Author: Tonya Aycock

Hi, my name is Tonya. I am a wife, mom of two children (Brandon & Brently). I am a born again christian. My passion is raising awareness for my boys and making sure they have the very best that I can give them. I love Singing. I was in a Southern Gospel Group for about 3 years and I enjoyed every minute of it. I think most of all besides the singing, I enjoyed meeting people and sharing my testimony of how God has brought me through. I love playing guitar and hearing my sweet husband play music and sing to our boys. I enjoy making crafts and designing floral arrangements. I love camping. I am always up for a new adventure! I enjoy working in my yard and anything outdoors. I love my country home. I like taking pictures of God’s beautiful creation. The hummingbirds, Canadian geese, turtles, and deer’s are absolutely beautiful! I never dreamed that I would enjoy the country as much as I do. I have always been a city kind of girl so let’s just say I am adjusting to the country life well. Ha ha! Another interesting thing about my husband and I, is that we have always wanted to open a restaurant. Maybe one day… who knows…. I created this blog to share the in’s and out’s of daily living of being a mom of children with special needs, how life can change in an instant, losing a child, finding real friendships that live the same kind of life that I do that truly understand, and much more. I love to talk about my faith as I learn how to cope through life, (good and bad) together. I want to always put complete control in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because without Him I am nothing. My prayer is that I can somehow help someone by sharing my story. It is most definitely easier said than done and I fail daily, but striving to make things work in a world that doesn’t understand is just one of the reasons I am here, writing and sharing my story and trying to be the best me as I can and being the best mother that my children will love and respect and see me survive and thrive as I watch them surviving 2 thriving in life. But, most of all that they see Jesus in me. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 God has a plan for my life and for my family as well and for who is reading this right now. I can only hope and pray that I am doing what He has called me to do…… Being a wife, mom, advocate of special needs, a friend, and encourager, but most of all… a servant of His. This has been and continues to be a unique life raising my SuPeR HeRo children dancing in the rain of the beautiful messy life!

St. Jude Benefit Singing

If you missed the Saint Jude Benefit at Muscle Shoals Baptist Church yesterday evening, here are all the songs by Crimson Sealed, including “Midnight Cry“ which had a song malfunction, so we ended up singing the song acappella…

Missing the Man We Called Daddy and Paw-Paw

I never dreamed this Emergency Room visit would be our last. A statement that I have always heard through the years is that “a person never realizes what they have until it is gone”. Well, tonight I completely had a meltdown. I believe that statement is true. I was wanting my dad to come back and tell me that he was no longer sick, and that he was going to take my mom out to their favorite restaurant, and they would come by to see us when they are through eating just like before. I got excited because that is what mom and dad always did and then reality set in. The hurt I feel is unbearable at times. I can’t even imagine the pain that my mom is experiencing. I have only lost a child, and that nearly killed me, but never have I lost a spouse.

As I watched my mom and dad go through this trial, I seen so much love between them. At times the room became quiet and in the stillness of the room, it was like my dad knew his journey would end soon. He was going home to see Jesus soon, but it felt as if he was trying to protect us as we dealt with the cancer diagnosis. Having the heart attack was the answer to finding the cancer. Some people may not understand that concept and that’s okay. The days leading up to his arrival in Heaven, he would call out our names and let us know what we need to do and how to handle things. I was walking down the hallway and I heard him telling my sister all the things that needed to be done in the garage and the things that needed to be given to people. He told my husband the same thing. He was getting things taken care of for us so we wouldn’t have to worry and that would be one less thing to do before he left. He really fought the battle! He gave all that he could give in those three months. Needless to say, not only are my children my heroes, but my dad will forever be my hero too!

The diagnosis was like the flip of a light switch. We found out about the cancer and then two and a half months later, he’s gone. An emergency room visit became a horrible nightmare. It started with lower back pain. No sooner than the medicine was given for the pain, My dad started seizing and then rolled toward me and my knees caught him before he hit the floor. I asked him if his throat was hurting or burning and if his chest was hurting and he told me that it was starting to. Right then, my mom and I started alerting the doctors to let them know that he was about to have a heart attack and as I tried to turn him onto his back to keep him from falling, somehow in the mix of the tossing and turning, my dad grabbed the hospital bed rail and I watched my dad’s face turn a pale white and his eyes were glazed the prettiest blue color and as he looked upward, he rolled over onto my mom’s side and collapsed in her arms. I watched him take (what I thought at that time) his last breath as his tongue and lips turned a dark purplish black color and never had I experienced the most devastating and scariest moment with a parent as I watched my dad’s heart completely stop. Doctor’s finally came in the room and it took four times to revive him. We had to leave the room while the doctor’s were working on him, but when the doctors and nursing staff gave us an update, the news given to us was that he had a massive heart attack. It confirmed what we already knew. He needed surgery to put a stint in, so that’s what his cardiologist and team of doctors did. We waited patiently as best as we could. Finally after a while, the doctor came and got us to let us know that his stint surgery went well. We felt relieved! We were happy that things were starting to become better and we can fix this and do better and life can be like it was before, then the doctor said, “I have some bad news”. We obviously thought that we had just seen the bad news, but the doctor said “your husband, your dad, has stage 4 lung cancer”. Our mouth’s hit the floor. We were in shock. Confusion filled my mind as I was trying to process this information. My mom and I looked at one another and we knew right then that the battle was just beginning without even saying a word. We began to prepare for war. We were already use to it, so we got things in order and began the process of fighting for my dad’s life.

The only treatment that was given to my dad was ten daily rounds of radiation. It worked some, but didn’t do much. The radiation was so strong that it left burnt holes on his stomach area as if he were burned with a cigarette. Radiation Therapy is an extreme energy that kills cancer cells. The treatment is painless. It is almost like getting an open MRI scan. Radiation helps some patients, but often you have patients that seem to need more because the cancer has either spread to another section in the body, or the radiation killed the cancer cells in the spots where the cancer is. My dad’s pain was still so strong and intense. Time was running out…. The cancer was already spreading to his spine. I watched my dad lose his ability to walk. Within weeks, the cancer was metastatic and slowly paralyzing him. It was hard to watch as we knew what the end result would be. It was difficult to see him lose all of his abilities as if he were paralyzed from the neck down. I watched as he tried to pick up his left arm with his right hand just to put it behind his head while laying there. Watching my dad suffer the most horrific pain a person can go through was too much for my hurting heart. After we had a plan in place, I watched my mom be the strongest I have ever seen her be. My mom is such a sweet and kind soul. She is the most honest person I have ever known. We have had some long days and nights the past few months. While in the Emergency Room that last night at the University of Birmingham (UAB), I was checking my messages and as I looked up, this was the image I seen…

A lifetime of love is in this picture and the forty-two years of marriage that both my parents have shared together were spent with one another. I admire how they both still have love for one another after all those years like they were still dating. They both shared about the good times and apologized for all the bad times. I am happy that God allowed them to have those moments to love, trust, and forgive through the years.

As my dad was getting closer to his Home in Glory, he was hurting really bad and there was nothing we could do other than give him what was prescribed for him. My mom grabbed his hand and told him that it was okay. She said “I am going to be okay babe, it’s okay to let go and go Home to Jesus. I want you to go because I don’t want you to hurt anymore. God is calling you home”.

My dad had reached a point of no longer speaking. I thought to myself…. “I use sign language with Brent because he is non-verbal, this will work with my dad too”. So, we would ask him questions and we told him to raise his eyebrows for yes, and he knew right then what to do and I thought to myself…”yes, we still have communication. My dad’s mental state was still in tact, even though his body was physically impaired. He could no longer speak, but he began to mumble words together with his mouth closed. My mom and I looked at one another and were trying to make out what he was saying and then out of nowhere my dad speaks…”there’s so many people” My mom and I got chills. We knew he was about to enter Heaven. A little while passed and my dad started mumbling some more and again out of nowhere my dad speaks as clear as I am writing this blog page.. he said, “Well, there’s my boy!” My mom and I looked at one another again and we both said “Brandon” My dad was seeing my son Brandon”. I knelt down by his bed and held his hand with tears flowing down my face. I wanted to be in that very moment to see what all my dad was seeing. I knew he was getting a glimpse of Heaven as he was getting ready to enter into the Kingdom of God. My dad’s last words were to my mom. He said, “I love you”. He then slipped into the ending stage (coma stage) of death and at 1 am on April 18, 2019, my dad went Home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My dad had just turned sixty-one years old. He passed eight days after his sixty first birthday. I don’t know why God allows people to experience different endings to life, but I am thankful that He allowed us to have what little time we did have with my dad and that through his death, we step back and take a look at what all God has done in the process.

Since my dad’s death, there have been a lot of changes and we are trying to get use to the “new normal”. It seems as though he is just gone for a little while to run an errand and will be back in a few minutes. Our new normal has completely turned our world around, but we are taking little steps at a time to move forward. Brently loves his paw-paw and misses him and his brother so much just like we all do. Brently responds to death and sadness just like you and I. He really misses his paw-paw. The games they would play together, the noises they both would make, the fist bumps and favorite tv shows are just a memory now, but I keep telling Brently that there will come a day when our faith becomes sight and because of that, our one goal in this life is to never forget who we are in Christ and to love one another because one day…. we as christians, will see our loved ones again if you know Jesus!

Broken Into Beautiful…

With every single second of life, a person may ask the question; “Do you find beauty in your brokenness?” Even though smiling on the outside, doesn’t even paint a picture of what is truly coming from the inside. Somewhere in the world, a new mom and dad’s heart is shattering into a million pieces.  It is hard living in a world where very little knowledge is known of a diagnosis that is rare. Brokenness is often felt by parents who have children with special needs. Sometimes it boils down to the fact of wanting to fix what is broken, but most of the time, parents just want answers to all the questions. Parents strive to make life as simple and fun, but nothing is ever simple and sometimes never fun in a special needs world. Humor though is one thing that I find in the midst of circumstances. I am one of the most clumsiest people you would ever meet and I will admit that nine times out of ten, I will make a fool out of myself! haha! This life is exhausting beyond belief!  Living with expectations that never come, and trying to get ahead with all the backward steps, you go to war with your own mind. A parent is always questioning the what if’s and
what could have been’s? I struggle with a few of these questions…..

“Why can’t you find your peace?”,  “Is it too painful?”, “Do you feel worthless?”, “Do you feel as though something is wrong with you?”,  “Do I have what it takes anymore?”  These are questions that were flooding my heart and mind as I was driving on the interstate carrying my son to Children’s Hospital for an infusion. {see INFUSION DAY post} 

I had my earbuds in and my music on and I had forgotten about the many songs that I had on my phone.  I just hit random and the music started.  There was a long pause and I thought I might have hit a wrong button and then this song “Broken into Beautiful” came on. 

You (GOD) change –  Worthless into Precious.  Guilty to Forgiven.  Hungry into Satisfied. Empty into full.  And all the lies are shattered   And we believe we matter when you (GOD) change Broken into Beautiful.

I do feel worthless, but God says “I’m precious.”  I am guilty of my sins.  I fail Him daily, but God says “I’m forgiven.”  I am hungry.  (literally for food all the time.  I could eat some Taco Bell right now! ….)  haha, but seriously, hungry for His Word and food for thought to get me through these uphill, non-stop battles is what I need.  He satisfies my soul!

Why do we turn against the very ONE who says He has us in every way, shape, and form and will NEVER leave us? 

I need a spiritual awakening!  I am broken.  God takes all the emptiness away and fills me with his LOVE.

Epilepsy

 November is Epilepsy Awareness Month.   

The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives this definition of the word Epilepsy.

Definition of epilepsy 

any of various disorders marked by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain and typically manifested by sudden brief episodes of altered or diminished consciousness, involuntary movements, or convulsions.

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