Saturday, April 9, 2011

Update: 10:15pm on 4/9

Hey buddy, it's your brother Austin. It's hard following an amazing update like the one Mom wrote a night or so ago, she's an amazing Mother, steady as a rock and even more loving than, well... a Mom can be.

Your friends at Mercersberg made an amazing video of tons of friends wishing you well and waiting to make more memories with you. I'm looking forward to showing it to you in the days ahead. I heard a rumor his Highland buddies made one for you as well... looking forward to that too. Additionally, a number of friends have made audio and video clips for you on the voicethread your Aunt Lynn put together, and I more are planning on it (instructions in previous updates).

You're continuing to be a little more awake each day. Today you're tracking more with your eyes and watching tv for brief periods. You're still not consistently following commands, but that will come (you never were good at that beforehand, especially not from your big bro). I know the neurological "storms" that you're still battling must be frustrating, but hopefully they will decrease soon. Your Extra Ventricular Drain will be coming out tomorrow, then your incision from the "lid" removal can fully heal. You have amazing doctors and nurses, even though I'm sure you think they wait till you're finally asleep to turn or tinker with you. Outside of the medical team, you have a truly remarkable network of friends and family supporting you and lifting up the rest of us in Atlanta. Just today I skyped with DQB, they send their love to you and the dolphins can't wait to see you again.

As I'm sitting here by your bedside watching you sleep (I promise its not creepy, really), I started thinking about all the amazing times we've had exploring together. A specific memory kept coming back. A few summers ago when we were diving off the coast of Hawaii, having a grand time exploring the reef, at about 60' in depth we came to a small crevice in the reef. It was just a small hole in a large brain coral colony with a few red squirrel fish hanging by the entrance. You looked at me and before I even gave you a response you were unclipping your BCD and sliding out of it. Breathing from your regulator and pushing your tank in front of you, you shimmied your way through the hole and disappeared. I was shocked and amazed you'd made it, so I took off my gear, shoved it before me, and followed you in. Once inside we settled onto the sand and looked around. Small rays of light shimmered from tiny holes in the vaulted ceiling of the lava rock cave, dancing over us and illuminating the darkness. We spent a few minutes in this surreal hideaway, the ocean's comforting and enveloping silence only interrupted by our exhalations of bubbles. Back on board the dive boat, we were grinning from ear-to-ear, knowing what we just experienced was too hard to explain, so we just kept it to ourselves.
It's this same ear-to-ear grin and fearless attitude that's going to allow you to take on and overcome the challenges ahead of you. You're a fighter through and through. Many days will be full of achievements, and I'll be by your side to help you through the harder days. I'll follow you into a dimly lit cave any day. As Mom said, we can do this.

Austin and Team Forrest

Forrest in a different cave


  1. What a great update, Austin! That is very interesting, especially to those of us who have never had the opportunity to dive. I'm afraid I wouldn't have had the nerve to go into ANY tiny hole!

    I've been praying that everything continues to go well,Forrest, as you continue to wake up from your last surgery. God be with you and your wonderful Team 44!

    Love, Joyce and Wilbur Ellis

  2. Hi, Austin,
    Great post. You are the uber-older brother. Clearly you know that you are on another dive with Forrest, navigating different circumstances, but you will go where he goes, no matter how choppy the water. Oh, the grins you will have when you are both "back on board."

    I am sorry that you have not already received the Highland video. We created a private youtube viewing site, and emailed the link to your mom. Is there a better way to get to get it you? Please let me know and I will send it off in a jiffy.
    Sally Pont

  3. Another example of Forrest's strength, confidence, and adventurous attitude. You both seem to love to explore and learn. I anticipate reading of future adventures.

  4. Austin, what you had to say about your Mom's previous post was all about the love you and your whole family have to share, and the love that cradles Forrest on his path back. I'm a friend of your Aunt Tricia's, and happy to say that I am also a friend and supportive member of the whole group following Forrests recovery. Stay strong and loving.....Laura Z.

  5. Dear Forrest,
    I can only hope that someday you will have the opportunity to understand what an amazing family you have. I have been in awe of the love , courage andstrength that all of your family have shown in such stressful times. It is a true lesson to us all that love and courage can conquer all. You are truly blessed to have a world of family and friends praying for you. Best wishes for the days ahead
    Paula Horne

  6. Forrest, I wrote a couple of days ago that you couldn't have a better mum. Now I am writing to say that you certainly couldn't have a better brother either. Austin, what you wrote is just beautiful. I imagine perhaps Forrest feels very much like he is in an underwater cave of sorts at the moment. With you by his side, he is sure to resurface once again. And I know how grateful he will be to have his brother and friend waiting at the top. I have one sister and she is my best friend - I can only begin to know what it feels like to experience what you have since Forrest's accident but I know with certainty that your caring, courage, and commitment to Forrest is key in his recovery. With you and the rest of his Team by his side, I am also certain that you all not only can but will do this. Sending big hugs to all of you, Lisa S.

  7. The Elgins all love u and want u home...

  8. Dear Austin and Team 44,

    Thanks for sharing that amazing adventure with us. I found myself holding my breath until you two resurfaced! Your style of writing is fantastic--I hope you have plans to write a book someday.

    We want you to know how humbling and heartwarming it is to feel the close bond you have with your brother and your family--your grace, kindness and dedication to Forrest's well-being are very touching.

    From Pony Club days, I knew we could always count on Austin Allen to "do the right thing". You have always been wise beyond your years. Your courage, strength, commitment and resolve have been especially evident over these last several weeks--you are an amazing person and we are blessed to know you. We appreciate that you are there, helping with Forrest's recovery and continuing to be a source of strength and inspiration to your family and to all of us.

    You are in our thoughts and prayers every day.

    Maggie, Christina and Antonio

  9. Austin...what an incredible post.

    Your selfless devotion to helping your brother find his way to the surface is a moving and powerful love to witness. Thank you for allowing us to hear your voice.

    We are praying for you, your incredible parents, and precious Forrest daily....hourly at times.

    We pray that this week continues to bring the gift of progress - however incremental - to Forrest and your great family.

    Shannon et al. XO

    I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three. ~Author Unknown

  10. Hey Forrest,
    Just wanted to give you a totally different update and light reading for you and your family...from the OCH that hunting season is over(bummer) we are in steeplechase season in VA, which I am a huge fan of. I'm sure you have been to a few races, hopefully more than just Gold Cup. The grass is super green, it was 75 perfect degrees today. Last Sunday was the Final Dinner, at the kennels, and a goodbye for Jason & Suzie. Jason was given a silver horn and immediately blew a fantastic "Gone Away". Everyone cheered. Dorothy and I bartended, which we are also doing at the Puppy Show on Friday. We are a bar tending machine. The OCH Races saw great weather, racing and great tailgating.
    One of the last days of hunting, we had a run through Brightwood. I also hacked back through there with a couple of people. I somehow end up as the "get back to the meet guide" and get 10 gates on the way. I love knowing the countryside, tho. I remember the first day you and your mom hunted with OCH. Your mom was on Finn, and she went around the meet, smiling and saying good morning, and asked me a couple times, who else to I need to say good morning to? I would point someone out and she would ride away,with you following, sort of slouching in your jacket and turtleneck. Every time you and Austin would come hunting, I was so proud of my Pony Clubbers and their mom, having a good old time galloping around. What a wonderful part of Middleburg and OCH you all are.
    Love, Kristin