Falling on Good Ground

Only recently had the nudging of my inner spirit rousted me to make time to get back to writing again. Writing the stories of events here, or realizations about the life I live here, has always been my outlet to peacefully let go of ponderings – maybe things I cannot explain, or perhaps something new I have discovered, and sometimes just happenings that surprised me or added to a pocketful of life’s learning. The writing pad of my life on this little piece of land has been something to look back and reflect on… of how my crazy path in life leveled out here and how nature became the greatest teacher for me. I finally found “good ground” to tread on.

Last year in October, Forrest and I had discussed that the year 2022 would mean me making more trips to Nebraska to help my siblings in the care of our mother. Mom had gotten to the point where she couldn’t keep up with her property and home, and her health had been suffering – so much to the point where we invited hospice in to help with her care. There had been numerous trips with her to the ER the last months, and finally mom had decided she was done with that. She wanted to leave this life on her own terms. My siblings all work outside of their homes, so I felt this was my opportunity to help where I could.

My first two weeks with Mom late in January were filled with constant care and some important conversation. At times, she was so miserable we prayed for her body to let go. And oddly, towards the end of the month, she seemed to improve greatly, and let me know she didn’t need me around anymore. So I left. And, unfortunately, on that trip back home I acquired the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Three days after arriving home, I became sick with Forrest having to care for me and, four days following that, we were caring for each other. It wasn’t the worst we had ever felt, and we both agreed a flu bug we had back in 2011 was a far worse experience. Fatigue was the worst symptom, and we could barely manage chores around here. For most of February into March, we did the best we could to keep up with work on this place, but we also had to let a lot go while we recouped.

In February, we placed mom in a nice assisted living home. While my sisters got mom settled there, I was making plans to head north to help out – mostly to stay at Mom’s house and start sorting through belongings and get the house ready to sell. This wasn’t the first time I had helped with such a project. I am great at organizing and literal cleaning. All of us kids went through items that I managed to sort through, and we were able to utilize many of her belongings. There were beautiful paintings that our great-grandmother had painted, old costume jewelry, vintage clothing, delicate linens with hand-made lace, stunning quilts that grandma designed and stitched, and fancy glass items collected by our grandparents and great-grandparents. It was fun for me. Everyone pitched in on days off, and we managed to sort through and divide what we wanted, donate a good bit, and also had a display of “free” items in the front yard. It was always a surprise to get up in the mornings to see what had disappeared in the night. And each morning I found myself enjoying making coffee in Mom’s Mr. Coffee machine, then stand outside in the cold where I had a cell signal, and watch the sun come up on the tiny Danish village while talking with one of my sisters or my brother. I enjoyed three weeks of helping out and being with my siblings.

On weekends my siblings and myself gathered at mom’s house to work on sorting and cleaning. It was wonderful being together, working towards a necessary goal.

The week I came home to Oklahoma in early April, I was a bit overwhelmed by all that presented itself to do. But that first week home, I wanted to enjoy Forrest, and Oscar and Lollipop, and the deer. Putting off work here one more week wasn’t going to hurt anything. Spring had unfolded while I was up north and I had missed the early blossoms on fruit trees and tree leaves were all bursting from buds. Wildlife was busy eating from the new shoots and nibbling greens sprouting from the ground. Forrest had already mowed some in my absence.

Easter Sunday I fixed a good breakfast, and we decided to head out to the west end of the property and trim ice damaged trees from two years prior. I started trimming with the chainsaw and Forrest went to fetch seat cushions from two tree stands that I often used for wildlife photography. Squirrels tended to chew up any fabric this time of the year for nesting material. So we remove the seats in early spring. I don’t know how long I had worked at trimming trees and throwing the branches over the drop-off into the river bottom, but it was then I spotted our Kawasaki Mule, and just beyond lay Forrest on the ground, motionless. From my guess, he had fallen about thirty feet down, and somehow the deer stand had fallen too.

The tree on the left is where the deer stand sat in the tree, approximately where the horizontal branch juts out. On investigating, it appears one of the ratchet straps may have been chewed by a squirrel, which caused the deer stand to work loose and fall. We still don’t really know what happened. Forrest generally always wears a harness, which makes me think he had no intention of getting on the stand, but rather simply reaching around to loosen the seat cushion. We can’t say what really happened that day – it’s just a guess.
The woodlands of the Washita river bottom, where I had often hiked in past years, became the landing pad for the helicopter that transported Forrest to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, more than an hour away by car.

I ran down to the bottom, quickly noting there was nothing I could do but call for help. Forrest was breathing – rather rasping deeply through his mouth, and his eyes were open and wild-looking. I dialed 911, and the city EMT’s arrived quickly at the entrance to our home from the street. I hauled them to the scene in the Mule since we were working in a remote area of the woods and there was no path for them to follow in an ambulance. The mediflight helicopter even had difficulty locating us, but they were timely and those fellas knew what they were doing landing in a small wheat field in the river bottom – quickly assessing Forrest’s condition and readying him for flight. I have no idea about the time it all took. After the helicopter took off and the EMT’s came back to put their equipment away, I gathered my own tools and picked up a few items at the scene of the fall and headed up to the house. Family drove me to Oklahoma City to OU Medical Center. On meeting with the trauma ER doctors I learned that despite 17 broken ribs, a broken clavical, fractured C-7 and numerous small fractures to the spine and face, along with two punctured lungs and a few small vascular brain bleeds that would heal on their own, no surgeries would be needed. Although a month later a dislocated bone in the wrist would be discovered which did need surgery.

Integris Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation provided such an uplifting team of therapists and staff. I have never witnessed such caring, positive vibe and kindness in a medical facility. We will definitely stop back by there one day when Forrest feels up to it, to thank them for such a positive experience!
Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation’s garden area was a welcome place to visit out in the sunshine. Weather-permitting, a daily visit to the garden gave Forrest the nature lift he needed.

For one week, Forrest was in Trauma ICU, then another week in the trauma wing of OU Medical Center. From there he spent three weeks in Integris Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation. All but two days I either drove an hour from Anadarko, or stayed with friends in Norman (closer to the medical facilities) in order to be with Forrest each day. We brought him home on May 19th, and began home physical therapy with a talented therapist here in town. Our nephew’s wife is a retired LVN, and she has been helping with in-home therapy twice a day.

Our “niece” MJ, helps Forrest with twice-a-day physical therapy. She’s also driven us to many appointments in OKC, assisting us with whatever we need.

Forrest improves each day. My role as caretaker has been eye-opening and I find myself making many more decisions on my own that Forrest used to take care of. Our water well has begun to cave. I’m on a waiting list to have a new one drilled, but for now the well/pump guys have helped me find a temporary solution to all of the sand/dirt coming into the house water system. My brother-in-law and nephew moved my washing machine to the rock house so I get clean city water to launder clothes. Friends from Forrest’s workplace have come to do the monumental mowing on this place. Other friends have come by to offer to work, and if nothing else just to visit a bit. Most people are upbeat and encouraging. The kindness of people has been humbling. I’ve always been too proud to ask for help, yet I have had to accept it and even ask for help when I have gotten overwhelmed.

And, my realizations about many things I must change in the way we live, and understanding I need to let go of disappointment, has surprised me a bit. It’s been difficult, but I am letting go of so much work here. I find the hours I now spend creating healthy meals for us (helping Forrest put weight back on – he is down thirty-one pounds since the fall) and assisting him with needs throughout the day, are the best moments of my life. It’s been difficult and physically taxing work, but we see improvement and find thankfulness in every day. I’ve been able to look past family members and people in the community that chose to make this accident and recovery about them – their suffering and hardship or perhaps connection to the accident – and go off with all sorts of stories and drama. Forrest reminded me yesterday that those actions are similar to those of the “rocky soil and thorny areas” in Jesus’ parable of the sower (Luke 8:11). Funny, I used to be on rocky soil and I was the thorns of the parable – and I did not realize it. I was that person who wasn’t yet ready for the message. When sowing seed and “falling” on good ground, our words flourish and offer grace and healing.

A pregnant Gracie stopped by every day while Forrest was in the hospital and rehab. Finally when Forrest made it home, Gracie was able to get her pettings and snacks from Forrest. Our pool will have to remain closed this year, and we will see in a year if it is something we can manage. Friends referred me to a pool fella who is going to help us keep chemical in it to keep the water from algae during the summer months and keep it covered.

Life has changed for us, and it is not a tragedy. It is an eye-opener. And we are rolling with the changes together and thankful for all of the good happening all around. Already, Mother Nature has surrounded us and included us in her God-given fold of healing and miracles… lots of birth and new life unfolding in our midst.

Forrest enjoying a healthy breakfast. Seeing him smile is about the best start to the day I can think of!

© 2022 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


36 thoughts on “Falling on Good Ground

  1. Oh, wow, Lori. What an incredible story. Leave it to you to find the many silver linings! Thank you so much for sharing them. I know one thing: Forrest has the best caretaker he could ever possibly have. Love heals, that’s for sure. And you two cultivate so much of it. Sending you mine to add to the heap! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Monica. My sister Jodi summed it up a while back – all of the work we’ve done here with wildlife prepared us for this part of our journey. Hard work, perseverance, kindness and caring carry us through the rough patches. While at both the hospital and rehab, I saw situations far more serious than ours. Life is good – especially having a connectedness with others. I’m not sure what we would have done without the help of family and friends. ❤

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    2. Perfectly said Monica. Lori and Forrest are a beautiful love story. Continued prayers for you both. Forrest, that looks like a Sooner cast matey. Hopefully, we can get together at some point. Talk soon. -Al

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I thought Forrest could endure a drive like that, we’d be visiting this autumn! Thank you so much for prayers and for thinking of us, Al. At some point, we’ll make it to see your new digs!

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  2. oh my, what a time you’ve had with your mother, Covid, and Forrest’s accident and to end this post with such an inspirational note really got to me. An eye-opener indeed. Thank goodness, Forrest is on the mend and you seem all right. Sending special healing hugs and thoughts your way. Paulette

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Paulette. Those “healing hugs and thoughts” have really helped us along the way. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? My view of things in the past was so limited. Today I don’t get caught up with the negative and so much doom and gloom that surrounds us. There is good and positive to be found if we open our eyes. ❤

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  3. I have missed you! Oh, I understand much more than I can tell you. Been there. It was amazing to me how friends rallied around to help with chores and issues that arose. And how I found out just how strong I am (physically as well as mentally). I see that Forrest is wearing an eye patch. Is that temporary? The reason I ask is because my husband has lost the sight in one eye. He has an eye patch but he feels self-conscious wearing it. Yes, your life has changed but you have survived. Prayers for you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Ellen. I thought of you while writing this. Our strength can be amazing at times and surprise even us! I feel better letting go of some of the responsibilities here and maybe that has needed to happen even before the accident. I can manage the changes, having let others help us and not try to take it all on by myself.

      Double vision has been a problem since the fall. We will be seeing a specialist about that this week. The eye patch hasn’t really helped the problem as we had hoped. So, we’ll see what they say. It may be temporary – which is common with traumatic brain injury, but it could also be permanent. Time will tell.

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  4. Wow! You sure had your seven lean years crammed into a few months! Hugs and ❤ from Colorado and well… as my Dad always said, "Keep your chin up, that gravel gets rough!" – 😀

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    1. Ha! I have not heard that particular saying, but it makes sense! It has been busy and rough at times, but it also feels good to be on this side of things. There is improvement each day, and it’s so good to finally be at home.

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    1. Thank you so much!! We do what we have to when life takes a turn. It’s just a rough patch. I still believe we get every experience we’re supposed to in this life. There are no mistakes. So we do our best and move forth!

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  5. Lori,

    This is such a positive outcome after that horrible accident. Forrest’s healing, and the help you are both receiving, are more than I could have imagined after first learning of your situation. Praise God.

    Sending love to you both,
    Lynda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lynda. I’ve been very humbled about the outpouring of help, especially from Forrest’s co-worker’s from where he worked. The help came in all sorts of ways – daily calls or texts of encouragement, offers to mow, do chores, make repairs, running errands, driving to doctor appts – you name it. But there were a few who kept offering, that finally (and gently) helped me realize they truly wanted to help, and I had to put away my pride in doing it all myself. I have shed a few tears just being thankful for so many genuine offers to help us.

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  6. Lori, I have so missed your beautiful writing and I cannot look at a deer without thinking of you. Life certainly throws us some curved balls. You are an amazing woman and how fortunate is Forrest is to have you by his side through all this. Stay the course and as you say we grow through such experiences. Take care, Love & peace, Lynn xx

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    1. Hi, Lynn. Now that I have finally taken time to write about this year so far, I feel I can get back to the deer!! The three big girls have all had their fawns, though we’ve only seen Scout’s babies. The others are hidden in the woods, hopefully all is well with them. PJ has likely been hoofed off by the others and I haven’t seen her, but Jojo comes around and she gets the hoof all of the time. It’s a rough time for those two. I cannot get away to walk and check on them, but it’s good that they can still come here for nutritious feed and eats.

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  7. Hello Lori. What a story of your recent life, told with lovely detail and clarity. It is truly incredible what the human body and psyche can recover from, especially with nature as inspiration, as in your case. My very best wishes are sent to envelope you both and hopes that Forrest will recover fully and soon.xx

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    1. I appreciate your thoughts and wishes, Ardys. It’s been an interesting journey. Forrest and I agree that we are fortunate to have each other to meander through this – that it has actually strengthened our relationship and brought an unexpected depth of caring and consideration. What was also unexpected was the outpouring of help, and love from friends. Things are rolling along well. It’s certainly a different path we will be on, but what if that is a wonderful thing? 🙂

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  8. What an unexpected turn your story took. Once I reached the part about the fall I feared for the worst, and was relieved to learn (and see) that, though seriously hurt, Forrest is on the mend. It’s great you have so many people helping the two of you. Good thoughts from your neighbors one state south.

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    1. Good thoughts make for positive vibes and energy! We will take all we can get! I’m just so happy we are back home. I noticed a lot of pretty wildflowers showing off lately, just on walks to the pasture and what was once my garden. With all of the mowing help, my patches of wild yarrow have been mowed over, but I noticed they are still rooted and they’re growing back. I’ll have to see if I can train my current mower fella to let those grow!!

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        1. Ha! I once helped a niece establish all sorts of transplants from our property, to her new home. After a few months the plants were holding their own and doing well. Then that autumn her father-in-law decided to “help the kids out” by taking a weed trimmer and whacking it all down. Kati and I were flabbergasted and felt defeated. She never planted more again. At least the yarrow returns each year. I stand a chance of it multiplying again.

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  9. I am so sorry to hear this happened to you two! I’m sure it’s been a roller coaster of a spring! I’ll keep you both in my thoughts and prayers

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, Lori. That’s so unfortunate but, of course, fortunate that Forrest is recovering. It is most helpful too that you both have a “roll with it’ attitude.And dealing with that after your mother’s health turn and making the decisions to be faced there. You obviously have a very strong constitution, both physically and mentally. Best wishes for Forrest’s continuing recovery. How wonderful that you have such a good support team.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Steve. I like to think my tough stick-to-it-tiveness gets me through a lot in life. I suppose having to ask for help or accept it, has been a lesson for me – I was always too proud to want or need help. But I do now, and it feels good to let go of things I insisted on doing myself. I realized early on, it just wasn’t possible! Forrest has been accepting and resilient of his situation and has worked hard to gain strength and be patient with recovery. And I believe it makes all of the difference to have support – especially prayer, positive thoughts and good vibes!

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  11. Oh wow. I contemplate and sometimes mention in blog posts anecdotes about how our post-work-city-life didn’t really go to plan and how we’ve had to adapt and adapt again…. But in February I worked through my thoughts on the entire saga and wrote a blog post titled “A funny thing happened…” putting it out into the blog world so others in similar situations might read it… “offered simply as a cautionary tale. Always have plan B, and C… and never ever lose heart.” Having not seen a blog post from you for a while I’ve been thinking about you, and am glad you found the space to write. I really feel for you both… and send our best wishes and energy as well as a wonderful quote I found after I wrote the aforementioned post, to conclude it… “If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters – 204 if you’re in Japan.” I was relieved to read that Forrest is recovering and that you both have support. Take care.

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  12. I love that concluding quote, Dale. It made me smile. Positive thinking and good vibes make all the difference. I read many posts of friends’ blogs, but didn’t comment as I was too scattered of thought and didn’t have much time to spare. I’ll have to go back and read the one you referenced and make sure I read it – perhaps gleaning more this time around.

    I was surprised at how I managed, especially the first days of this situation. People say it was shock, but I didn’t feel that way. I simply took in the information given and did what needed doing. There was not a plan… simply just moving forward, collecting advice from medical staff and the rehab facility along the way. I did my best to prepare our home, and in the end it was sufficient. Now that the roughest time is behind us (Forrest’s neck brace was removed yesterday) and he’s a little more independent, we are planning to do some renovation of the bathroom and our floors, so that as we get older, our home is easier to get around in. There’s so much we think about but don’t do – and then BAM! suddenly we’d wished we had followed instinct and that plan we’d talked about. So we learn… and it’s all good!

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  13. Hard to give this post a “like” for the hardship you’ve been through since your last post. I wondered where you were but know you are always so busy, but wow, what a year. I hope it is all uphill from here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Linda! Oh how I wanted to write the whole time Forrest was in the hospital, but there wasn’t time. I do not like just disappearing, but this year has been one thing after another. Even now, I spend just thirty minutes looking at comments and email, and then need to get on with the day. Thank you for that hope that things improve from here on out. We’re seeing improvement every day!

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  14. Oh, man! Talk about a shock to one’s perspective. I am so relieved that Forrest is healing up and that your mother is adapting to her new circumstances. Your positive attitude is remarkable, and you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the saying, “Tough as a boot!” That’s how I feel about going through most of my life. It’s especially true of farm folks. Lots of accidents happen, and one has to be tough and resilient to make it through. On the flip side, I’ve been humbled by all of the prayer and offers of help. I have been too proud to ask for help most of my life – but this time I knew I needed to. There have been all sorts of good things happen and realized in the last two months. I find myself thankful for everything.

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  15. Wow! I am just now getting a good chance to read this post. You have had quite an ordeal, I am glad your mother is doing better and getting the help she needs with assisted living. I am also glad that Forest is getting better as of this post. I hope and pray everything is even better for all of you now. Prayers and hugs for you all and your animals too. Both of you take time for yourselves and take all the help offered.

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  16. We are actually stronger than we think? What a time you have had – you’ve crossed my mind several times recently, and I should have followed that nudge to check in on you. I always felt somehow your little farm was wrapping around you and keeping you safe.
    It seem that life had you on a self study plan for the last couple of years – you’ve certainly utilized all the lessons learned in those time – all that energy stored up from assisting nature’s creatures and protecting your little farm- never underestimate the power of the land. God certainly had his hand over you two – despite al the calamities.
    So good to hear from you and see you are setting the ship back under sail. Hopefully your mom is still doing well. (It’s funny how much our parents’ houses look alike) So nice you have siblings and family close and able to help.
    I completely understand the lack of focus and feeling like al you can do is put one foot in front of the other. Please take care of yourself, too…of course you dear deer are there to encourage and keep watch over you too
    Praying the double vision self corrects – he has enough issue to deal with…like demanding deer. (Sr. Staff always gets such aa smile from your critters and pictures)
    Over the past 2 years – especially in the last few months we are also having to make a few changes as we age/deal with health issues. As you say, we had put off plans in that direction – then, oops. Now time is forcing to make plans to be safe and comfortable – and to have a view out the back door that makes you smile.
    Take care. You both are in our thoughts and prayers.

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