I started this blog a few weeks ago in reflection of our son’s 16th birthday but tucked it aside not knowing if it should be shared. Then I completed a yoga session with the mantra “I believe” and my memories from the On This Day app on Facebook reminded me that three years ago, Bud was learning to stand again. Both signs to me that although sharing Bud’s story starts out with challenges and sadness it quickly becomes a story of determination, strength, love and support. A story of inspiration.
Bud is a lively character in our family. He keeps us laughing. As a young child, he was quiet and shy with the cutest little smile. He was dedicated to whatever his interest was at the time. Although some interests came and went, hockey always remained his main love. He played in the local league, usually the first player to excitedly arrive to get ready for the game or practice, regardless of the early or late hours. He played mini-sticks in the house and banged up the floors and walls. He took shots and practiced stick handling drills out on the street. He knocked the side mirror off our van with his wicked shot that bounced off the net. He played with neighbors from sun up to sun down and then some. He skated on the backyard rink every chance he had. It became easier to bring food to the rink then to coax him inside, so we have had pizza delivered to the backyard rink. He taught all the little neighbors how to skate, tying their skates and encouraging their progress. Hockey was his thing.
Then life challenged Bud in ways we didn’t even know were possible. He woke one morning suddenly unable to walk and in lots of pain. He spent the next couple years in and out of the hospital, using crutches and wheelchairs for mobility while tests were done. Physiotherapy became part of his daily life. He received a diagnosis of Conversion Disorder. The simplest explanation of his disorder is that his mind was faced with extreme stress that it could not process and the pain was revealed in the form of physical pain and paralysis of both his legs. The extreme stress was a hockey coach who had bullied him. We had pulled Bud from the team before he became ill because of the toxic environment but his body still needed to work through the pain and become strong again.
He did. He became strong again. He stood again, he walked again, he returned to school, he returned to sport that he loves. He inspired us daily. He inspired those who offered amazing support to Bud and our family while he healed. He continues to inspire as he manages his challenges with bravery, strength, and resilience. We celebrated his 16th birthday with an incredible amount of pride in our hearts. Because of him, we will always be inspired to know that nothing is impossible and to always BELIEVE.