Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Strother Strong

I started this post a long while back. I kept adding to it, changing it and it still doesn't feel quite right, but I guess sometimes you need to keep some things for yourself...

We are back in Delhi...monsoon rains pour outside while the boys are playing legos on the floor and Dorian hums "Jingle Bells". The summer holiday brought many things and one of them that I am thankful for is that it brought the boys closer together. They still have their moments but they are getting along so much better. This summer also brought a tragic and unexpected life change to one of my dearest friends, Blythe, who is so dear, in fact, that I consider her more a sister. I have not been able to write about this because I haven't been sure how to actually put down in words what has happened and to really do it justice. But, it has been through her family's strength, positiveness and just all-around awesomeness that our world has been truly inspired.

On June 23, her son was in a horrible car accident. The car rolled and he was very seriously injured. When she called me with the news a week before we flew stateside, I spent sleepless nights thinking of  how everything had changed and how I was so far away from her.

The accident left Strother paralyzed from the chest down. He is only five years old. He has always been an amazing child--active in both mind and body--smart, charming, kind and with a smile that melts your heart. And, that has not changed. Visiting him daily, or almost daily, at the hospital showed what strength this five-year old possesses.  

Living half a world away, I feel fortunate that we were able to be there. He and Dorian bonded over paper airplanes and lollipops. And, seeing the extraordinary community of support that is available to his family was so reassuring. I was still so glad to be able to hold my friend's hand and give her big hugs.

Being back in Delhi is hard because I miss them so much. But, they are in a good place now, at the Children's Shriner Hospital in Chicago. He is getting amazing care through a supportive network and in physical and occupational therapy. One of my favorite moments was hearing Blythe describe Strother's first time in a wheelchair. He took off! I would have expected no less from him but it still brought a huge smile to my face.

This summer their lives changes. All of our lives changed. Their strength is amazing and has inspired the world around them--you need only see the team of people looking out for them to know how true this is. I so wish we were there still holding hands, giving hugs and making paper airplanes or participating in the myriad of events taking place to support their family. But, until our next visit, the boys and I will have to content ourselves with photos, skype, phone calls and sending virtual love in any way possible.

Please take a moment to check out his website, see his story and watch his progress: Strother Strong

We wear these Strother Strong orange (strother's favorite color) bracelets to support him and to feel closer despite the distance.


  1. All the best to him and his family caitlin. So so hard for all but strength to be gained in his own little resolve to carry on. Was wondering what had happened and why you were not writing.
    Take care
    Love m

  2. We read the updates and know that it is painful for you to not be with her and the family. Strother IS so strong ... so is Blythe ... and so is her support network. Think of you all of the time!