There was a time (2000 - 2002) when I would sit with the parents of preterm babies and share David's story. Doctors would call us up when a 2-pounder was born and we would show them David and point out that he was much smaller and sicker than their child and that they should hope for a great outcome. That was back when I thought anyone could get the same results we got if they did what we did. I don’t believe that anymore.
After watching parents lose babies which were much stronger and larger then Bear and after sitting with someone who lost his very healthy wife during childbirth due to a ruptured brain aneurysm, I stopped believing. I started believing that David was the exception that made the rule, even though I know of lots of exceptions to the rule. I withdrew from sharing David’s story because I didn’t want to give people false hope.
Then David's eyes miraculously self-corrected (2007) and his miracle was so overwhelming that we had to share it. So we did. We shared it with family, friends, and strangers. We told the story and offered David Bear up as proof that God was still in the healing business, but then one crazy person decided that we had cheated death and made death threats (Dec 2007) against our child. Our first reaction was total shock. I personally have been on the wrong side of a gun twice (another lifetime ago) but that did not prepare me for the feeling I had when someone threatened MY CHILD! If I could write as vividly as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow I would still not be capable of adequately describing how I felt. Anger bordering on rage was overtaken by intellectual reasoning which allowed us to ignore our first instinct to arm ourselves and eliminate the threat. We elected to go through the tiresome process of getting a restraining order against the insane woman.
If you've never tried to take out a restraining order, I assure you, it's not as easy as they make it seem on television. Judges don't just like to take your word for it. They prefer to have open hearings and allow both sides to present their case before ruling. Even with the very threatening phone message, there was no guarantee that the judge would issue the most restrictive restraining order. As luck would have it, the real violent woman (as opposed to the medicated mild-mannered) showed up to court. She was so verbally abusive and clearly dangerous that not only did we get the restraining order, but she ended up needing a police escort from the building because the people in the courtroom instantly fell in love with David Bear and the judge feared for HER safety. This is one of the few times I've felt completely vindicated while living in Orange County.
Despite the restraining order and the threat's absence from our lives, I once again withdrew from sharing David’s story. [Keep in mind that this was the same time as his failed brain shunt surgery and emergency brain shunt surgery as well as the first tumor scares, so we were a bit overwhelmed.] We did not want to risk running into another person who wanted to harm our child. We were motivated by fear, and fear is a powerful force with which to be reckoned. Three years later and I still can’t figure out why anyone would want to hurt our loving child, but as my family says, “there’s no accounting for crazy.” Unfortunately, we withdrew from life as well. We were paralyzed. We are only now starting to breathe again.
A funny thing happened when the restraining order was lifted. David Bear was no longer the little kid but instead five inches taller than the adult who threatened to kill him three-years earlier. Although he’s a much more confident healthy boy today than he was three-years ago, he has managed to maintain his loving manner. We still fear for his safety due to his trusting nature, but we can see how much fear has prevented him from reaching his social potential.
I’m back to share our story with the world. I am no longer afraid. It is not my intent to give anyone false hope or to imply that this has been an easy process. I do not want anyone to believe that David is “whole”. I’m sure his doctors can label his specific medical condition and I’m sure it’s a type of autism, but that doesn’t matter much to us. David is David, David Bear. No more, no less. He is a happy, thriving, loving, loved boy. That has to be enough for the world. It’s enough for us.