better day ahead. If any of you guys are struggling, hang in there and know it will get better.

Blessings,
OEFM
Oso96
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Great post. I've always wondered what sent you to Africa.
Aggiewes
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
THX for sharing! God Bless. May He continue to use you for His Kingdom and His glory!

Wes '87
redsquirrelAG
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Amazing and inspiring story. Thanks for sharing this and God bless
matthewj042
How long do you want to ignore this user?
La Fours
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Knucklesammich
How long do you want to ignore this user?
I show my kids all of your posts/pics to not only remind them of the tremendous oppirtunuties they have that others dont, but also to remind them that we all could do a lot mire to serve others.

Thanks for sharing your story.
One-Eyed Fat Man
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Good for you, not because I'm anything special, but because I think it's important for kids to be aware of the big world out there with lots of good folks. In our travels, we've been to some amazing places. For the most part, they've been safe - even in DRC, we never felt unsafe although the Kasai provinces where we spent a lot of time are experiencing fighting now. Without exception, we've been welcomed with love everywhere we've been.

I truly believe these words from Mark Twain,Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.

One of the cool things about our work here in Zambia is we've met and become friends with quite a few Peace Corps Volunteers, including some Aggies. I am encouraged by these young people. I wish I had been more outward focused rather than inward focused when I was their age.

One-Eyed Fat Man
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
By the way, if anyone is hiring,

http://instagr.am/p/Bo0v0-dFdKJ
COSCAG00
How long do you want to ignore this user?
water turkey
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Great story
tamc93
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Thank you for sharing and serving.
John Cocktolstoy
How long do you want to ignore this user?
It is stories like this that make me feel like I have been living in a blanket of security. I will be such a wreck when tragedy hits.
Websider Todd44 GigEm
One-Eyed Fat Man
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
No you won't, John. The strength that you have to endure is beyond belief. When I worked at Hibernia, my boss was only a year or two older than me. Our kids played together, and they watched our daughter, Meagan, who was about three at the time, while we spend two months at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans.

After I got back to work, and Holden and Melissa were still at the hospital, I went to lunch with Roger one day. As we ate, he said, "I couldn't do it. I don't know how you guys are able to". I told him we weren't given a choice. Sooner or later we all have to "grow up." Guys my brothers age were going to Vietnam seeing their buddies die when they were 18 or 19. I was able to put it off until my early 30s. Bottom line is no one goes through life unscathed.

I mentioned my anxiety in my OP. That had a lot to do with our marriage issues. In short, I was an ******* to folks I loved and over the years it ebbed and flowed. Melissa would reach the breaking point and I'd promise to do better and I would for a while. And then I'd fall back into the same problems. Finally she had enough and told me to get out. It nearly killed me but it was the best thing that ever happened to me and us. I knew I needed help and finally got it. And I didn't give up on us. I became a monk of sorts, living along in an apartment. I spent my time praying and reading. At first, it was just about getting my family back, but then it became God, show me what you've got for me - I hope it includes putting the pieces of our lives back together, but if not, show me. I'm yours, on your terms, not mine. And slowly it all came together. In fact, it was while I was alone that I first sensed the call to mission which led me to Vietnam. I guess a good trait that I have and Brien has inherited, is perseverance. Without my faith, I wouldn't have made it.
John Cocktolstoy
How long do you want to ignore this user?
John Cocktolstoy
How long do you want to ignore this user?

A man who has never met me but has faith in my strength. You sound like a great man and it is hard to believe you needed help...you looked for the answers in the right place.
Websider Todd44 GigEm
AGGODDESS
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Thank you for sharing this. We lost our son in 2013 to brain cancer and parts of this resonate SO true. We have a 7 year old son who I worry about daily that that experience will impact him negatively (he was 3 at the time but recalls a lot of it). This post encourages me that even if it does.. there's always a chance it can turn around.

"After I got back to work, and Holden and Melissa were still at the hospital, I went to lunch with Roger one day. As we ate, he said, "I couldn't do it. I don't know how you guys are able to". I told him we weren't given a choice."

This from your post is the most true thing ever. My husband and I have been married 14 years and it's taken a toll for sure, but, we didn't have a choice but to be strong and courageous.

Proud of you. And of Brien.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
...grateful for grace.....
Otto Braun 6/6/12-12/26/13
--cure pediatric cancer--
DevilYack
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Thanks for sharing your story. I know you're proud of Brien, but I was most touched by your story of Holden's life. I have a son who is severely disabled and I've been down lately thinking of how he will never live independently or have his own family. But he's at home right now, happy, and healthy as a horse. Your story really put my small problems in perspective.

I think I'm going to go home early and hug my boy.

Thank you and God bless you and your family.
John Cocktolstoy
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Fricken dust in my eyes again!
Websider Todd44 GigEm
BaileyAg
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Thank you for sharing
Gunny456
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Thank you for sharing sir. We will continue to send prayers. I read your post three times. Made my problems very small compared. God bless you and family.
jmazz
How long do you want to ignore this user?
agenjake
How long do you want to ignore this user?
spud1910
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Thank you for sharing.
FriscoAggieFan
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Wow what an awesome read. Thank you for this and may God continue to bless you a your family.
Build It
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
So incredibly powerful. I can only hope to be a man of this strength one day.
Lil$Ag
How long do you want to ignore this user?
One-Eyed Fat Man
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
I thought you guys might enjoy a few family pics.

These are of Holden. In the first one, one of his Stone Oak Elementary buds is reading a book to him. The second one was taken at Camp C.A.M.P. near Center Point. If you're not familiar it's a wonderful summer camp for disabled children.
http://instagr.am/p/Bo3z2tjF7A7

This photo is from last Easter. Brien is the tall one, our daughter Meagan, son in law Eric (both GT grads) and grandchildren Lucy and Max. Missing grandkids is the hard part of our job.
http://instagr.am/p/Bo3zwbGFW_e
jtp01
How long do you want to ignore this user?
This really does put "struggle" into perspective. My youngest son has a couple of sensory issues and some learning troubles, and we struggle to keep him focused.

Thanks for the read!
One-Eyed Fat Man
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
AGGODDESS said:

Thank you for sharing this. We lost our son in 2013 to brain cancer and parts of this resonate SO true. We have a 7 year old son who I worry about daily that that experience will impact him negatively (he was 3 at the time but recalls a lot of it). This post encourages me that even if it does.. there's always a chance it can turn around.

"After I got back to work, and Holden and Melissa were still at the hospital, I went to lunch with Roger one day. As we ate, he said, "I couldn't do it. I don't know how you guys are able to". I told him we weren't given a choice."

This from your post is the most true thing ever. My husband and I have been married 14 years and it's taken a toll for sure, but, we didn't have a choice but to be strong and courageous.

Proud of you. And of Brien.


Hi,
I'm sorry to hear about your loss. It sounds like you guys have hung in there. We'll keep your family, and especially your 7 year old in our prayers. Take care of yourself and each other.

Blessings,
Charles
Page 1 of 1
 
×
Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.