KidneysandEyes (2)If you’re here, you’ve come through the url of my personal blog, Kidneys and Eyes.

I’m saying goodbye to Kidneys and Eyes. It’s not even a sad goodbye, more of a moving-on-but-still-around goodbye.

Kidneys and Eyes had its time and it was between 2004 -2013 that the words both in pain and joy flew out of me. I’m grateful to the nine years I spent writing at Kidneys and Eyes because it allowed me a place to share what my kids were going through; their suffering, their joy. It was a safe place to write about the joy and pain of being one half of a special needs parenting team and the fear and happiness of transplant and mental health stability.

Gage and Quinnlin will always be my inspiration

When I started the Kidneys and Eyes it was truly to keep family and friends informed about what was going on with the kids. The kids were in over a dozen therapy appointments a week at the time, they were sick from the impact of ARPKD/CHF and they were struggling educationally and socially. There was always a lot going on around their care and development and it never seemed to slow down. It didn’t slow down through dialysis and kidney transplants, not through scary, deadly diseases or infections and not through a debilitating depression that resulted in suicidal thoughts and actions for my sweet son. Kidneys and Eyes was always a safe place to land with love, compassion and concern from my readers and Gage and Quinnlin fans.

Life changing, this blogging thing. 

Blogging made me a better writer, a better person. Blogging introduced me to people who have changed my life and the lives of my kids. Blogging led me to Jen, who helped us parent Gage through his suicidal tendencies. While I believe we would have made our way to the care we got him (eventually) that helped save his life, we were able to get to it sooner because Jen taught me to listen. She taught me to see what one couldn’t through eyes, but only through waiting and showing him how we could that we would never give up finding him help. Jen confirmed with me what I’d always believed… I had parent him in a way that he needed, not in a way that I needed to parent.

Blogging introduced me to amazing people and friends including Dawn Friedman, who helped me start Support for Special Needs, which has led to amazing opportunities for me. I’m sharing our story more with speaking engagements, I’m connecting with people who I can help and help me. In a very real way, Dawn pushed me to go in directions I didn’t know I wanted to go until they were in front of me. She is one of the reasons I am writing a book and if I’m ever lucky enough to get it published, she will likely be the major reason.

Blogging at Kidneys and Eyes allowed me a place to share our story in a way that touched the hearts of two kidney donors. Women who already knew us, sure, but they were truly able to experience what we were going through as parents and were brave enough to contact the transplant team that brought us to successful transplants for both kids.

Blogging gave me therapy. Writing what was inside allowed me to express what I couldn’t speak by voice but was as important as any word I ever uttered. It allowed me a place to process what I was going and in a lot ways has helped me be a better person, wife, sister, friend, daughter. Blogging has been a gift.

Thank you, I cannot count the ways. 

There is no way to express my gratitude for the journey you’ve been on with me and our family. I thank you for the encouragement, prayers, good thoughts, presents, and friendship I’ve made over the years. To the parents with children and the young adults that have contacted me because we wrote about our own struggles with PTSD, depression, impulsivity, suicide and more, I thank you. Thank you for taking the time to share your stories with me and to thank me for sharing our story. Thank you for giving me – and mostly Gage – the strength to keep sharing his story of living with mental illness in the face of so many people who have said it was wrong.

I will never stop sharing that treatment for mental illness is no different from treating for kidney disease. I will never stop sharing that we need to keep fighting for those we love until we find the right treatments. I will never stop sharing that the shame around mental illness shouldn’t be placed on the person with mental illness but on the person who shuns those suffering with mental illness. I will never stop sharing our story of hope because if we don’t share it in some form then all of my kids’ suffering is in vain.

You can’t get rid of me that easy. 

There are still stories to be shared about our family and there is still growth in writing I’d like to do, so I’m just changing locations.  I’d love it if you can follow us here (subscribe to us by email located at the bottom of our page?) and on our various social media platforms. I’ll be blogging at Support for Special Needs about our personal story and it will have my focus because it’s where I can reach the most families impacted by special needs with information and support. I hope you come, read and stay here at SfSN with me.

We can still learn from each other, we can support each other and we can create a better place for our kids with disabilities.

If we don’t, who will?

Much love and gratitude,

Julia Roberts