Monday, April 2, 2012

Update: Monday, April 2, 2011

We have made it safely to National Rehabilitation Hospital and are gearing up for the next chapter in your journey, Forrest. Today we begin again. Although you are still battling the side effects of your last surgery, and struggling with the demons that plague your body, your spirit is strong. Somehow, in spite of all your travails, you still keep trying. You can still smile.

So much love surrounds you, Forrest. Our nurse left yesterday in tears after watching your brother take care to help you stand. Austin is always there for you encouraging you, helping you find your new equilibrium. As you struggle to hold your head up again, he injects humor into your hard work and makes you smile. Your father has your back, physically, emotionally and medically. With an amazing balance of strength and tenderness, he is your champion. Maylin, your teacher and gentle caregiver, shares her many talents and unshakable optimism with all of us. Your friends still send cheerful video messages, texts and call to check in on you. You light up when you hear their voices. Their endless faith infuses our daily lives with energy and hope. Your nurses from home insist on spending time with you, keeping their all night vigil by your bedside. They keep you safe, and celebrate your every victory. The nurses, therapists, and doctors at NRH welcomed you back with open arms and hearts.

It is early Monday morning. I am watching you sleep. Listening to Robyn Spielburg's piano on Pandora with you as the unit comes to life. As we face this next chapter together, I pray that you will find some relief from the dystonia that torments you. That you continue to feel the love and faith that enfolds you. That your body will embrace your new prosthetic and allow your tortured brain to blossom and heal. I pray that you will find your voice and once again be able to share your thoughts & feelings with us. A mother 's prayer for you, Forrest.

Okay, now it is time to shake off sleep, recite our many blessings together, and tackle this day. We will make the most of today and every day we are blessed with. As your friends like to remind you, if anyone can do this, YOU can. You ARE "The Come Back Kid"!

With love, faith, and determination,


Forrest standing tall this weekend for the first time since surgery.


  1. Rae, What a stunning letter to Forrest. I can only imagine how touched he will be to read these posts and comments at a later time. Standing tall is an understatement--he towers over the rest of the family!!I'm hoping and praying that Forrest will be home soon, where he can REALLY make further progress surrounded by family, friends, and gorgeous Brightwood and environs.
    Stay strong.
    Much love, Gail(Wofford)

  2. I like to imagine this picture with Kent and Rae cropt out and Austin comes in and puts on a slow jam like Rod Stewart "Have I told you Lately" and begins to slow dance with Forrest and looks into his eyes just like how he is in the picture. And Forrest of course refuses to make eye contact and stares at the floor because he feels very awkward and doesn't understand why Austin would want to slow dance.

    Atleast that's what I see in the picture

    Travis L

  3. Rae...what a beautiful post of confidence and a family's love. We are righty there with you and appreciate the blog posts you continue to share. And that picture is MOST impressive of you standing tall Forrest. I LIKE it. And the book of Forrest and Family continues...getting closer to that final success chapter all the time.

  4. Forrest, you are looking great! And, very, very tall!! It's so wonderful to see you standing again, and as always, your family is right there helping you. You all just amaze me at how you just keep going, and making progress all the time!

    Love and Prayers,

    Joyce and Wilbur

  5. Forrest, I am so happy to see you doing so well. You look great! There are many of us that have been following the blog the whole time even if we have not posted anything in a while. You look so much healthier from when you initially left the hospital to go home. The support you have is unbelievable and I wish you a speedy recovery so you can finally move on from this and start enjoying the rest of your life. You have so many wonderful things ahead of you and you deserve every one of them.

    Christie Jones

  6. You are amazing! Right back to work that soon after surgery...woooooeeeee!

    We admire you, pray for you, cheer for you and your wonderful family, every day and every minute! Caroline and Sajen were very happy to see Sundance on Sunday and know you'll soon be able to join them in enjoying the great outdoors. We'll bring the tennis balls! I'll send the photos soon!

    Keep up the great strides you are making. Sometimes I am sure progress feels slow, but it is still progress, and thats what matters!!!

    Carina, Caroline, Sajen
    and all the other Elgins

  7. So good to see you standing Forrest! Rae, your post is so touching and I admire you as a mom so much! Chase has been sick and it's so hard for me, but nothing compared to what you are going through. Your optimism and strength and most of all LOVE is inspiring! God bless you all and we are praying for you all.

    kelly and family

  8. Dear Forrest. Austin, Rae, and Kent,
    Your family picture is wonderful. We are relieved to hear that Forrest is back at NRH. We take that as a good sign that everything has settled down into a forward progress mode. We know that these next few weeks will bring challenges but, barring complications from the surgery, we know Forrest can meet the challenges. You are all surrounded by love from so many sources. We are always cheering you on, Forrest, and looking forward to calmer days ahead as spring unfolds bringing new growth, hope, and renewal.
    Diane & Jay

  9. Gee Forrest
    Looking at you standing so tall. You are a tall drink of water. You have an amazing team around you. Sooner than you think, you will be home at the farm.

    I see you standing in the aisle of the barn. That wonderful mixture of smells wafting around. Straw, leather and that perfect horse smell. It is a perfect mixture of scents. Shafts of sunlight streaking through the air, glinting off speckles of straw and dust that hover around magically. Like pixy dust for those in the horse world. It is a magical place, the barn. It is a place we reach out to equine giants and connect with them at a different level. There are levels of trust that must be earned before anyone can stand at the withers of an animal that towers over most of us. A thousand pounds of animal Forrest. An animal that you have connected with. A connection that you feel from the tips of your toes as you push down into metal stirrups and feel through your thighs, up to the fingers that lightly hold the reins, to your head that looks forward to the next jump. The next jump is just ahead Forrest. Coming through the shadows of the trees, the vines that hang down, branches that jut out along the path and just ahead another jump over a downed tree. Just ahead Forrest, the next jump...get ready, it is coming and your are connected in so many ways, you are connected. Feel the power you have, the rocking of Riley's shoulders and his breath strong and pure. The power is in you. Stay strong Forrest,
    love Aunt Tricia

  10. Granma Norma AllenApril 3, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Hi Forrest; Granma Norma here. Just lost nice long note I wroteti you. haha Wow, I'll bet you are busy in your first day of therapy. My favorite picture is - you standing with Austin, your parents all lending their very loving help in case you need it. You are so super, doing so much since your surgery, not even two weeks ago. You are fantastic and so brave; you deserve A Gold Medal that's for sure. Love you Forrest.Keep it up.Granma Norma

  11. GRANMA NORMA ALLENApril 3, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Here we go - sending note third time. With all you are accomplishing: standing; soom you'll be walking :)! You are a real power house. And you deserve a GOLD MEDAL for sure. Think Austin deserves one too! Don't know when I've seen suvh brotherly devotion.

    Moved now to NRH, you will be showing them all the courage, strength and will power you have to get the things donethey are asking of you!!
    Love you so much. Granma Norma

  12. Can a person look up while looking down?

    Forrest, you can.

    This picture of you is precious to me. You are looking up at your absolute rock of a brother while looking down on him from your full height.

    A glorious sight!

    This special holy week, I'm thinking a great deal about sacrifice, resurrection and deep, abiding, powerful love.

    Forrest, you are surrounded by love. I know you feel it.

    Your sacrifices have been extraordinary as have those of your indomitable parents and your devoted brother.

    You stand on the rock, Forrest. The rock of your family, your medical team, your Hill School family, your friends, your entire home town. And we all stand on the rock of the ultimate Healer.

    Forrest, the footing is solid. Have no fear. Our faith in you is solid. Keep your own faith, precious boy. Lean on ours when needed.

    I pray that you are on the brink of resurrecting your life, your health, your future. We echo your mother's beautiful prayer that your beleaguered brain find its balance in the cocoon your surgeon has painstakingly resurrected.

    We thinking of you, Forrest, every single day, and offering up a prayer of thanksgiving for your safe deliverance from surgery thus far, and a fervent request for your continued progress and healing.

    Feeling oh so hopeful this Easter week, dear one.

    Much love,
    The Davis Family (Jim, Shannon, Meg, Kara and Charlotte xoxo)

  13. Forrest, Rae, Kent and Austin,

    Easter brings HOPE. As an ever growing Team 44 group of supporters, we provide unending prayers and best wishes for all of you. May God provide the strength, healing and continued love needed to successfully reach the end of this long journey.

    Amazing the recovery we can see in the pictures you have posted and the visuals we can conjure from the wonderful postings that you so thoughtfully allow us to enjoy. I am so thrilled to see how far Forrest has come in a few weeks.

    My prayers for continued improvement, forward movement only - no setbacks. The struggle has been long, the dedication unbending, may the reward be yours as Forrest continues to get stronger and healthier. I will pray that he will soon find his voice - I am sure he has so much to say to you, his loving family.

    God Bless you all.


  14. You're looking SO good Forrest -- it won't be long now before your buddies return from school and you can fist pump, nerf throw, and make them laugh as only you can. Much love to you and your family, The Weedens

  15. Dear Team 44,

    We are thinking of you this Easter, and send all our prayers, hope and love.

    Jim and Gail (Wofford)