Saturday, May 7, 2011

Update: 10:00pm on 5/7

Forrest wrestled with his demons yesterday and although it was difficult he won more battles.  He whispered a few words to his speech therapist," I'm alright", the first words anyone's heard in one or two months.  With the aid of his therapist's and a upright walker he walked a few steps, the first he has done in two months.  It was exhausting in his heavy casts on his legs but he made progress.

He is still struggling thru his storms and tremors and sometimes sweating profusely.  He is still being fed thru the stomach tube inserted near his belly button.  He is working on swallowing ice and thicker fluids but while he is improving they are still a struggle.  Some days the margin between exhilaration and despair is very thin.

His dog Sundance, now a certified Therapy Dog, visited him and interacted some. It was a great moment but Forrest was very tired at the end of the day. Sundance decided it was worth the 11 hour trip down just to cuddle up next to Forrest and get a head pat and have Forrest drop a ball for him.

So Sundance and I watch him doze off and I read him some Winnie the Pooh, still a favorite of ours and we hope he has a quiet night.

Dad, Sundance and Team 44

"No sense wishing for what we had, the past is already gone. Let us instead hope for what may be, for tomorrow anything is possible."
Sundance joins Forrest for a session with his therapist.
Forrest dropping a toy for Sundance.
Working with the therapist to learn to make sounds and talk again.


  1. Forrest,
    What a special morning I had today being with all of your Middleburg friends and family and sending waves and smiles to you from the Hill School!! I t was a gorgeous day, made even more special by all of the lovely and caring people that were there because they wanted to help you get better! I hope all of the positive energy that was there today is coming your way and will help put a smile on YOUR face, as well!! It was especially nice finally meeting your handsome brother, Austin..... you are so lucky to have such a special brother. Keep up the great progress ! Fondly, Betsy (Davis)

  2. Forrest

    You continue to impress us all with how hard you battle every day. Since its Mother's Day, I thought it would be a good time to tell you a few things about your Mum.

    You know already how smart and kind she is, always ready with a big smile to brighten your day, even if she might not feel like smiling. She is the most selfless person I've met -- always more worried about others. When you had your accident and this blog began we were updated daily with your progress and with photos of Team 44. Imagine our surprise when we arrive in Atlanta 6 weeks after the accident to find your Mum in a walking boot, having hurt herself just before your accident. Never once would anyone have known she was limping through the vast halls of Shepherd Center for all of those weeks. When asked about her foot, she gave a quick answer and then directed the conversation to other things. Her interest in Tori's health far exceeded any interest she had in talking about herself. When we were gathered at Hill School yesterday to take some pictures for you and Team 44, Austin was there. Your Mum called him while by your side to make sure that he took a moment and thanked everyone for their love and support. She shared news of a smile. Once again, she worries for others in the midst of her own struggles.

    Strength. This is the other word that comes to mind when describing your Mum. I had the chance to talk to Sarah Friday after the Highland-Wakefield Girls Lax game. The first words out of her mouth when I asked about her visit were "Rae is the strongest person I've ever met". She shared that during her and Madison's trip to see you, your Mum had gotten the first 9 hour stretch of sleep since your accident. For the past four months she has tirelessly watched over you while also dealing with the logistics of setting up camp 600 miles from home. She and your Dad have worked constantly with the medical staff and your therapists to make sure that you were receiving the best treatment possible each and every day. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the fact that she is also running her business at the same time.

    Faithful. Every day she rises and embarks on her day expecting the best. Her ability to radiate positive energy day in and day out regardless of what happened, or didn't happen, the day before is unparalleled. Don't get me wrong, Forrest. Her positive energy does not mean she doesn't despair -- she does. No mother could watch her child suffer as you have and still do and not despair. She simply refuses to allow those moments to over take her or you. She battles those demons, locks them away, and comes to you each day expecting you to speak to her and one day rise again and walk out of Shepherd.

    I think Sarah's final quote sums your Mum up the best. "She's AMAZING".

    Happy Mother's Day

    Love the Selfes

  3. Love that he's got his own dog, certified.

  4. Keep up the good work Forrest.

    Happy Mothers Day to one of the worlds greatest and most dedicated Moms.

  5. The fringe tree which Rae and Forrest planted for Mother's Day at our farm to honor Oliver and Isabelle's Grammy is blooming again on a special day of reflection. Rae, know that all here are thinking of you with admiration of your incredible strength. You are an inspiration and role model for us all!

    Yesterday, we experienced a wonderful gathering of some of your vast array of supporters, including Riley, Forrest's horse! Look for the photo and videos to appear soon. We hope you all enjoy them and can feel the love with which they were created! We also encourage other photos or videos taken at other locations to be sent and shared!
    The greatest news is that Forrest's voice is again being heard and with that his smiling face will be enjoyed by all those who care so deeply about him.
    Love to you all! The Nettere Family, Julie, Eric, Oliver, and Izzi

  6. Happy Mother's Day Rae! I'm sorry I was out of town and unable to be at photoshoot but am sure it was spectacular. And to know there are so many more who couldn't be there sending their love, prayers and support. You are truly amazing and inspiring and loved by many.


  7. The Marshall FamilyMay 8, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    To Team 44 and that most special Mother who is an inspiration to us all: We are so happy to see the progress. While it seems slow, for those of us not there, it also seems steady. We don't live the valleys and the peaks as you do but see the forward progression in what you share. Our thoughts and prayers continue unabated. We are so happy to see Sundance join Forrest - he will be a comfort, companion and a key member of Team 44 making a difference. Rae, On this Mother's day, know that you are loved, supported and cared for by so many. You have such unbounded love, strength, focus and unbounded energy. In addition to all of us, we know the most important people in the world to you feel the same. Forrest, Your amazing will, spirit, persistence and love for your mother comes through.
    Love from the Marshall's

  8. Hi Forrest, WOW! What a day you had yesterday! You spoke a few words, took a few steps and got to see Sundance! How wonderful! I knew you could do it!!!!! You are one determined MAN, and with parents and a brother like you have, I'm not at all surprised at how you struggle to do your very best every day.

    Rae, my heart goes out to you! You have kept such a good outlook during all of this, I am just amazed at how you just keep going, topping even the Energizer Bunny!

    Kent, your traveling back and forth to the hospital on weekends, while attending to your business during the weeks is so tiring in itself. But, you always work to hold Forrest's spirits high every time you are there.

    Austin, if I'm ever sick or hurt, I want YOU in my corner! You have been wonderful! No brother could give more of himself than you have!

    May God Bless you all as you work with Forrest.

    Love, Joyce and Wilbur Ellis

  9. I think the meaning of Forrest's first words, "I'm alright", is profound.


  10. Dear Forrest,

    I'm so happy to hear you were able to speak!!! We are so glad you are alright!! We are praying you will feel more and more alright each passing day!!! Hang in there!! You are amazing and so loved!

    Happy Mother's Day Aunt Rae! You are an amazing mum!! WE love you too!

    Kelly, Brad, Ava and Chase:)

  11. It's amazing the progress Forrest has already made at the Shepperd Center!!! Sounds like he is back on the mend. Rae is such a wonderful mother, Austin is an amazing brother and Dr. Allen (it's hard to call you Kent since you were always Dr. Allen to me since I knew you when I was a kid :) ), I can't imagine how hard it is for you to have to leave each time you are there and travel back and forth every time you get the chance. Forrest and Austin are so lucky to have a father as loving and dedicated as you are. Happy Mother's Day Rae. You truly are an awesome Mom!

    Christie Jones

  12. I never get through your posts without tears.

    Tears of gratitude that you heard Forrest's voice, joy that you watched Forrest take a few steps. How hugely reassuring both of these accomplishments, however brief, must be for your family.

    My heart is heavy with compassion about what you must endure as you watch your precious boy struggle through storms, weakness and weight loss, and yet still strive to respond. I can only imagine what you must feel.

    Jim and I attended a wedding of the daughter of dear friends on Saturday evening. I looked at that sweet young couple, and while I wish only good things for them, I know that life will likely provide its share of challenges. The celebrant reminded them (and us) that Christ asks us to love each other as he loves us. This is not a light request. He gave his life for us.

    Your example of the same, extraordinary sacrificial love for your son strengthens my faith.

    Please know that Jim and I pray for you both daily.

    It felt so good to give your handsome son Austin a tight hug on Saturday. I tried to squeeze in all of our prayers for your strength of spirit and dearest hopes that Forrest will continue his upward climb from the abyss.

    So much love to your awesome family,

  13. Forrest,
    So glad Sundance could visit and be part of your progress. I know he misses you.

  14. I saw Austin on Saturday in front of the post office. He recognized me first, smiling and waving...not having the eyes I used to, I said "Austin?" I then hugged him and told him i was going to cry. He chatted with me for quite a while giving me the latest updates with such compassion and poise. You should be so proud, as I know you are. The fact that Forrest whispered "I'm alright" is such a breakthrough! I know you know he is in there. Patience. I just wish he didn't have to suffer through the horrendous storms and swallowing would come easier so that he could eat proper food. Love and hugs Team thoughts move to Forrest every day! Love Barbara Riddleberger and the gang at Rabbit Hill

  15. Well Forrest, I too am taken with your first words - how, in keeping with your manner, they were so considerate of others in terms of letting them know you are ok, and how they show a clear sense of what you were feeling. While I am not a doc, to me those two small words reveal both compassion for others and awareness of self - incredibly important attributes for us in our lifetimes. I was also taken by your concentration and focus shown in the pictures of you with Sundance and with your therapist. She looks so kind. It would seem there is much to hope for in the time ahead-I'm glad. We all hope that your time continues to be marked with accomplishments and progress and that you continue to find the strength and the courage you need, with the help of all who care so much about you and from deep within. Much love from myself, George, Greg, Kevin and Christopher. --Lisa

  16. Forrest,

    Just to let you that we have been thinking about you.

    My parents sends their love to you and your Mom, Dad and brother.
    My apologies for them not blogging, i have to show them first on how to do this, they are old school, but lovely people. LOL

    Love you all!
    Hazel, James and Rebekah