leslie juvin-acker rabbit rescue

PART 1: How The Emotional Overwhelm of Rescuing An Orphaned Bunny Taught Me Empathy of A Father’s Journey To Save His Dying Son

emotional overwhelm instagramLast week was quite a week emotional overwhelm. I appreciate many of your on Facebook and Instagram messages giving encouragement of our bunny rescue story. And, I received a message from Ary on Instagram asking why situation happened to me and what the rabbit symbolized in my life right now. Here’s the story…

My husband, Franck, and children found a newborn bunny in our garden right next to our vegetable garden. I did my best to rescue it and was taken on a journey that awakened me to empathy and understanding.

Let me start where it all began.

Walking Off Emotional Overwhelm

The week before, I experienced a general sadness all about my chest area. I couldn’t see to shake it, no matter what energy work I did. Well, more accurately, with every step I took, I revealed more and more personal hang ups that were waiting to be resolved. The emotional overwhelm was manageable, but was lingering.

To balance this energy, I spent as much of my time as possible in the garden. Raking, mulching, trimming, weeding. I chose to get ready for spring while getting lots of sun. And, mindful physical work always seems to balance the emotional overwhelm that was percolating under the surface of my psyche. I found the “walking meditations” I call them relaxing. My “walking meditations” are much akin to the Buddhist monks who spend their days cleaning and tidying their monastery.

I make myself useful, I focus on what I want, and stay out of the way of people so that I at least don’t make a menace out of myself. 

Last Friday, I was in the midst of my walking meditation. A quiet, yet powerful way to reconnecting with nature, I felt this energy burn a hole in my heart. I felt as if my entire chest cavity was open, gaping in a dark smut. As I pushed through my garden gates, I said to Franck, “I feel this hollow, sad feeling in my chest. I wonder what that is…” I soon found out why…

The Love of A Father Powers Through Emotional Overwhelm

When I finished my garden work, I sat down at my computer to finish the day with work. I opened linked in with a message from my friend of over 17 years Ron and high school mentor that said,

“I don’t mean to put this on you…”

“Call me as soon as you can with my phone number,” I immediately responded.

He called me. His son, my dear friend, Jhaysonn who has battled Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma since 2009 now has bronchiolitis obliterans which is shutting down his lungs. Jhaysonn has 16% lung capacity right now. And, as a devoted father, Ron and his wife have focused their entire lives on the care of their son who is uninsurable.

jhaysonn pathak non-hodgkins lymphoma

Click on this image of Jhaysonn to support his fundraising goal to extend his life

Ron and his wife, Theresa’s level of emotional overwhelm was only something I could imagine. Like Ron, I love my children more than anything. Thanks to them, I have broken through old patterns and limiting beliefs of my parents and their parents. Through our children, we grow into adults.

Ron and I spoke to discuss what was happening. I could hear the voice of a desperate father, leaning on God and the kindness of friends and strangers to help him save his beloved son. I could hear the years of emotional overwhelm, the roller coaster of emotions, and the general fatigue in his voice. But what does a parent do when they are motivated more by love than they are by the fear of losing his son to cancer? They keep going. They shed everything and, with laser focus, go into doing what he can with no shame and full abandon. This time, Ron is raising funds to get Jhaysonn the care he needs

When A Military Explosion Nearly Killed Ron’s Son

But, the tragedy doesn’t stop there. Ron’s other son, Matthew, was in the Fort Bragg explosion in September 2017. Matthew is now living with a traumatic brain injury where they had to remove shrapnel from his parietal lobe in the brain and cut an 8×3″ piece of his skull away to relieve any brain swelling issues.

As I write, Matthew is in the Polytrauma unit. His wife, Leilani, is in medical school up north and can only visit her husband occasionally or face expulsion from the program. Ron travels between both sons. The emotional overwhelm left Ron with a collapsed lung.

I could only imagine how Ron felt. I don’t have sick children. They are perfectly healthy with their entire lives ahead of them. I myself was sick with depression and anxiety, but I pulled through. I couldn’t fully understand how Ron felt to live with emotional overwhelm everyday.

Finding An Abandoned Baby

newborn bunny cold rescue

Two days later, Franck and I sat on our back patio to admire our back hill and the beautiful landscaping we installed the previous day. I excused myself to use the restroom and told him to stay put as he has a tendency to wander around doing chores. (We’re working on his relaxation skills)

When I returned from the bathroom, I saw my two children and Franck huddled around, looking at something on the ground.

“What is that?” I asked.

“It’s something dead. I almost stepped on it when I saw a stray rabbit in the garden that looked like Pepper (our rabbit who ran away two weeks before),” Franck said as he searched for a spade to bury it.

“Let me hold it,” I said, “Give me a paper towel, please.”

Franck gave me a paper towel and I held the cold, unidentifiable baby in my hands.

“He’s breathing, Mommy!” my daughter, The Bean, said.

“Oh, I don’t know, honey,” I told her. Let’s see.

As I held the baby in my hands, it warmed up, and suddenly, my children and I witnessed a giant gasp.

“It’s alive!” we all exclaimed.

Continue The Story – Read Part 2

Leslie Juvin-Acker

Leslie Juvin-Acker is Chief Happiness Officer of Leslie Inc. Since 2008, she has been coaching executives and business leaders all over the world. She is an expert in emotional intelligence and helps professionals tap into their own imagination to find solutions for personal and professional happiness.

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