Sunday, July 10, 2011

Update: 3:20pm on 6/10

Hey Forrest, it's your Mum. I write mostly to you in our daily journals, and a lot of what I write is just between us. But the blog is a crucial lifeline to your extended family & it's important to share your journey here too. It's been almost six months since your accident and it breaks my heart to think of where you should be today and what you have been through. So instead we focus on where we are now and what we've got to do to get you back.

I love our early mornings together. Before the numerous doctors, nurses, aides, and therapists descend on you, we have our private time together. I like to be the one to wake you, to remind you where you are, how you got here. I reassure you every morning that you're in a safe place. While we stretch and move your arms and legs, we count our many blessings. First that you're alive, that you are young and strong and resilient. That we have such incredible support. That your brother, Austin, is your unwavering champion, your father, "Pops" your strongest advocate, your friends are true, that they are here for you. Our extended family, friends and community are all pulling and praying for you. We wash your face and brush your teeth. We practice swallowing. Then I get a picture off the wall, one your friend Georgia sent that captures your sparkle and charismatic smile. She wrote "Shine On" in bold letters across the top. I hold this picture in front of you along with a mirror. We look at the picture together and I describe your smile, your “sparkle” to you. I place my hand over your heart and assure you that your sparkle is still there. It's just trapped inside right now and we have to work to let it shine again. Smiling and talking are really quite complex. It takes lots of coordinated nerves and muscles, and sometimes a lot of effort. You know how to work hard, Forrest. You can do this. Find your voice, your sparkle, your crazy joyful sense of humor. It's all still there and we are all here to help you find yourself again.

I'm going to be away on business for a few days. It's hard to leave your side. But I know you are in the best of hands. Austin knows everything you need and is a master at bringing together the cadre of caregivers on your team. Your Pops has your back and will do whatever it takes to keep you safe. Aunt Lynn will help Austin & Pops, keep all the wheels turning & her positive energy will light up your room! Your friends will chip in, bringing their smiles and stories of home to encourage you. It's awesome to see them gathered around your bed, providing a much needed break from the endless hospital routine and quietly infusing your days with youthful optimism.

You have a lot of important work to do, Forrest. So while I'm away remember, hold your head up proudly. You are a fighter, a man of character and strength, a champion in my eyes.

With Love and Gratitude to Team Forrest,



  1. Forrest remains a champion in our eyes too! While we haven't written much lately you remain in our thoughts and prayers. We pray believing in your healing and can't wait to see it manifest itself. Blessings to you.

    Shine on!!
    Donna Barkley, Owen Looney et al.

  2. We're still praying for you, Forrest. Keep up the good work! I just know that one day soon, you'll find that sunny smile again. I understand that your Aunt Lynn is back with you, and your Dad and Austin, of course. I'm sure you'll have a very busy week, and I hope it's a fun week, too. Take good care of yourself and your team.

    Love and Prayers,

    Wilbur and Joyce

  3. Keep up the great work, Forrest!

  4. My thoughts continue to be with Forrest and all in his family. Although I do not post much, I always read the blog, as do many people at Hill. We are all full of admiration for Forrest's courage and the extraordinary dedication and love of his friends and family. So there continues to be much positive energy sent your way, and you are an inspiration.

  5. I love your tender comments, Rae. I can feel the sunshine in your morning routine. Forrest is in safe hands in your absence and he will have a busy week of progress that will surprise and delight you upon your return. He has always loved giving you surprises:).

    We're thinking of you, Forrest, and know that you, Austin, Kent, Lynn, your friends, and all the doctors, nurses, therapists, cooks, and bottlewashers with whom you come in contact every day will have a GREAT week. 'Sending hugs all around.

    Diane & Jay (traveling with Rae this week)

  6. Cindy Reynolds, UVAJuly 11, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Rae, It must be so hard to leave Forrest's side this week, but you will come back with renewed vigor to his side. My thoughts are with you this week while you're traveling on business. I hope you get some deeply restorative sleep in between your other activities - while Forrest's team concentrates on his welfare.

  7. What a lovely post, Rae. Team 44 is lucky to be composed of the most tenacious, hopeful, brave and loving people in the world. Your team can achieve anything. Thoughts and prayers always. Stay strong.
    With love,
    Gail (Wofford)

  8. Dear Rae,
    The Hasse family, especially Katie and myself, have been following the blog and sending our prayers to Austin and to your entire family. I am amazed and heartened by your strength and Austin's courage.
    Lula sends her love to all of you and is praying for Forrest and hoping to see him soon.
    With love from all of us,
    Vicki Hasse

  9. Hi Forrest,

    You truly are a hero to us all! You amaze me so much with your big heart and courage in spite of all you have been through! You have such an amazing mum, dad, brother and Team 44 behind you!

    Sending you a virtual hug over this blog and offering up a prayer full of hope and healing.

    We love you!
    kelly and Family

  10. Thank you for the updates. There are a lot of us who check this blog to see how Forrest is doing even if we do not post comments. We pray for you all and wish you strength, joy, love, happiness, and health.

    Christie Jones

  11. I so love reading your posts Rae.

    Thinking of you all and Forrest often.

    James, Hazel and Rebekah