Loving the Chris I have today…

My mom and I were talking last night and she asked if he had some drum sticks. I told her he has a set here and occasionally I will put them in his hands. She asked if he watches some of his marching videos and I told her we really do not watch them very often. The truth is I just can’t handle it emotionally. It’s tough seeing him as he was and then as he is today.

I miss Chris greatly. We used to sit on the front porch, drink coffee and talk for hours. We could thoroughly hash out all the world’s and church’s problems! He was considered by many of his friends as a philosopher in his own right! ..indeed!

He usually didn’t call very often. I finally adjusted to that. I figured if he didn’t call there wasn’t a problem! But that changed after I moved to Chicago. He was so excited about my moving there! He felt like I had the world at my fingertips and I would just be jumping off from Chicago. He even started a financial venture and they had him write his goals. One of his goals was to make enough money to live moderately and send me wherever God said. He wanted to just be able to say, “wanna go to the Bronx? I can get you there!” That was one of our last conversations. He grabbed onto the vision of me traveling and believed it so he wanted to help…

But now he hasn’t spoken in almost two years. I miss our talks. I miss drinking coffee with him and making that…one more pot! I think part of the fire is grieving who he was while seeing who he is today. I get lost wondering what he’ll look like, who he’ll be when this is all done. I can get bogged down in the fact that it’s been almost two years and this is all we have…yet I must encourage myself with the progress I see him make each day. It’s so small compared to where I want him to be.. but it is progress nonetheless.

I have loved much.. but never felt a love this deep, this strong. I wish that was enough to heal and to make him better…but it is not. But is does keep me taking care of my son, the one I have today. I want him to enjoy something, want a burger and fries, get a corona with a lime and smile once again! But he doesn’t “enjoy” anything. He seemingly has no desires…he just sits, or stands, or whatever I tell him to do taking no initiative for such movements on his own. But I love him still…this Chris I have today. I don’t understand it, I don’t get anything back for it…but this love has a grip on my heart that I cannot understand or explain.

I tell him over and over how much I love him; how proud I am of all the work he’s doing to get better. And every once in awhile he smiles this little spontaneous smile, and it makes my day!

I have dreams about him playing the drums again or talking to me. But then I wake up and glance toward his bed and see that he’s still there. Again I am thankful for the progress he’s making and the progress he’s even made today. It seems like it’s better…it’s just been so long.

I miss Chris and all he was (frustrations included!)… but I love the Chris I have today and I simply cannot explain it!

  1. #1 by toni corbin on September 29, 2010 - 8:11 pm

    thank you for your love and courage and giving a voice to my feelings that i have for my son wallace,too.i miss him but i love my “new” wallace,tho it s hard sometimes because he talks and he s either very angry or negative or anxious or worries(paranoid),delusional and often hateful but at least he talks–he didnt the first couple months,and i can imagine how lonely you are for his input.it’s not always bad-most times he’s emotionless but on rare occasions he will smile if we try and make him laugh at something silly. my love for him is unconditional and boundless. the slow pace of the healing is what is so hard to wrap my mind around–i hear it ,and understand it but i cant seem to come to terms with it.keep your chin up as charlotte tells wilbur–love toni(i’m wallacesmom on DS)


    • #2 by Jeanie Olinger on September 30, 2010 - 1:21 pm

      Hi Toni!
      Thanks for reading the blog. I hope we can all gain encouragement through this journey. I have been keeping up with Wallace on DS. I pray for you that you are strengthened for the journey you are on. Thanks so much for taking time to read and share.


  2. #3 by Girley Felan on September 30, 2010 - 4:09 am

    I so identify with you. My family member is my sister who is lost in the fog of mental illness. Earlier in her diagnosis, taking medication as prescribed helped her. Then, as all know who have a loved one living with mental illness, she decided that she was well and no longer needed the medication, discontinue taking it and would spiral out of control until she required inpatient treatment. After such, she would receive medication to stabilize her then return home – only to have the cycle repeated numerous times throughout the years. With each episode it was obvious that a few more pieces of who she was was no longer there. This once vibrant young woman with an infectious smile and laugh, a flair for style and just stunning beauty was replaced with a woman looking so much older than her years with glazed eyes and a body and facial features so swollen from the medication she was taking that, had I seen her on the street I honestly would not have recognized her – the changes were that drastic. However, like you, I still love this sister that I have today – the sister who I grew up with, the one who sometimes got me into trouble, played with and whispered secrets with as a child: she will always be that sister no matter what I see today or if she never becomes that person again. And like you, I also simply cannot explain it: it is what it is. Neither mental illness nor brain injury can snatch away the memories that bring us both happiness and sadness. Those memories cushion our weary souls when we despair and give us hope of what the new day can bring. Chris is blessed to have a mother who keeps the fires lit under those memories constantly to help guide him back.


    • #4 by Jeanie Olinger on September 30, 2010 - 1:25 pm

      Wow Girlie, I had no idea! You know until we get to know each other we don’t really know the things we each face. We just see an outside shell…those things we don’t mind sharing with the world.

      Thanks for sharing your heart here with us. And thank you for reminding us how important our memories can be and how they should be treasured…


  3. #5 by ebonyjohanna on April 7, 2011 - 10:09 pm

    Jeanie, thank you for being so real and honest in this post, and your other posts about what you are going through with your son. I don’t know the whole story, but God does and he loves you and your son so much. I pray that God keeps building your faith, and the faith of your loved ones around you. And I also pray for Chris’ deep, transformational healing. Blessings~


    • #6 by Jeanie Olinger on April 7, 2011 - 10:31 pm

      Thank you so much for reading. The whole story is rather long – but basically my strong, vibrant, musician son was seriously injured in an automobile accident two years ago. He has a head injury and is still slowly improving…I brought him home to care for him about 10 months ago – what a journey! I decided to blog about the furnace while still in it – open and raw. This was instead of trying to put it all down later – when emotions can be watered down by time…

      thanks for reading,


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