A week ago I posted about a friend who had a skiing accident and is currently paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Watching what has happened in the week since, I have seen miracles of community and the human spirit that are hard to put into words. So I’m not going to try. Instead, I’m going to share with you the words some other people have written.
This was posted on Facebook by Wes, who I believe is Derek’s brother (the italics are mine):
“Dear Friends and Family:
I will be heading back to Salt Lake City tomorrow evening and it will be very hard for me to leave Derek and Amanda. Nevertheless, it gives me great comfort to know that Derek’s physical condition has improved markedly, that he still seems to be on track to be transferred to Craig Hospital for rehab next week, that he is incredibly strong and determined, and that he is in the hands of an angel. I am proud that Amanda and I have worked well together on Derek’s behalf, and I can testify first hand that her kindness and spirit continue to be inspirational. I also take pride in the fact that although Derek will have to wait another week until he can be transferred to Craig Hospital, the delay is on their end not his – he accomplished his first goal of being ready to go by the end of this week. The physicians tell us that his next realistic goals will be to sit up for extended periods of time and to wean himself off from the ventilator. As I write this, he’s sitting up and breathing on his own for the first time since the surgery, so I’m confident that he will also accomplish those goals as he has time to focus on them.
The past 10 days have included a number of touching and poignant moments, including seeing Derek struggle so hard to make the very best of a bad deal, watching him light up every time Amanda enters the room, and witnessing such an incredible outpouring of love from his friends and from the Smerud and Sundquist clans. As I said in my first post, there have been a number of blessings, both large and small. In addition to the three I mentioned before, I would add that I have never felt closer to or more loved by Derek’s and my dear parents than I do right now, even while I know how painful it is for them not to be at his bedside. It is really going to be wonderful when they can get together with Derek and Amanda in Denver. There have even been some funny moments, like the morning after his pain medication when Derek adamantly insisted that he had been driving around in a DeLorean the night before. I have no doubt that he was.
Finally, I would emphasize again how much everyone’s words and support have meant to Derek, Amanda, and me. I have been reading peoples’ comments every night, and it makes a world of difference to realize how many extraordinary people have been touched by Derek and who care deeply for him. I know that Amanda feels the same way, and that Derek will benefit even more from your support than he already has as he enters the next phase of his rehabilitation. Please keep telling Derek and Amanda how much you love and support them, and continue to walk with them on their incredible journey.
Finally, there is a fundraising effort underway to get Derek a “really great wheelchair”. They have almost doubled their initial fundraising goal, and it’s obvious from the comments that it’s not just Derek and Amanda’s friends and family who have donated – it’s people who have never met them and are inspired by their story. If you’d like to see what a community of love looks like, check out this website and read the “Details” tab to read the story of what happened, and then click “Donors” to see the messages people have been leaving for Derek and Amanda: http://www.giveforward.com/rallyaroundderek (and, of course, if you have a few dollars that you’d like to contribute, they are still accepting donations – even $5 or $10 make a big difference in a situation like this.)
And please continue to hold the amazing spirits that are Derek and Amanda in your prayers!
Today’s miracle: When things are tough, love opens our hearts even further