Adam Dzialo

Adam Dzialo
Our son, Adam Dzialo, age 30

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On Being Grateful.....

     My wife told me that I should blog about gratitude today.   Today, of course, is Thanksgiving and commemorates the day of our first (and last) Caucasian and Native American communal feast which celebrated a sharing and appreciation of our diversity and newly arrived at cooperation...shortly, thereafter we plundered their land, raped their women, stole their children and  defiled their connection with source and imposed Christianity.  I "should" celebrate Thanksgiving but something rings a bit eerie.
      Then, my wife read me a tribute some one wrote in the local paper.  They were thankful for sight, because some people wake up blind; they were thankful that they had hearing, because some people greeted the day without being able to hear; they were thankful for the ability to walk because some people wake up to start the day without this ability, etc.  They probably forgot for to be thankful for the gift of thinking and expression because some people wake up without the ability to express and think coherently.  Of course, these "feel good" diatribes always credit god (whoever she may be).  I believe the missive is "There but for the grace of god, go I...."  Frankly, god is neither responsible for your sight or someone else's lack of it or for your lack of challenge or someone else's profound challenge.  She didn't make it happen nor will she make it go away.  So I found  being grateful for happenstances in human existence (either positive or negative) an energetic depletion. Anyway, I always believe that the more challenged a person is, the more pure spirit they are; they are  more godlike.  Things are the way they are and our humanity derives from a simple acceptance of that moment which does not last that long in the scheme of things.

         So, being an ingrate, I choose to blog about what I honor in this life:

  • I honor my severely challenged son (my daughter dislikes the word "profoundly disabled" so I honor her wish).  I honor the truth that he chose, before this particular existence, to have me as his father, Sharon as his mother and Aimee as his sister. I am humbled and try to live up to the immensity of his choice.
  • I honor my wife who is deeply committed to Adam's recovery and who has eloquently written about his journey.  I honor the reality that before this existence she chose Adam and I to join her in her quest for truth and genuine humanity.  I honor her unflinching commitment to Adam and to her helping me develop a healthy disdain for allopathic medicine.
  • I honor my daughter, Aimee, who also chose before this existence to walk the path with Adam, Sharon and I and to share the trauma and the joy of this experience, but also to rapidly learn about the nature of many people and about true love.
  • I honor the reality that this family of four, all for different reasons, chose to travel this journey to a higher level of enlightenment together...I know there are no others that I would want to walk with.
  • I honor those few humans who I have encountered who are people of their word.  They always do what they say, even if the saying was "near impossible."  Our word defines who we are, it is the crux of our existence, it is "I".  It is god...."In the beginning was the word, and word was god..."
  • I honor our commitment to fully understand why we allow certain people into our lives,why we attract certain types of people into our lives and why we have to let go of some people with due deliberation.
         So, I rejoice in the fact that we have chosen to walk an uncommon  road together.  "Word" is the important facet which defines our human journey.  Teilhard de Chardin said it best, "We are spiritual beings having a human experience."  I honor all who have chosen the "road less traveled..."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On Human Indifference . . .

One of Adam's ABR sessions
        Expectations drive our lives.  We expect our actions to produce certain reactions.  Of course, when those actions fail to produce what we need, we experience disappointment, grief and disillusion.
        Sharon's new book, Ceramic to Clay,  seeks to encourage people to understand trauma, to learn about authentic healing, to empower people to embrace their journeys and  to understand their calling at a deeper level.  She wants to share her story with those who have experienced life altering events and with the people and the communities who surround them.  Her expectation seems clear and, hopefully, will be realized.
        My expectations are different.  Given the promotion of the book, articles and photos in our hometown media (where Adam spent his first 21 years), announcements through social networking, I expect a resurgence of humans into Adam's life.  His many classmates and a plethora of teammates, his teachers and therapists, our friends and many family members .  . . I expect them to rush here, to call, to send a card  to celebrate the life of a thriving, joyful friend and relative.  One old friend did immediately visit and it was so good for Adam.  Are my expectations unrealistic or hasty?  Is it because Adam is non-verbal and non-ambulatory?  Are people afraid of a very challenged friend and  don't know what to say or do?  Is it because (12 years ago) many promised to walk by our side for as long as it takes and disappeared?  Do they reject our path and did they hope that we would usher him into an institution?  Will they make up "justification stories" to themselves? Am I wrong to have expectation? Or, is it  simply the plague of indifference?
     "What is indifference? Etymologically, the word means "no difference." A strange and unnatural state in which the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil. What are its courses and inescapable consequences? Is it a philosophy? Is there a philosophy of indifference conceivable? Can one possibly view indifference as a virtue? Is it necessary at times to practice it simply to keep one's sanity, live normally, enjoy a fine meal and a glass of wine, as the world around us experiences harrowing upheavals?
Of course, indifference can be tempting -- more than that, seductive. It is so much easier to look away from victims. It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. It is, after all, awkward, troublesome, to be involved in another person's pain and despair. Yet, for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor are of no consequence. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest. Indifference reduces the Other to an abstraction. ", Elie Wiesel, 1999 (speech in Washington, D.C.)

       So many of our severely challenged children and adults are pure and rich human beings whose lives are often re-defined by the stares, the avoidance, the pity, the indifference of their fellow human beings.  There is no higher place in the universe than that reserved for those who honor the lives and the value of the resilient spirit of the profoundly affected by trauma at birth or by accident.  And, for those who promised to be with the disabled and their caregivers for the "however long it takes" and either passively and indifferently disappear or actively "make up a story" about why they cannot or will not, well, it is not about getting over it, or moving on,  for me it is about confronting  their indifference. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Ceramic To Clay" by Sharon Dzialo

Available for purchase at:
        Sharon Dzialo, Adam's mom (and Phil's wife), has written and published a new book, "Ceramic To Clay".  This is a story of a mother's search for authentic healing for her son and describes the many paths which were taken to help Adam to move progressively toward recovery.  One of the most significant paths includes ABR (Advanced Biomechanical Rehabilitation).  The press release below provides an overview of this journey.
        The book is now available at the (author's site),, and A version on kindle will be available in the near future.
        Also, check out the information at Marcy Marchello's blog: Everyone Outdoors which not only speaks of Sharon's book, but describes great accessible outdoor programs throughout New England.


2010 – New Release Tells Heartbreaking Story of Mother’s Quest for Helping Her Son Heal
Ceramic to Clay: A Mother’s Search for Authentic Healing for Her Severely Brain Injured Son
is released by author Sharon Dzialo
Everything changed when 12-year-old Adam Dzialo nearly drowned, spending more than 20 minutes underwater. The accident transformed him from a healthy, vibrant sports player to a tube-fed, nonverbal and severely traumatized child who screamed without sound and cried without tears. Traditional options such as surgery, medication and therapy of all sorts led not to success but to disappointment. But a meeting with an experienced clairvoyant shows the author a new way to treat her son, opening the family’s minds and hearts to a deeper – and gentler – approach to Adam’s recovery.
Ceramic to Clay tells not only Adam’s story but that of his mother, Sharon, a high school teacher and counselor. She takes charge of her son’s care, and the family transforms its dining room into his bedroom. The early days of recovery prove difficult as Adam’s friends stop visiting, traumatized by his contorting body, and loneliness and depression set in for the whole family. The author realizes that physical healing is just one aspect of the trauma the family faces. As they work with the clairvoyant, getting Adam’s spirit back into his body is the first of many success stories. Sharon also describes his first laugh after the accident and a compassionate aide he works with once back at school.
As Adam’s family continues nontraditional therapies, such as the Japanese healing technique Johrei, which offers healing and spiritual awakening, they open their eyes to other possibilities. Although setbacks occur, eventually they come to realize that circumstances can set them free instead of confining them. For instance, advanced bio-mechanical rehabilitation brings the chance for Adam’s parents to train to perform the manual applications themselves, so no more travel to therapists. The author’s honest telling of her son’s story will resonate long after the last pages of this heartfelt book are read.
For further information contact: Ray Robinson at 317-228-3656, via email at,  or through the website at:

Ceramic to Clay: A Mother’s Search for Authentic Healing for Her Severely Brain Injured Son

Sharon Dzialo
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-160844-758-9             152 pages                                                                                                              US

Available at Ingram,, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The "Safety" Factor...Surviving

       Every organism, from the single cell creature to the multi-cell, complex human, is propelled by the most elemental need: to survive and to be safe.  All needs derive from safety and survival.  To eat and drink, to love and be loved, to understand and to be understood, to possess...these are all higher order needs which insure the safety and survival of the person.
       Parents of children with severe disabilities, brothers and sisters of disabled siblings, parent-caretakers of the elderly live is a state of constant imbalance because they are consumed about issues of safety for their charges and themselves.  Can I do enough?  Can I do what is necessary?  Can I muster the needed resources to make myself and the other safe?  Can I endure this role for months? for years? for a lifetime?  What do we need to do to keep our loved one from those who don't care, safe from predators, safe from the crippling downward spiral of nursing homes and residential facilities.  We have  primal need to be safe to survive and we assume the role of ensuring the safety of those few for whom we really care...we would go to every conceivable extreme to insure the safety and survival of those for whom we care.
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