Goodbyes Suck

โ€œGoodbyes Suckโ€ – Aaron Trofholz

Aaron highly anticipates any time our family gets together and the holidays are no exception. He looks forward to these events with such passion. The monthly countdown quickly turns into weeks, days, and the final minutes until each family member pulls into the driveway.

Then something happens, he realizes we will inevitably be leaving to return to our homes. He becomes quiet and slightly withdrawn. When you ask to sit with him, his eyes well up with tears and he says very matter of factly, โ€œGoodbyes Suckโ€.

He has this unique ability to be present for the good times and present for the hard times. He acknowledges the stuff he finds challenging and he owns it.

As Christmas Day started to pass, he became quieter and quieter. He remained fixated on what time we were leaving, why we were leaving, and when he will see us next.

A delicious Christmas dinner came to a close and Aaron excused himself immediately. He needed to report to his duty of monitoring the door for our departure. As I loaded my arms with bags my eyes welled up in sync with his welled up eyes. It hit me like a ton of bricks… rather than hide my tears in embarrassment, I would allow my vulnerability to be seen. That I too can be present for the good times and be present for the hard times, much like Aaron. Had I not witnessed his ability to show up in his truth, I may not have been able to do the same.

Yes Aaron, goodbyes suck. In the suck, you have shown me how to be grateful for a love that few words can articulate. The love of family. You have shown me that sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to show our wholehearted vulnerability. Love shows up for us in various forms, even the hard moments can be rooted in deep love.

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Giving Thanks

This week’s story comes from Matt, Aaron’s first sibling.ย Thank you Matt for an inspiring story and sharing such a huge piece of Aaron’s life.

Thanksgiving is a special time of year for all of us. Being thankful for things like family, friends, health, and companionship. Having way too much turkey and pumpkin pie. Trampling each other to death at Wal-Mart to get the last fidget spinner. While we can expect all of these every year, the Thanksgiving holiday encompasses something a little larger and a little deeper for both myself and my family.ย 

Aaron is oftentimes the glue that holds our family together. Regardless of what is going on in our lives, or whatever hardships and challenging experiences we might be going through, the one constant every holiday in our house is that Aaron will be there to make us laugh, smile, and help us realize how lucky we are as a family to have one another and have each other’s support. And for that, I am very thankful. However, there is also something else that I am incredibly thankful for that is worth mentioning during this time of year.

I believe Aaron is a product of his environment. The reason he is such a positive part of all of our lives, isย becauseย he has so many positive people in his life. It is difficult to put into words how lucky he is to have such a loving and compassionate family. It starts with my parents who have sacrificed and have given so much to ensure that Aaron’s quality of life is as good as it can possibly get. It extends to my sisters who can, and do, seamlessly step in at a moment’s notice and provide the same level of love and comfort. It extends to family friends who also provide the highest level of warmth and endearment that anyone could ask. The number of family friends we have who go out of their way to make Aaron feel important by taking him to lunch, FaceTiming with him, and calling him on his birthday is almost inconceivable. I recently told somebody that we could not ask for a better group of people for Aaron to be surrounded by, and I really do believe that and for that, we are all tremendously grateful.ย 

To all those people who have selflessly given part of their life to help, mentor, and spend time with Aaron–I can’t say thank you enough. You know who you are.ย 

Seeing the similarities over the differences is the heartโ€™s greatest ability.

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Through connection we can overcome the label of disability and unleash our true abilities.ย