Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dear Traumatic Brain Injury


 First photo is Andrew with his beautiful girl friend Maddee
working at her family ranch with the Twisselman Family whom he loved dearly.

Second photo is Andrew with his dad at Cottage Hospital a month before he passed away. Cant' stop, wont stop.




"I have hated you since the day we met. You have made me sadder than I ever imagined. You have made me weaker and more exhausted than I ever conceived. You have made me angry and bitter, and you have taken not only bits and pieces of the son I love so very much but huge parts of my own heart as well. In reality, you have taken something from every single person in our family. You have changed the course of our lives, and we are still adjusting." -No truer words have been said

Sharing from the Brain line site. All that Nicole writes is so perfectly said I want to share. I think it speaks not only to TBI but any catastrophic injury or illness and to LOSS. These are her words that so many of us would like to say if we could. For me this entire post is true except for the part that we are better because TBI entered our lives. TBI took our beautiful son for good. Has it made me a warrior? I don't know. I sure think of my daughter, husband, parents and siblings as well as all of Andrew's friends and love ones, as warriors, but not better off. Right now, I'm still in the place where I want to say, "Hello Traumatic Brain Injury, it's not nice to meet and get the hell out of here"! And I may never accept the fact that you barreled into our lives on that dark, horrible early morning. And yet I understand what she is saying. I hope whom ever finds this message it brings you comfort and strength. Thank you Nicole for writing and sharing your amazing words. _Ceressa

ByNicole Bingamen
Dear Traumatic Brain Injury...
Taylor and Nicole share a hug.
Dear Traumatic Brain Injury,
You came into our home almost three years ago and decided to enter with no invitation, no introduction, and no preparation for your never-ending presence. I have since learned that this is how you operate; you just show up in some series of unexpected events. There is no protocol for when you arrive. One moment we don’t have any clue of your existence and the next you are all we know, and it feels as if knowing you has been eternal.
Thanksgiving Eve of 2012, we did not know your name, and we were not well acquainted enough to recognize your face.  You waltzed in silently and escorted my bright, strong, beautiful, full of life, 21-year-old son down a flight of stairs in his home, where he was supposed to be safe. You all but destroyed him.
A fall down thirteen stairs in close to thirteen seconds would forever alter the person we knew and loved, the person we ultimately needed. Our introductions to you were made with words like devastating, coma, brain bleeds, fractures, skull plates, swelling and the most horrific words of them all, “He may not survive.”
In that first night, within those initial moments, you stole many of our hopes, dreams, and chances at the things we used to take for granted. In place of them you gave challenges, frustrations, and endless new maps to navigate.
You would also bring out something else in us: unyielding fight, determination, and hope.
I still remember the first time I saw Taylor’s eyes after you entered his brain. Your cracks, unimaginable bumps, breaks and bruises had an effect on him that caught me unprepared. I searched for my son, but instead found a person who was void of Taylor’s light, his spark, and the love that connected us. Where was our Taylor and would he ever return? I knew none of this was going to be easy, and yet I was thankfully unaware of just how grueling it would become.
Together, our family would spend months in the ICU, inpatient rehab, and endless days of physical, cognitive, occupational and speech therapies. In the beginning, all of the therapies were sponsored by specialists, but as time moved on, and insurance approval grew slim, creativity was forced in charting the continued course.  All the while, missing my son, I tried to explain to people that even though Taylor was here, so was something else that had taken so much of him, and that would be you, Traumatic Brain Injury.
I have hated you since the day we met. You have made me sadder than I ever imagined. You have made me weaker and more exhausted than I ever conceived. You have made me angry and bitter, and you have taken not only bits and pieces of the son I love so very much but huge parts of my own heart as well. In reality, you have taken something from every single person in our family. You have changed the course of our lives, and we are still adjusting.
After nearly three years, I still find myself trying to make peace with you. I have screamed at you, and at times you produced an endless flow of tears that left my face raw with irritation from how many have fallen. You have brought me to my knees, and yet made me stand taller than I ever thought I could. I have felt your defeat and agony, and I have felt the victories that come from witnessing the powerful implications of a recovery that takes place one moment at a time.
I have grown as a mother, as an advocate, and as a person. I have learned how to work with what I cannot change or fix. I have learned that letting go of some expectations of our survivor and ourselves is not only crucial but also necessary. I have learned that I really don’t have to be afraid of you, traumatic brain injury, because at the end of each day, you may have taken us for another wild ride, but we have been victorious.  
How do I accept your unwanted and unwelcome presence? I try to work with you, and not against you. I remain certain that you are not stronger than the force of love, family, and friends that encircle us. I try my best to work within the parameters that you have set while knowing that there is a fierce fire within us that is greater than the devastation you brought.
Dear traumatic brain injury, you have made my sons, my husband and myself, warriors, and I believe that in the end, we will be better human beings because you are here.

"How do I accept your unwanted and unwelcome presence? I try to work with you, and not against you. I remain certain that you are not stronger than the force of love, family, and friends that encircle us. I try my best to work within the parameters that you have set while knowing that there is a fierce fire within us that is greater than the devastation you brought." - I am Still working on this. Ceressa

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Held Up By The Holdup

Today was a better day Nu Nu. Mama didn't cry as much, laughed a lot and spent most of the day cleaning the Player Ln. house and listening to your boys. I know why you love them so much, they're poets and their lyrics are poetry and you love poetry so it totally makes sense to me. Christy might of bagged on you for your love of them, but she was the first one willing to attend one of their concerts at SLO Brew when you where in the hospital in Kentfield. She even wrote them and ask for one of their banners from their Stay Gold album. It was through their FB page and sadly she never heard back. I have wanted to attend their concert, but the last few times they were here it felt too hard. I want them to know about their number one fan! Anyway Nood, it's getting late and Mama needs sleep bad so I don't want to write too much and get my wheels turning otherwise it will keep me up. I just want to say I love you and thank you for the good day. Also I'm posting some pictures here from yesterday's birthday wishes. My computer wasn't allowing me to download pictures. Love you Sweet Boy. Sweet Dreams, Mama

 Emilee posted this one:


and Uncle Gordon shared this one. They are both some favorites of mine. My "twins"

Monday, January 4, 2016

Andrew's Song Tonight Lullaby

Your very first lullaby Noodle. I started singing this to you from the moment we brought you home. Then one day in the car when I was belting it out, and as you were sitting so calmly and comfy in your car sit with your little legs crossed at your ankles, you so softly and sweetly said "Mama, please stop, it hurts my ears". Oh Andrew, I remember that day like yesterday. I never stopped singing (just dialed it back) and you grew to love Mariah Carey, which to this day I doubt most of your friends even know.
Our song Noodle. I'm still singing and I'm still here. Where ever you are, I'll be there!

Trying To Sing Instead of Scream #bothareok #griefsucks #childloss #sucksmore

"memories stay with us ya, stay with us ya"-The Holdup

I woke up this morning just wanting to scream at the fact that today your 21 and you didn't make it to see this milestone moment in your life. So instead (and I may still head out to scream somewhere) I went for a run. I'm one song in on my playlist and "your boys" come on with Back Then. Yes, Nu, I knew right away it was you! It reminded of you and Christy. You loved The Holdup from the minute you discovered them. Local boys trying to make a name for themselves. You loved that idea. But not everyone shared your love of them and you got teased a lot about that. Lovingly teased because anyone who knows you knows your deep love of music.  It just made you love them more. I remember the day you shared them with Christy. You were so excited. You two were always sharing music, new and old with one another. She hated them! She told you they were garbage. You laughed and told her she had no taste. Then when you would see her driving around town you would blast them and she would give you the "stink eye" or show you her lipstick?!?!. You always laughed.  After my run while I was coming up the driveway TWO gray doves flew from yours and my favorite oak tree. I recognized you right away. I'm thinking your with my friend Cory (as I ask him daily to take you under his wing) Maybe it's Kody. It could be anyone of our loved ones who deeply love you. I can't be sure, but I can be sure that I see the signs you share with me. Keep sharing them Noodle because I'm looking for them every minute of everyday. Some days there are none, some days there are more then one. Anyway, all the wonderful but heart breaking birthday wishes are starting to show up on social media all expressing how very much your missed and never to be forgotten. and since you shared "your Boys with me this morning it's only fitting I share here. I'm sharing "your boys" With a  LOVE so strong, Mama


















Birthday Wishes To Our Birthday Boy

Dad and I got on FB early this morning and already all the birthday greetings are being posted. Dad and I spent the afternoon with Jack and Dalton and it felt like you were right here with us. They love you and miss you so much Noodle. 

The first was from Maddee, saying Happy Birthday, I love you. 

These are some I'm able to see.  Your quite the social media buzz today baby boy! I know your lovin that! :)))

Jack shared this from last year:
Happy 21st Birthday Bubba, I love you- Jack
20 years ago today, a warrior, a joyful soul was brought onto this earth. This is the year where all the plans we have made for our birthdays occurring a month after each other, cannot take place. Andrew Phillip Kunz.. What a year it's been bubba! Nothing else has been floating through this head of mine. You brought a smile to my face, showed everyone so much love, touched many hearts, and still doing what you do best smile emoticon
I love you more than anything buddy. Have a badass birthday up there, don't go too craazy without me! We'll all have a reunion party some day . Stay Gold. Keep Smiling Andrew Philip Kunz AP


More from Jack-Love and miss you so much brother. Everyday wishing I could see you again just for a day. Have a badass 21st up there man. Happy Birthday Andrew Phillip 


From Dalton 
(your brother from another mother) -21 years ago, today, earth was blessed with an amazing soul. He conquered so much in that little bit of time he had in his life. And could have changed so much in this messed up world. God blessed him with such awesome personality and characteristics that he could have been president of the united states if he tried. You would be the one i would call if i was in any trouble, or couldn't figure something out. Or even if i just needed to vent. You were and still are my right hand man. Like two peas in a pod. We are inseparable. But unfortunately god needed you more than we did. You are truly amazing Andrew Kunz. I hope you are having a blast up there with the big man! I love and miss you so much bro. Happy Birthday Andrew Phillip Kunz. 

Connor
Happy birthday cuz! hope your having a good birthday up there! missing you everyday bro! love you

From Austin 
Happy birthday brother�� They say time heals, and in a way I guess it has. When I think about you I can smile and laugh at all the great times we've had. The feeling of not having my best friend with me will never fade, it's an emptiness that I can't really explain. But I can now look back on everything and feel the same light you brought us every single day. You truly were an amazing individual and I can only feel blessed to have shared so many great memories with you(: I can't believe you're 21 today! Rest in paradise my friend����

From Emilee
Today you would have been 21 and today I hope you are partying up there like you would have here. I miss you more then you will ever know! Wish I could call and talk to you just one more time and tell you happy birthday! I love you lots and will always miss you! (she attached the picture of you two in Grandpas golf kart in Palm Springs. I cant download right now but will)

Shelby on Insta with a great picture of the two of you happy- Living life out loud
Happy birthday Andrew #simplyjustmissed

From Michela Tywman
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Andrew Kunz!! Dude you are so awesome and left an impression on a lot of people. You always bring a smile on all of our faces! When your songs come on all I imagine is your dance moves you like to bust out. Your definitely livin up that after life and likely accomplishing your goals, still! And enjoying get them tacos you were talking about. There isn't one second passed that all your loved ones are thinking about you!!:) Cheers andrew 

From Seferino
Happy birthday bud! We all miss you bro! But I know you're doing great and watching over everyone, stay gold! Love you brotha!
Lauren Rock
Happy Birthday you amazing crazy ass. I miss you so much! So thankful I had you as a friend 
Mad love

Cody Coulter
Happy birthday


Louie 
happy birthday i drank a beer cuz you turned 21

Taylor Rose
Constantly missing you man!

Adam Heasley
Andrew Happy Birthday! I miss you tons. Wish you were still with us. I love you bud.

Nerissa
We love you and miss you so much Andrew. Happy birthday. Stay gold 

Paula Kelly
Happy 21st Andy Kunz. I know you must be livin it up in paradise. You're always remembered & forever missed

Larry Smith
Happy birthday! Don't have to much fun up there. Keep us safe bro

Lexie Kuel
Happy birthday Andrew!! Everyone down here misses you! I hope you are going big up there for your 21!!(: have a good day!

Daniel Duff
Happy Birthday, you were a great dude

From Megan
Happy Birthday Andrew, I hope you are having quite the day up there and embracing your inner Miley. Still chanting Can't Stop, Won't Stop for you because we all know it's the truth (and a badass song). I miss you so much and of course sending much love your way heart emoticon

Makaila Carlson
Happy birthday angel Andy

Kalani Mendoza
Happy birthday brotha miss you!

Jose Quiroz
Happy Birthday Bro!!! We miss you!!! Keep looking over us.

Kylie Perez
Happy Birthday Andrew! We love and miss you

Maggie Ryan
Happy birthday!

Sawyer Harder
happy birthday bro we all miss you

Chase A
Happy 21st birthday brother. I hope you're up there partying your ass off and takin shots for all of us. I wish we could go back to the bmx days when we went to camp Woodward and a-town skatepark constantly. Always getting into some type of crazy shit! You're missed, man. Hope you're doing well up there. Love you dude

Adrian Koga
Happy birthday!!

Tyler Issacs
Happy birthday bro

Mandy Fletcher
Happy birthday bro

Billy M
Happy birthday Andrew

Annie 
Happy 21st Birthday Andrew Kunz . Love and miss you buddy, rest in paradise heart emoticon ‪#‎pacificadiaperduo‬
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Sunday, January 3, 2016

My Endless Tears Have Lead Me To Becoming An Expert At Making Running Masacra Work For me. Whats your Super Power? #childloss #grief #grace #findingthegood #eachday

"What's coming will come and we'll meet it when it does" -Hagrid

Tomorrow is your 21st birthday and I can barely type this entry without falling apart, let alone say those words out loud. I'm really struggling with the idea that you should be having 70 plus more birthdays! I try really hard to not go to these dark places in my mind Nood, but they often come to me.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. My hope is strength to celebrate you in the way you deserve. That's what I'm aiming for Noodle, but please don't be disappointed if all I can mange is to sit in your room that still smells of you, and imagine you here. Your 21st birthday is the birthday you so wanted to celebrate in full Andrew style as only you could. You spoke about wanting to celebrate it in Las Vegas so Dad and I went in late November when we knew we could handle it. I don't know, I can't know what tomorrow will bring, but know this my sweet boy, YOU will be all I think of, dream of and desire. Missing you is not getting easier, in fact its getting increasingly harder but I hear your voice in my head reminding me that we never know what tomorrow might bring so we need to live for today. The harder it gets, the stronger I will need to become. The love I have for you is my strength and knowing, even though I'm may no longer be privileged by  "living with you" I now have to live for you. Until one sweet day Son, when we can all be together and our hearts sing again.

Ps, I came across this message from your good friend Paula who wrote about being down and you talking with her and making her feel better. She went on to quote these words of yours, "no matter how bad of a day you're having, there's always something good to look forward to, so to heck with it,  just be happy." I am always looking for the good in my day for you my extraordinary SUN.

Love Always and forever, Mama






Puff Daddy - I'll Be Missing You

Shelby posted this on her FB page a while back when she was having a really hard missing you week Andrew and I really thought of you when I played it. Here my music man.