Hard Realizations

20 Mar

Let me start off by warning all of you… this is not going to be a inspirational post. I am going to open up very honestly and candidly. Because it is best for me and all of you to understand my journey.

Since my return to Arizona I have encountered a lot of challenges and pitfalls. Over the last couple of days I have crossed paths with activities I can’t do anymore. Most of these things are, were, my passions in life. They are the things that kept me working hard on the weekdays so I could do them on the weekends. These are the things that put a smile on my face. These are the things that made me who I was. Coming home and having the realization that I have lost the ability to do most of the things I loved. It felt like my I don’t know who I am anymore. People say that I will find new things to do. This may sound childish, but I don’t want to find new things. I cherished riding my bike the the grocery store on Saturday morning so I could make Erika breakfast. I loved riding my bike to my favorite pub and buy a beer or two, or too many. I love getting up on a Sunday and hiking Camelback Mountain, I always felt so refreshed after a hike. I love getting on the bike my father bought me 15 years ago and buying a bottle of wine on Friday night for Erika and I. I love the feeling of taking off my backpack after a long hike in to the wilderness. I loved going out with Big Pun in Flagstaff and riding our mountain bikes. I loved the relaxation of a nice walk in Tempe. I will admit I have broken down out of sadness and mourning. I have laid in bed and searched for hope and not found it. These have been some of the hardest days of my life. I am now and empty soul looking for things that put the smile on my face and let me forget all of lifes hardships. This search feels like I am at the bottom of Mt Everest and I have to get to the top. The journey feels to big to conquer.

Before my return to Arizona I told my self that I wanted to be strong for both myself and Erika. I want to be the person that was able to take the turn in life and hit the gas. It is hard to admit that I am a person in need of help. I have come to the realization that I can’t do this alone. I need to learn to be strong for myself. I need help finding new passions. I need help finding that smile. If I don’t the Joel all us of knew may be lost and never return again. I know I liked him and I want him to return too.

I am writing this from the ASU Campus. I came with Erika while she went to campus. The first thing I did was buy a cookie. It seemed to make me feel better because at Craig I always had cookies on hand to eat. For some reason Craig is a place I miss. There I was the majority. Craig was full of people that had nothing but hope. Craig was a bubble that seperated me from the challenges I have encountered over the last couple of days. As soon as she is done we are going shopping for some cloths and other things I need.

This weekend I heading back to Flagstaff. A buddy is getting married. Since I don’t have a car a couple of buddies are coming down from Flagstaff to pick me up. I know it wil be good for me to go. Going to the wedding is one of many steps on learning to live again. Things like going to weddings, bars, and national parks are all steps to getting back on track. It will also be nice to hang out with old friends. The the nice thing about old friends is that they know how to tell you the truth about truths you don’t want deal with. I am also sure we may sit around and talk about old times and drink tequila. Everybody has old friends that we seem to sit around and talk about the good times and drink our favorite drinks. It’s the these times that we all remember with the most fondness.

The sun breaks the horizon every 24 hours and we all have to make the day the best we can. This is a concept I cannot forget. I can’t find the things that put a smile back on my face over a couple of days or weeks. As the sun comes everyday I need to find a way to get a little closer to the smile I lost. I need to make a phone call to find out about wheelchair basketball. The next day maybe watch basketball. the next week play. As the sun goes up and falls into the horizon I need to fight for what was lost. I need to remember on the days that I may have lost ground that the sun will come up again. Everyday is a new opportunity to fight for what was lost. This fight will be a long. The fight will be both emotional and physical. But every 24 hours the sun will come up regardless if I won or lost the previous.

I know post was not about hope and triumph. I know this may be hard for some of you to read. I know some of you may be worried for me. I know some of you may be thinking of things to help me. All I can say is if I don’t write the truth about my journey I can’t find my smile again. I have to be honest about this jouney. It is best for everyone. All I ask is send my your prayers, good thoughts and be patience with me. I have a long journey ahead of me.


Posted by on March 20, 2007 in Previous Posts


17 responses to “Hard Realizations

  1. Holly & Bob Asmuth

    March 20, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    One day at a time like you say, both Bob and I have experienced a great loss as you know. Did not know if we could get through it . We had a wonderful support system, just like you have. We are here to tell you that you will have a smile on your face once again and there will be good days and not so good days. But each day gets a little better. We do not know the reason we are chosen to deal with the challenge of getting through the day. Do not ask to many Questions Joel just get through it. Hang in there Big guy and take it slow and easy. All our love

  2. eecarson

    March 20, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    My heart and thoughts are with you Joel. I can’t imagine what you have and will have to go through, but know that I am here for you. I realy appreciate your thoughts that you have written, keep them coming, good and bad. We love you every day, no matter what! Keep that head up as high as you can, and know that your support group extends far and wide.


    March 20, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Our hearts and love and most of all our prayers are with you. You will learn to smile and laugh and yes BE HAPPY because of what you have ! ! ! LIFE a special friend in erika,your friends in Arizona,yor brothers that love more than you will ever know. And the sun does come up every 24 hrs you are back where you feel good your home ! ! You gotta believe ! ! ! All our love

  4. Brian Dietzen

    March 20, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Thank you so much for your honesty Joel, I’m sure everyone who reads this post is grateful for it. You said that all you can ask for at this point is our prayers, and those you have in no short supply I can assure you. You may never feel the same again Joel, and it obviously will take time to adjust, but I’m so confident that with your honest approach, you’ll come out of this adjustment smiling. Many prayers are coming to you from out west.

  5. Jessie Aufderheide

    March 20, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    I’m sorry you have to go through this mourning process. I’m sure it is not easy, but it is OK to be mad and sad and confussed and any other emotion you feel. As we both know, mourning takes some time, but you will keep moving each day, and somehow, with the support of Erica and everyone else, you will find a way to live again, and be happy. My prayers are with you. Love, Jessie

  6. Bryan Yates

    March 20, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    I’m glad you trust all of enough to write your feelings to us. I wish I and others could be so candid. Reading you words makes it real and vivid. We need that. We need to see your everyday life. I wish I could say something or do something for you to make it all better. The only thing that helps me through the day and the pain is that, whether I’m getting “old” Joel or “new” Joel, at least I’m getting Joel. I’m reading Joel’s thoughs, I’m talking to him on the phone, I’m hanging with him on a Sat. That’s all that is important to me.

  7. John and Juli Begley

    March 21, 2007 at 5:46 am

    Hi Joel, I agree with your brother and the others about your candid honesty. It’s something very special that you are sharing with everyone out here in Blog land… As a nurse, I see a pattern in your posts that are consistant with the Kubler-Ross greif cycle, which is HEALTHY! Keep on sharing them and talking about them out loud, start seeking realistic solutions and then you will finally find the way forward.
    I always look at problems as I would a filthy room that needs to be cleaned. At first glance (standing at the door) you see something so huge which feels too big to overcome. But, if you start in one corner (close to that door) and work toward the middle of the room, before long you have conquered it. God Bless you and know you are in our prayers and thoughts.

  8. cuz paul

    March 21, 2007 at 7:04 am

    Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


    (sorry Joel I know I’ve posted this before, but I think it says so much) We all believe in you Joel. Love, Paul

  9. Kim, Mike and Matilda

    March 21, 2007 at 8:00 am

    Your honesty and raw emotion are more inspirational than you realize. If all of us could take our struggles and analyze and understand them as well as you do, this world would be a more compassionate place. Did you feel more hopeful after you had written the post and re-read it? It had very hopeful tones throughout, even if you didn’t think it was there. I think that is your personality coming through.
    You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

  10. Dominic Lovely

    March 21, 2007 at 8:31 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Keep up the blogging as you have been. It definently seems as though writing these helps you sort though the clutter of the thoughts you are having, leaving a cleaner slate than when you started.

    While I know you just got back and are settling in, I have to advocate for your local parks and rec. department. I’m sure you bacame familiar with Recreation Therapy while at Craig, and most cities should have a Rec. Therapist on staff. Erin works for the city of Vancouver in this field and I’m always amazed at the programs available.

    Stay strong, (but moments of vulnerability are just fine too)


  11. Matt

    March 21, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Always good to hear from you buddy! You have been an inspiration to me throughout this ordeal and I know good things do come back to you. I know you will find many things, small, big, that will inspire you to achieve your goals and live your life to the fullest. I can’t imagine all of them will come quickly or be obvious, but they will occur and if your recent determination, positivity and fortitude are a glimps of things to come, you will conquer the next steps in your life. Keep on keep’n on!! Amy and I are thinkin of you and prayin for ya.

  12. mb

    March 21, 2007 at 11:09 am

    You mentioned once that you noticed that folks reply to the happpier posts while avoiding the difficult ones. I can only speak for myself, but it is because I know that no matter how many platitudes or inspirational sayings I want to express to you, they are not the answer. It is up to you, and each new day will show you that you can surround yourself with joy and good people. And you will. You are Joel. Your smile makes others smile.

  13. William Gilman

    March 21, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Thank you for being so candid. It’s good for the soul to talk about how you really feel and know that you’re being heard, especially on bad days. I can’t say I know what you’re going through, but I think with any loss you have to remember a few key things. You have to keep moving forward, especially when it seems impossibly hard to do so. Tomorrow is another day, and that you have friends and family who care and are behind you 100%. So far it sounds like you’ve done a good job keeping those things in mind. And though you feel like you lost your passions in life I don’t think anything could take away your passion for life; the difference is now it will find different ways to show itself. We’re all here for and with you,

  14. Eric Hansen

    March 21, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Joel – You’re right, your journey will be long, but you have amazing people to help along the way. You couldn’t ask for more than your mom, your brothers and Erika. Remember that you are lucky to have such a loving, caring support group. We all love you and continue to send good vibes your way.

  15. Matthew Unger

    March 22, 2007 at 6:33 am


    you were always one of the most spirited ppl i knew, and i’m sure you’ll pull through this.

    I went onto google and searched: off road wheelchairs, and here’s a few items i found

    the tank chair

    Here’s a great site for those in wheelchairs that are getting out

    site that offers several different wheelchairs

    not sure if this might help you any, but maybe it will help insi\pire you to get back out there on those trails 🙂

  16. Emily (Burden) Perrotto

    March 23, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Hey Joel,
    Thank you for sharing your heart with us. A mutual friend of ours at one time told me that he grew so much as a person by dropping the curtains of societal expectations and just spilled his guts about the difficult times he was experiencing. Low and behold, when he was down, those that loved him jumped in to pull him back up. He never realized before that moment how wonderul life, and the people you share it with truly are. So, you just sit back, relax, crack open a beer, and let all of us help pull you through this tough time. Goodness knows you would do the same for us.

  17. Laurie Marta

    March 24, 2007 at 1:14 am

    Dear Joel,

    I greatly respect your honesty. That you reached out to your family and friends in your time of need is a measure of who you are. The only words I have for you are not my own, but I make them my own. These are the words that live in my soul and give me the strength I need when I grow weary: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

    I believe in smoking pot for medicinal purposes and hope it helps with the pain in your legs.

    You are in my prayers, Laurie


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