I’m not very good at sharing all the health challenges that I face...and that as a result are faced by my family. Joshua does a much better job at putting into words what that is like.
I wanted to make a post about the relationship Joshua and I have together...and how it has changed over the years.
Joshua and I have been close for as long as I can remember. We are only 19 months apart so I don’t remember life without him. Each of my siblings played a special role in my life. I loved being outdoors, but if I wanted to go get muddy...well, Joshua wasn’t the one I asked. However, Joshua was a good listener, and we could have some great conversations about so many subjects. He also loves Southern Gospel music so we would listen and sing together. He has musical talent. I don’t. He still put up with me though. Since we went to Christian schools or homeschool, we frequently had classes together. Sometimes three years were put in the same classroom. Once in the seventh grade, 7-12th had a couple of classes together as well as lunch. I was shy. I tried to hide it, but I was really terrified of strangers. My brother loved people and would talk to anyone. I met my friends through him. A girl he liked for a while became my best friend through highschool. He was older, but when we were in highschool, he called himself my “big brother.” He was always protective of me. He was a favorite at school. Everyone loved Joshua...he has a magnetic personality. People are really drawn to him. I can’t even put into words how much I miss him. All through highschool, we did so much together. He was my “date” to the Senior Banquet. There is no one else with whom I’d rather have gone.
So when, at 16, my life changed forever. I was put in the hospital unable to do much of anything. More than anything, I was tired...SOOO tired. I had a low grade fever, but no test came back positive. Walking was difficult, but feeding myself was also exhausting. When I got home,Joshua would spend time sitting on my bed talking to me. He would share what was going on at school. Through my last two years of school, he brought home my school work, and he helped me in so many ways.
My dream had been to go to college and be a teacher. I knew I couldn’t work and do school at the same time with my fatigue that never went away. I decided to work and save money. I did. I also purchased a car. I never pumped gas for that car, by the way, Joshua wouldn’t let me. He always put the gas in it. I did insist on paying. Anyone who knows me well, knows I hate spending money. My savings account grew quite quickly even though I wasn’t making much money. Then, at the age of 20, I went into the hospital with a terrible cough and very weak. I walked into the hospital...I left in a wheelchair. To make this story short, Joshua bought my car, I had to quit my job, and my family began a 13 year journey of searching for answers. I never drove again, worked again, nor did I share with anyone all that was going on with me. I greatly admire Joshua for doing so...it’s not easy to open up...for me it makes me feel vulnerable somehow. Some experiences and emotions I have never shared...we are all made differently.
Many years later my precious brother got what we now know is at least dystonia...there may be other components. To have a disorder...and have a friend and sibling get it-it’s devastating. Because I KNEW. I lived it...and seeing others in my family live it has been much harder than living it myself. I got seizures...I think it was about a year to a year and a half later that Joshua got them. Apart from my parents, he had been my most frequent visitor. Visitors are rare and special people to those of us who are chronically ill.Friends are even more rare. I didn’t just miss him,tho, he was suffering. I know all too well what the life change is. You see I had DBS about two and a half years before the seizures. I had walked for about two years, we had adopted a child, I had got some of my life back. God knows best, though, and he allows things for only reasons he knows. My battery died, and the dystonia drastically worsened...that’s when the seizures came. It was March 2009. The last church service I was able to sit through was the Tuesday of anniversary services for Victory Baptist Church. We moved into the church’s trailer because I couldn’t be left alone...and Joshua would come see me. Sometimes he did all the talking...it didn’t matter to me. I was just glad to get my hug and see him. It just tore me to pieces when he got them too. He had a family to support....and he was much older when he got dystonia so he had experienced more of life than I.
So Joshua is my brother, my friend, my confidant, my brother in Christ, and a fellow sufferer of dystonia. He also is a long distance relationship, but I’m thankful we still have that relationship.
Life is a struggle, but God never promised this life would be easy. I FaceTime with my brother when I can. We both still feel that closeness...and now we have that strange bond of experiencing things with this dystonia that only the two of us have. I say all this to say, I love Joshua more than any words can possibly express. I’m thankful we built a strong relationship while growing up. I’m thankful for him. I’m thankful that he continues to serve the Lord whenever and however he can. I’d be really grateful if everyone who reads this would please pray for him and his dear wife and children. Love you, Joshua. I always have. One day, we will have all eternity together in a perfect body and with our precious Saviour who gets us through each day. I miss you, but we won’t have to suffer once this life is done. We will be whole, healed in body and spirit, and together. As Daddy always signed in our KJV Bibles, “ Serve Him Always.” I pray that we do until our fight with this horrid thing called dystonia is over...and we walk in Gloryland and praise our King.