Sunday, November 20, 2011

Update: Sunday, 11/20/11

Latest news from NRH:

Written by Tom Sweitzer, his mentor and music therapist:

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the experience I am having with Forrest and his family. Today we spent a couple hours playing music and sitting out in the sun with a beautiful breeze in our faces. I am thankful for Michael Ferster, Delilah Ohrstrom, and Brittany Horkan, and Debbie Sharples for selling Forrest hats at the Hill School.

It takes a lifetime to understand that the smallest things can make you the most grateful. Today, after hours of connecting with Forrest with little response, Rae and I took him back inside. While in his room we stretched him out and breathed a lot, Somewhere in the recesses of his brain there is life, a vibrant power ready to tell us his pain, his joy, his words. No sound came out, but for that moment, it seemed that in his mind he was making words. For at least twenty seconds he moved his mouth in formations that looked like WORDS! For that brief amount of time the world stops, and a mother unlike any I have ever seen before says, “Yes, Forrest! You are doing it!” The belief of a mother is enough for any of us to survive, to grow, to decide to keep going on. I am taken aback with every visit I have with this family. That my worries of everyday life pale in comparison to the everyday mountain they climb.

Forrest has a light and a spirit about him that reminds me that we are all lucky to be in his presence. That life is about the small victories. I sang the “Thanksgiving song” that we sing every year at The Hill School. I could tell he knew this song and that years of his life came back to him. Music is the substance of memory and recall. I am only on this journey with Forrest and am learning with him what music can do, but what is clear to me is the power of love that I see in his family is true Music, more than music, it’s God.

Forrest needs music and laughter in his life to heal. Please send as many funny jokes, pictures, You-tube sites as soon as you can. For all of Forrest’s friends if you have a moment make the funniest video messages you can to say hi to him, post them to the Friends of Forrest facebook group. He will remember you. Happy Thanksgiving Forrest!!!!


  1. What a beautiful tribute to Forrest and his relentlessly hopeful family!

    This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for so many answered prayers on behalf of Forrest and now I can add you to the list.

    Thank you, bless you for making the time to connect Forrest to his musical past and treasured days at Hill. As Tom Northrup reminds me, our children spend 9 years attending this magical school - half of Forrest's life to date. That you give this gift of your time to nurture these memories is HUGE.

    I believe with you that Forrest is in there and is trying so hard to communicate. I'm thankful your efforts yesterday were rewarded with such extraordinary evidence of Forrest's awareness and effort.

    And I believe with you that you what you see in this special family is evidence of God. That by day, God directs his immense love for Forrest and at night, his song is with Forrest - a prayer to the God of his life. (Psalm 42:8)

    Tom, you ROCK!

    Love to you and this spectacular boy and his family.

    "It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception." (When asked about his theory of relativity) - Albert Einstein

  2. That was a lovely musical message. I have always loved music too and believe it is powerful stuff. Keep up the good work. I think it is so great you got moved back to your room and Austin even took you to the garden. It was so special for me to be able to see you recently. I had wanted to do that for a long time and am so thankful I was finally was able to get back there. Hope you can feel the love sent across the miles. And my prayers for you continue always....

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to Forrest and all of Team 44. I had the privilege of visiting Forrest on Tuesday with my daughter Mikk. I was nervous about visiting, not knowing what to expect but what I found left me in awe,with hope and deeply humbled. Forrest is definitely in there. I only got to see a small slice of life for team Forrest but it was enough to witness the devotion and care that Forrest has. His Doctors are caring and treat him with the utmost respect. Maylin is an absolute treasure. Austin and Forrest have an incredible bond. Forrest looks amazing. He has excellent color, his skin is healthy, he has a bit of "meat on his bones". His face looks rosy and full. He looks comfortable, he does not appear to be in pain. When his eyes track, they are full of attention and interest. Especially if it is a pretty girl. He rolled his eyes when I started to talk to him about politics and the economy. I don't think that was my imagination.... Mikk talked to Forrest about school, her equestrian team, Middleburg, Foxcroft and friends. She showed him pictures and videos and read from Facebook.

    There was a big rainstorm outside and it was dark and very windy. But in Forrest's room, it felt cozy and full of love. It felt safe. I couldn't take my eyes off of the incredible bond between Austin and Forrest. I know NRH hospital is a long way from the farm but I feel all the love and energy in that room as if it were home. Forrest, we have so much to be thankful for, keep up the good work. I feel your determination.


    Abby Laughlin

  4. It is often the small things that we take for granted and for which we can be most thankful. Each small improvement, each experience that Forrrst shares, each effort that he makes are really miraculous, glorious moments in his journey. I know his brain is taking in all of the stimuli that all of you are providing and he is making sense of it all, categorizing and cataloging these new experiences with his knowledge and memories.

    Baby Sheridan is six months old today, Thanksgiving Day 2011, and we are captivated by her relentless efforts to touch everything, move everywhere, and express her thoughts aloud. Although she cannot yet speak many words, we know it is all in there and that it will come out eventually. We feel so strongly that it is much the same for Forrest, except that he has much richer texture and depth to his knowledge and memory, of course. His healing is taking time, much more time than we all want, but we know it is happening minute by minute.

    We are thankful for the modern medical marvels that have brought Forrest this far and for the strong love and bonds of family and friends that are sustaining the faith. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

    Diane, Jay, and family