I. A Home is a Stepping Stone

I’ve started to write this post several times. They were false starts. It sounded like I was seeking validation and acceptance from the entire population of planet earth over what has been happening in my home recently. It felt like I was asking for permission to have the challenges we are having and for the choices we are making. This bothered me.

After the trauma and related fallout of the events of the past couple of months, I am disturbed by the niggling notion that not only is life in my house exceptionally hard, but we are also being watched and judged for the straight-forward manner in which we are coping with it.

I haven’t wanted to talk about the most recent issues, because a) I do not want to be judged for them and b) I am weary of feeling that I must apologize for my family’s life. This is the family that God gave us. We have massive issues, like everyone else’s families. Unlike many families though, our issues are 100% visible.

I have gotten over my fear of sharing what life is like for families of children with disabilities. Because God asked me to write about my life, I did it. I kept doing it, even when people asked me if it bothered me, all this public sharing about our hard, weird stuff.

“I’m over it,” I would respond to the question, meaning: it doesn’t bother me, telling people who we really are.

Then Costco happened and the ksl comments section nightmare wherein I learned what some people actually think about me and Jack. They don’t want us around. We are unacceptable. We scare them. We make their lives too uncomfortable.

This has all been very painful, but it’s not even the issue at hand.

THIS is the issue at hand:

We have been working for some time to find a residential placement for Jack.

We are moving forward with residential care, meaning a group home.

This is our new reality.

If you find yourself reacting to this development with any of the following, please know that you are entitled to your opinions (yay, opinions!), but feel free to NOT share them with me, xoxo:

*Things you might be thinking about our decision*

  1. They should have done it a long time ago.
  2. How disappointing. I can’t believe they are doing that. 
  3. I would never do that.
  4. What a nightmare.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have also been thinking all of these same sentiments to myself, repeatedly over many years.

We were told to expect the approval process to take a long time, possibly many months. We have been gathering doctor’s letters, as well as behavioral data from the school, the behaviorist, and other caregivers. We documented all the aggression, injury, violence, and destruction that has happened within our home.

It was a pretty desolate feeling, seeing the trauma of our lives summed up all together like that. I sent it to Jack’s support coordinator and our attorney and they both responded immediately, dumbfounded at the crisis level in which we have been living for so long.

I read through the list of dangerous behaviors after I wrote it and had two thoughts. First, how are we still alive? Then, as I was mulling that over, a voice that wasn’t mine said, “All of these things happened so that Jack will be approved for the care he needs.”

That was the first divine moment in this process.

We pressed on, gathering documentation and expert corroboration. We began looking at possible placements.

I grieved.

Since we made the decision to pursue residential care, I have felt peaceful. Jeff and I know it’s the right step, the next step in Jack’s life trajectory as the Spirit told me three years ago in my car on the side of the road after Jack almost killed me and his little brothers.

The Spirit also said (after my thoughts immediately went to my failure as a parent) that this is simply the next step for Jack on his journey through mortality. Probably the most important part of this silent exchange happened next when I heard, “It will be alright,” and was flooded with peace.

That’s what I’m holding onto now. I feel peace, but also grief. The rightness and necessity of something doesn’t preclude pain and suffering. Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross was right and necessary, and yet how He suffered.

Our support coordinator completed the request for residential care over a weekend, texting me throughout church one Sunday to ask me detailed questions about Jack’s medications, sleeping patterns, behavior outbursts, and difficulty keeping respite workers. She submitted the request Sunday evening.

It was approved at 7:00 am the next morning.

That’s the next miracle.

Our astonished support coordinator called me, rendered basically speechless by this development. She has never seen an approval happen like this—instantaneously. It just doesn’t happen.

God loves Jack and wants him to have the help he needs.

We are now at the point of securing his placement. It’s a tricky process, even when you have months to prepare for it. Since the approval happened so fast, we are all a little stunned. But, fortuitously, we have two possibilities that are both nearby and both good options for Jack. We are considering them and will decide soon.

My brain is working in overdrive. I’m having a lot of thoughts, including these:

*I am still Jack’s mother. We are still his family.

*We will still see him and love him.

*Jack will do better and behave better when he has the right (one-on-one, male-staffed, continuous) care.

*This must be what the scriptures mean when they say “O Lord, wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way.”

*Not only is the way NOT hedged up, it appears to have been pruned, plowed, paved, painted, and greased so that we can straight up glide forward, finding the things Jack needs.

*Jesus knows how we feel. He knows how Jack feels, living in a body with an imperfect mind and the inability to speak. He knows how to help us in our time of need. He IS helping us in our time of need.

*Life on earth is a temporary state, completely filled with sound and fury (wow. yes), but thankfully it’s not our forever state. Jack is living a subdued existence that doesn’t define who he really is. Thanks to Jesus, Jack will be restored. Hallelujah.

*The group home is a stepping stone. Our home is a stepping stone. Our parents homes, Jeff’s mission apartments, our college rentals and first Sugarhouse bungalow, our one-day assisted-living homes—all of these are stepping stones from spiritual infancy back to our real home with Father and Mother in Heaven.

But we are not there yet. This is where we are and this is what is happening.

God is clearing the way before us.

  21 comments for “I. A Home is a Stepping Stone

  1. Susannah Hutchins
    May 13, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    I’ve had this same thought before, but it never hit home so hard as it did when we sent Andrew on his mission. I had to realize I had taught him all I could inside the walls of our home and he needed to leave us to continue to learn and grow into the person the Lord wants him to become. Jack has his own mission here on earth and the Lord loves him and will watch over him just like He does my Elder.

  2. Angela Michelle
    May 13, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Love to you ❤️❤️

  3. Allison
    May 14, 2017 at 7:06 am

    You are amazing and your faith is inspiring. I love the psalm of Nephi too. The Lord gave us that beautiful scripture because he knew we would all need it. Jack is so blessed to have a righteous mother. Trust in the Lord….

  4. Ann Cannon
    May 14, 2017 at 7:21 am

    I read this hopeful, painful, wise piece with my heart in my throat. God bless you and Jack and your entire family.

    Love you.

  5. Tiffany Davis
    May 14, 2017 at 9:29 am

    You are awesome Megan. Your talent at writing is amazing. I think you wrote this post perfectly and the way you raise your family and tackle your challenges is purely inspiring. I would guess your vulnerability and rawness and the the powerful way you right will make me people follow you. Never read the comments on ksl articles. That’s where all of the worst humanity hangs out. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Kristen
    May 14, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Megan, you are an amazing mother. My opinions of you have always been in awe and amazenent of how well, and inspired you face life’s challenges. Jack and all your children are so blessed to have a mother that loves them so much, enough to make those difficult decisions, and mother so wise and in tune with the spirit to guide. My heart goes out to you my dear friend.

  7. Alicia Kostov
    May 14, 2017 at 11:36 am

    I love you and admire you so much, Megan! The way you (and your husband) live your lives is an amazing example to me. Sending love!

  8. Kerri
    May 14, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Megan, oh, how I love you. Oh, how I admire you. And, oh, how my heart breaks for you and at the same time is comforted for you.

    Motherhood is heavy on my shoulders today, but your words remind me that the Architect is aware of all of us and that his love is good.

    Your words have buoyed me up many times along your path. Thank you, friend.

  9. Chris Crowe
    May 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Bless you and your family, Megan!

  10. Terry Watts
    May 14, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Dearest Megan – I wish I could give you a hug. I cried. I believe that you as Jack’s parents know what is best for him. Trust yourself and may God comfort you and heal your hearts.

  11. Jana Flake
    May 14, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I am so glad I ran into you at Costco and got to hear this miraculous story from you. It is only when we look back and see the path we have traveled that God’s hand is truly manifest. I guess that is why “remembering” is so important. Thank you for telling of your family’s journey.

  12. Kara
    May 14, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    “I grieved.” So much of life is in the grieving. The grieving of what our souls cry should have been and the grieving of what is. I have learned, and I hope to always remember, there is beauty in grieving. God can be found in the grieving. Much love to you, my sweet friend Megan, and prayers for continued mercy and miracles. Thank you for sharing your miracles and testimony.

  13. Catherine Ethington
    May 14, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    The Spirit testifies truth to me as I read your words. With tears in my eyes and so much love for you and you family I saw thank you. Thank you for sharing this.

  14. Marianne
    May 15, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    I can’t even imagine how tough this has been. I’m so grateful you’ve had the guidance of the spirit through it all. You are an inspiration.

  15. Louise PLummer
    May 16, 2017 at 4:36 am

    Your honest writing is.saving other lives as well. Much love.

  16. Stacey
    May 16, 2017 at 7:11 am

    I missed the KSL comments – how horrible people can be. :(. But this post…My first thoughts were only of how difficult a decision this must have been, and knowing that it was made prayerfully and carefully. How could anyone else even think they have a right to judge?

  17. Amber kohler
    May 17, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    My son Jase has so much In common with Jack dx wise. He is 7, last week our bishop suggested looking into placement. All I can say is your entire family is so blessed to have you. Sending all of you so much love

  18. May 17, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    I want to don boxing gloves and take it to anyone who has dared to hurt my friend Megan with nasty words, disdainful stares, ugly thoughts! They do NOT know – I do NOT know – how difficult your life and this decision has been and is for you and your family. No one dares walk in your shoes as it is so much easier to judge from the comfort of their sandals. I am not as kind spirited as you! I want to jump on their bare toes while wearing cleats! If you don’t want me to perform this service, let me know; otherwise, I will go forward! L♡VE Y♡U, Dear ♡ne!

  19. Nevada
    May 19, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Megan I am so grateful for your honesty and your blog. It has been a refuge for me when I’ve had tough times. I know how mortifying and traumatic people’s judgments can be. I can only imagine your pain and sadness and my heart grieves for you. I have the utmost respect and admiration for your bravery in disclosing your journey for someday I may be faced with the same heartwrenching decision. You are a hero in my eyes and a super mom.

  20. Stacey
    May 20, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Heart wrenching. Inspiring. Touching. Nauseating. Humbling. Loving. Faith-building. Amazing.

  21. Darci Preisser
    May 21, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Somehow, within one blog post, my heart aches, then breaks, then heals. You’re brave for sharing your story with this (sometimes) cruel world. Thank you!

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