Friday, September 4, 2009

9/4 Some stunning pronouncements and an announcement

Chuck articulated several things to me very clearly tonight. I'm not making this up and I'm leaving some of it out because I can't remember it all.

A: Can you believe Mandela got that high grade in calculus at Princeton?
C: It's just awesome.
A: Chuck, you make these beginnings of big pronouncements and we keep waiting to hear the whole thought.
C: Uh-yah
A: Like what did you mean that day you said "I need Auburn to tell something something .... right and wrong.
C: I... need.... her.... to tell me what's right and wrong
A: Me? Tell you? Are you kidding?
C: No. You tell me what's right and wrong.
A: Like, you want me to be the boss of you?
C: Yes.
A: Are you kidding?
C: No.
A: You need me to tell you what to do?
C: Yes. Everyone else tells me. Nobody should. You. You tell them.
A: You want me to take charge of all of it?
C: Yes. I do. I like the way you see it.
A: And so I tell you what's what and what needs to happen and what you need to do.
C: Yes
A: Wow. You have a lot of faith in me.
C: I have more faith in you than you have in yourself.
(Auburn bursts into tears.)
A: You gave me your Power of Attorney.
C: Yes. I think that's just great.
(Auburn cries some more.)
A: Is this private or can I put in the blog?
C: Put it in. Tell them.
A: Wow.
C: And I rrrr.... rrrr care.
A: You wish I....
C: I wish you had more care.
A: You wish I had more care.
C: Yes.
A: That was the first thing I felt the loss of when you got put in the coma. You're the one guy who has always had my back.
C: You are....mmm..mmm....rrrr.... just terrific. Unbelievable.
(More tears from Auburn)
C: I wish you had more care from me.


A: I feel like we're talking to people who don't know how to help us.
C: Yes.
A: Like we need to really get some top specialists in speech therapy.
C: We do. There are things I can't say in speech therapy.
A: Like, are you KIDDING me.
C: (sigh) Yes.
A: We need help finding them.... Honey can help us. She's great at getting the top people in the field for things.
C: Yes, Honey is the answer.
A: Honey is the answer.

We called my mom and when she spoke to Chuck on the phone he said "Hello Mom, we need your help," and burst into tears.


A: Chuck, I need you to sit on this other bed while we get this one ready.
(Chuck ignores me and tries to sit on the wrong bed. We struggle slightly.)
A: Look, Chuck, I'm making this decision. You've gotta sit on the other bed.
(Chuck complies and walks across to the other bed.)
A: Did I do my job?
C: Yes you did.
A: Okay. And your job is to have more faith in me than I have in myself.
C: That's my job.
A: Chuck?
C: Mm!
A: Why do you hide your thoughts from other people?

There's is something absolutely other-worldly about these conversations. And there have been others. I end up doubting my own perceptions even, but I know that I have had a profound experience of the capital P Presence, something uncanny and unspeakably beautiful. Capital L Love. The eternal kind. Meanwhile, I watch specialists come and go who only see a guy who smiles and says "yes," "no," "okay" or not a word.

Since I'm the boss of Chuck, I'm going to insist he "come out" to these people and tell them what he needs, what he wants to work on, what he expects to accomplish. And I'm going to see if we can commandeer corners in the therapy rooms in his unscheduled hours and work on strengthening his right side, particularly his right hand. We now have access to a daily shower if we want it and I'm going to see about using the boardroom for our first fundraising meeting on the 16th.....Watch out! Auburn's been commissioned.


The Chuck Sandstrom Benefit Fund first brainstorming meeting will be held at Edwin Shaw, Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. We will be exploring ways to tap Chuck's many many circles of love to contribute financially toward preserving his life and best possible outcomes in recovery. For more details, write me at or simply show up.


  1. Awesome! I'm so glad he is able to communicate better...especially his needs. We have been praying for this and will start praying that God opens the doors with the specialists who will "get" Dad and be able to truly help him excel in the way he needs!

    Love you Dad! And thanks Auburn for being such an instrumental part of his healing process. God is using you.


  2. WOW! what can I say???? Go Chuck and Auburn!