Sitting here alone in my motel room my preparation for tomorrow done. I can finally do right by my heart and let out what has been a flood of emotion since this morning, none of it sadness but a flood nonetheless.
How can I possibly express what I feel in my heart for the eighteen years California has been my home?
I was given my best friend twelve years ago, and tomorrow when I fly half way across the country she will still be apart of my life. I could fly half way across the world and she would still be apart of my life because that’s just the kind of person she is…geography won’t ever change us. Good times, bad times and everything in between she has always been there for me.
I was given my ability to drive and thus have total independence, for someone such as myself who has heard from his birth “total care’ being thrown about the day I got my drivers license put that to rest.
I was given my first job working at the company that my father worked for and what was the source of his transfer that brought us to Santa Barbara in 1995, but I was given that job and expected to keep it on my own accord and merit not because my last name is Oney. I kept it until a corporate merger, then bridged into two other filler jobs until I was given the chance to do what I love, hospital admin support type work. I was given my professional passion. There in I was given a tremendous circle of friends all of whom will remain apart of my life.
I was given the wheelchair camp at UCSB where I have yet another extremely large circle of friends and mentors who relate to me on a level all our own because we each overcome our own physical obstacles. That first summer camp gave me something else, my first wheelchair. My life was formed in 1995 ultimate daily independence was given to me that day, combine that with the driving mentioned above and you get Life Independence.
I was given my adulthood 12 years old upon arrival 30 years old today, life lessons have been learned some through great tribulation but all combined have made me a man, I arrived a boy. I grew up here….these 18 years have represented over half my life.
I was given very recently the greatest wheelchair I’ve ever had, evolving from that first one in 1995, thru three others I sit here tonight writing this in a chair fully molded to my body from the ground up, to go along with that I was given the gift of self dedication to my own fitness, remember my best friend? Yeah, she encouraged me to get involved at her gym, and I connected there with a great trainer who had me climbing stairs very soon after my start amongst many other things, its been such a joy for me to see my own physical improvements from that first day until now.
There has been so much that has transpired that has shaped my life and so many tremendous people have entered my life as a result of it all. How can I ever repay that? except to say that California will always hold an active presence in my life and though I may no longer live here I will definitely keep active contacts and will be back for visits many times.
I was overcome today with the flurry of messages I knew it before but today was a reminder that California has a lot of love for this Minnesota transplant. Did I mention that Santa Barbara itself is hands down the most breathtaking city I have ever seen? Sandwiched between the mountains and ocean and temps at 70 + & sunny nearly year around? Yeah it’s paradise!
All of this said there is no sadness in my heart tonight only admiration and respect for all of you that have been brought into my life over these eighteen years, I give all praise and glory to my savior for nothing and no one brought into my life would have been without the grace of God.
There is no goodbye coming from me California because goodbye is an ending and I’m not done with you yet not by a long shot. Much Love
Tomorrow I get my whole family back, and yes Wisconsin I must give you mention too because I have family there equally as well. Some of you I haven’t seen for 18 years, some of you I saw as recent as this January…either way I return tomorrow to the Midwest a man none of you has seen before, I can’t make up for lost time, but I look so so very much forward tonight to what will be a whirlwind flurry of reunions I think all of you are going to enjoy the beaming smile you will see on my face, especially those of you that saw me in January….I truly do feel born again, the #1 reason is my rededication to God, #2 is my vastly improved physical fitness and health (thank you again to my best friend and thanks of course to my trainer) and yes my fitness activities will continue in the frozen north #3 is my new chair, yes its a chair but a chair that serves as my legs, my own self confidence has skyrocketed because the piece of equipment that literally carries me through daily life now fits me like a glove….I have my passion and love for life lit again and its burning very bright.
I give all thanks and glory again to God, he gave me California in my life and he is giving me back Minnesota while keeping California in it…..translation…my life is really filled with blessings across the country quite literally, and this is an incredible thing…so very humbled and so very blessed.
Those that know me know that I don’t often think twice about my life in terms of being disabled, I dislike even that classification. I live life everyday just as everyone else does, the only time I may even think about the fact that I use a chair is when I search for accessible parking spots or have trouble reading the card readers at the checkout counters in stores because a lot of time they are bolted at a level just above my head so as to make the text on the screen look like shadows.
Today I found myself thinking about my physical lifestyle in a powerful moment of reflection which has driven me to write this entry, but I will detail that later.
For those that don’t know I was born November 7, 1982 in Minneapolis Minnesota weighing a mere 2lbs. 6 oz, I was a tiny premie greeting the world three months early I was to have been born January 22, 1983 had I gone full term. My parents and family were by my side from that first night, the doctors said I may not live to make a trip home outside the four hospital walls, and even if I did then I may have brain damage to the point of needing round the clock care. My family knew better looking at those doctors saying I would not die, and no matter how long it took I would come home.
My family was right it took several months but I made that trip home, I had survived what came two years later would shape the foundation for the rest of my life, at age two I wasn’t walking like my brothers had so my parents knew something wasn’t right. I was taken to specialists who through a series of test were able to determine I wasn’t walking because I had Cerebral Palsy (CP), a neurological condition brought on my premature birth and a brain hemorrhage I suffered a week after my birth.
CP would not define me if my parents had anything to say about it, they immediately got me working with a private physical therapist named Nancy who would see me twice a week from then at age two until I would move for Minnesota to California at age twelve. It didn’t stop with Nancy though my parents continued therapy techniques on her off days, as did the most amazing baby sitter ever a woman who treated me like her own son and still does to this day, never forgetting a birthday amongst so many other things still to this day…..Connie hung different material samples from her ceiling in my early years so I could get past my tactile motor sensitivities, who transforms their house for a child that doesn’t have her last name? An incredible lady who I will love forever
I would walk with a walker for ten years in Minnesota along with the use of AFO leg braces thanks to all of the therapy, that would change when my parents moved me to Santa Barbara California in the summer of 1995 due to my Dad getting a job transfer I went to a wheelchair sports camp and my parents saw that my function in a chair was vastly improved of that when I walked from a stamina & independence standpoint. From 1995 to 2013 I would be in different size but always the same style Quickie basic measure standard stock aluminum lightweight chair.
Independent nearly every day for those 18 years, sands a three month recovery post surgery my sophomore year of high school the daily basic functions of life became second nature and my chair was only a tool I used to aide me, never truly thought about on its own.
This is why I write tonight, after 18 years in a Quickie stock lightweight chair, last week I went into a TiLite Ultra lightweight Titanium chair with a full custom fit seat and backrest by Ride Designs, though great 18 years of familiarity were gone with my Quickie chair. Where I would hold for transfers, where I would grip for lifts into my car, all of that gone.
I had to reinvent my life routines last week, and it was extremely scary, each transfer in and out of my new chair brought fear of falling, I got through last week but things took me just that much longer…..until today…….that is why I write tonight. I went into the bathroom today after a haircut to take a shower and there was no fear there were no pauses in my movement. I cannot stand any longer like I did when I was 12 because of a hip problem and nerve damage in my left foot, I’m 30 years old and the only letters I can write in cursive script are those of my name in order to sign checks because that is what my parents wanted me to learn, and nothing more….but I realized tonight God has truly blessed me with physically imperfect perfection, I have all of the essential life skills to function and live with full independence when those doctors all said it wouldn’t be so thirty years ago.
The ability for my body to adapt to my new chair so seamlessly is an amazing gift, I was consciously aware of everything last week and today I didn’t give the potential of falling and the unfamiliarity with my new equipment a second thought until I was done and entirely dressed. That is why I write tonight, in 24 days I will once again call Minnesota home, that will mean relearning transfer layouts in a new apartment, there will be the same few days of caution but today I was shown that in creating me God made me physically imperfectly perfect, there is no physical obstacle I have in my life for which I don’t have the tools to adapt and overcome. I know tonight that I will now be able to harness all the benefits of this new chair and the reasons for which I went into this full custom direction.
When I wake up at to greet tomorrow’s dawn I know that once again my disability will be in the the background as a non thought and Brandon the man will be in the foreground and I wouldn’t want it any other way, I’m so blessed, so thankful & so very happy
January 1st, 2013 the first day of the new year is here, normally New Year’s Day is just another day.
Not this year, for me today has incredible symbolism. I’ve realized something very special in the weeks that have passed since my Mom passed away. I said this when my Dad passed away January 2nd, 2008…God called him home to his kingdom because he was needed there…my Mom was called home December 6th, 2012 because she was needed in his kingdom.
My special realization in the recent weeks since is that God called my parents home but there in doing so did because he knows I CAN STAND on my own.
2013 is going to be so very special I have so many things to look forward to my life is my own now to do with it whatever I wish, I’ve got a brand new chair coming very similar (although more fancy) to that of the one below that’s going to take me wherever I want to go…I’m smiling today because on this the 1st day of 2013 all the tumultuous times of 2012 are behind me and in 2013 I have a blank canvas to paint an amazing new life.
God is so great I’m so blessed to have had two of the greatest parents ever, and to have the greatest family and friends ever that have offered nothing but unwavering support and love over these recent weeks when I wasn’t the strongest…to all of you I extend my heartfelt gratitude and wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I haven’t written in a long time, a lot has transpired in my life since my last post. Going forward into next year I plan to be much more active on my page, I’ve been told I express myself well with written words.
Today I honor my parents
Dearest Mom and Dad,
Today is Christmas Eve the house is quiet but your memories respectively are speaking loudly in my heart. This is the first Christmas in 30 years I have neither one of you physically with me to celebrate, to say it feels normal would be a lie, but to say I’m not smiling would also be…
I smile because I know you are now together celebrating in heaven free of the cancer that took each of you from us far too soon. I smile because I think today about how Christmas Eve was always gift exchange day for us, and how we used to laugh because Mom wrapped all the gifts even her own Yeah Dad we had wrapping skills didn’t we?
I smile because I think of how we always had “Christmas Milk” my name for egg nog.
I smile because I think of the year when I asked “why does Santa’s handwriting look like Mom’s?”
I smile because I think of the year when you both flipped me out of bed and in my pajamas made me go outside to see my first car with a big red bow on it.
I selfishly wish you were both here so that these next days feel like the Christmas I know, but there are no tears. I smile because each of these memories and they are just a few of hundreds are concrete things I can hold onto in remembrance of you, the greatest parents I could have ever asked for that make it feel a little more like Christmas should, no cancer can ever take that from me
As the years progress Christmas will make new memories but I promise yours will never be lost. I love you both with all my heart, I know this year I have two special angels in heaven.
MERRY CHRISTMAS MOM AND DAD
Always and Forever,
Those that know me know that there has been a lot that has transpired in my life over the last month, some of it good some of it not. Thankfully a lot of the not that was once a dominate force is now more minor and running its course in the background and not the forefront of my physical or mental processes.
Those that know me know for the most part I’m quiet, reserved and normally very shy. That is until Sunday when the team of all teams in my fan kingdom takes the field in early fall to begin a journey I hope runs thru February.
Win or lose put a Minnesota Vikings game in front of me and I transform into a beast, some of it comes from me being Minnesota born, a lot of it comes from that and the fact that I never will have the chance to put on a helmet and pads and play for myself. I live my athleticism thru each of my Minnesota franchises, none more than the Vikings.
From the highs of 2010 and 1998, to the lows in those same years of Porter picking Favre and Anderson missing in the dome, even to the boat party on lake Minnetonka the Vikings have been my team and always will be…
Today was the opener for the 2012-2013 season, for this years Vikings team. A home game vs. Jacksonville this game also marked the return of the man who in today’s contest made history becoming the all-time leading rusher in franchise history, Adrian Peterson came back after a devastating knee injury just 8 months ago.
The game went to overtime when it shouldn’t have in my opinion due to some questionable play calling from our coaches on both sides of the ball. Today however the team showed resiliency and battled back for a win after forcing overtime by getting into field goal range from deep i their own end with only 20 seconds left in regulation. Rookie kicker Blair Walsh went 4-4 including a 55 yard field goal that would’ve been good from 60, and then making the fourth a 35 yard chip shot by comparison in the overtime.
Still a lot of improving to do and without doubt there will be struggles throughout the year as this team and it’s young QB Christian Ponder continue to grow. Already today though we are 1/3 of the way to last years win total. Already today for both good and bad play after a game I was left a bit hoarse from yelling at my TV…football is my sanctuary win or lose the world is always right.
I’m looking forward to this entire season, SKOL VIKINGS
A writeup from the Minneapolis Star Tribune can be found here
Everyone can say that their parents gave them life, not everyone has parents like mine who truly did give me my life not only making my birth possible but giving me the life skills thereafter to live life with full independence while having Cerebral Palsy.
I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the devotion they have shown me everyday since November 7, 1982 when I made my early appearance in the world.
Over the years we have had our share of disagreements, trials and tribulations but my parents have always been there whenever I’ve needed them.
In 2006 I learned my father had cancer in stage 4 and by the time it had been diagnosed they said he had three months, he made it 18 months before passing away January 2, 2008. Though in that time there were good days and bad, I was reminded everyday of how great my parents are…my Dad stood by me through my battle at birth, I was right by his side for 18 months, and I believe we won his battle, we couldn’t keep his physical presence but he went out in peace and on his terms, at home surrounded by his loving wife and three sons.
I made a promise to my father that I would take care of my Mom ever since that day in 2008 I’ve done the very best within my power to do so…there have been good days and bad, I’ve been far from perfect but over the course of years since my father has passed my Mom and I have grown closer & without question I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mom recently diagnosed with her own form of cancer two days ago, this an early stage operable form for that I’m grateful, nothing is a certainty but I promise this to my Mom just as I was with Dad, “I will be right there with you, & we will beat this together.”
Part of me selfishly wonders why again? If it has to be why not me?
I wish I could go back in time to take this all away, I wish there was no cancer in this world. I don’t have magical powers, but what I do have is the greatest Mom anybody could ever ask for. In recent days I’ve also been reminded that I have an awesome extended family, & incredible friends.
My parents battled with me, now I battle with them again, nowhere else I’d rather be
They were Penn State, the above upcoming Sports Illustrated Cover says it all.
Before I begin let me say that the victims are the ones we all must remember here, none of the unprecedented sanctions handed down by the NCAA today to Penn State University for the inexcusable acts committed both criminally by the walking monster Jerry Sandusky, and former leadership including Joseph Vincent Paterno on a ethical level by covering up the most horrific criminal act on the planet, sexual assault of multiple innocent children can possibly take away the hurt caused to each and every one of the victims and their families.
Over the course of the last year the world has watched one of the biggest falls from grace we’ve ever seen…Joe Paterno has fallen and fallen justifiably although posthumously very hard.
Last November Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno’s long time top assistant and defensive coordinator was arrested inappropriate relations with a child in the shower of the Penn State locker room, this in itself horrific enough but than we find out that this happened back in 1998, here it was 2011 and we just hear about it now? Something wasn’t stirring the kool-aid. Paterno at first denied any prior knowledge then said as more pressure came “I notified my superiors”….Hey Joe here’s one, “Why in the Hell did you not notify law enforcement and your superiors?”
Oh that’s right you and your superiors were to wrapped up in protecting your false clean image of a football program to be bothered with stopping a molester. Not only did Paterno not do anything back then, but continued to allow Sandusky around the Penn State football team for subsequent years to come even after learning of the 1998 events. All this time passed and unfortunately that meant multiples of more victims for Sandusky, by the time the formal arrest was made and formal case against Sandusky was brought to trial in June of this year, there were 48 criminal counts against him. How many of these counts could have been stopped if any of the Penn State leadership stepped up in 1998? The thought just makes me furious.
Joe Paterno was fired four days after Jerry Sandusky was arrested in November, Penn State’s then president resigned on the same day. Paterno was billed as a hero by most on the Penn State campus for his some 60 year career with the school, many feeling at that time his firing was unjust. Paterno passed away a few short months later in January 2012 as a result of lung cancer…..still the perfect image was intact.
That image of perfection would quickly begin to fall apart as the months progressed and the criminal counts and victim volumes increased during the criminal investigation Jerry Sandusky, in fact Sandusky was charged as I said with 48 total counts covering multiple victims….
“He was Joe Paterno, coaching legend. He is in my opinion Joe Paterno aide to Jerry Sandusky child molester. Joe wasn’t a part of the physical acts but he did absolutely nothing to stop him back in ’98 and as as result allowed for many more victims”
All of this was brought into light by the Louis Freeh investigative report that was done within the ranks of Penn State in the midst of the Sandusky developments. It wasn’t only Paterno but the nearly the entire administrative leadership group at Penn State that stood idle and let Sandusky go on, the Freeh report was released earlier this month. Late last month Sandusky was convicted on 45 of the 48 counts.
With it (Freeh Report) Joe Paterno’s squeaky clean legacy was shattered, detailing the full and blatant cover up for Jerry Sandusky. Penn State’s new administrative leadership responded by removing the statue of Paterno that was dedicated in 2001 when he set the record for most wins, up next NCAA sanctions those came down today and are detailed here
Unprecedented in severity they include
1. 60 million dollar fine, to be paid to an endowment for child sexual assault victims
2. Four year post season ban * Current players can transfer immediately and maintain eligibility (great move by NCAA)
3. Loss of scholarships down to a total of 15 from 25 annually
4. Vacate all wins from 1998 to 2011 (that’s 112, in all 111 for Paterno), means Paterno is no longer the winningest coach ever
All of this action including Sandusky’s prosecution occurred after Joe Paterno passed away, the legacy now left is a tarnished one if not in shambles.
Penn State will play football this upcoming year but it will be many more before they compete for a championship, and rightfully so….this tragic story his many layers and as I said it is the victims who we must always remember in spite of all these layers.
A school remains in the wake of this scandal as well, and as criminal cases still remain the final chapter in this story has yet to be written….but until that time the school….”They were Penn State”