Tag Archives: brain injury recovery

Life is like riding a bicycle…

26 Sep

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. ― Albert Einstein

This is the time of year when so many children are heading out the door, to pre-school, kindergarten, high school or college. It is hard to let them go, yet you must. The job of being a parent is to give your children the wings to fly, and the courage to use those wings. The thing to remember is that each child is an individual and reaches this point when they are ready, not when you are. Timing is everything. It can be difficult as parents to know when they are ready.

I believe parenting is similar to teaching your child to ride a bike. First you discuss the process and spend some time teaching them to pedal. After a while you lower those wobbly training wheels until their confidence is built, eventually raising them so things can become a little uncomfortable. They may tumble a few times, but in the long run you know it’s necessary to help them find their center. Later you run along beside them holding onto the back of the bicycle while encouraging them to find their own balance. The day will come when you release them into the world. Before you know it they are flying along without you.

As your child navigates along the bumpy paths of life there will be bruises and a few set backs. We accept that. Sometimes they come back with more than a bump or bruise. We received the phone call that no parent wants to receive. Our son was being airlifted to a trauma center two hours away. We were told to hurry, the outlook was uncertain. After the long grueling trip we discovered that our son had fallen from a 180 foot cliff receiving a severe traumatic brain injury and was paralyzed on one side. The future of our son, our marriage and of our family was hanging in the balance.

How does one receive news like this and find the strength to go on? The ripple effect was put into play that day… our family, our marriage, our spirituality, everything about us changed and will be felt by the generations to come.

Being a care-giver to your injured child can be taxing, yet a deeply fulfilling endeavor. I found it to be a life journey that I would never have chosen. However, it changed not only me, but our entire family for the better. Sometimes in life we are faced with what seems to be an insurmountable challenge. It forces us to dig deep within ourselves to find the strength to go on, not only for us, but for our children. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

Our story has a happy ending. Our son’s paralysis was caused by a bleed into his brain when his carotid artery was dissected upon impact. The paralysis miraculously disappeared. Although his left side is weaker, today you would never notice, he keeps that to himself. His brain has slowly healed. He needed time to remember who we were, who he was, and to discover the new him.

After months of therapy and hard-work he knew he had one more obstacle to face. The day he decided to return all his Christmas gifts to purchase a rope to rappel the cliff he fell from just eight short months earlier, was the day I discovered my knees.

We do all we can to protect our children. We buy the protective gear, provide good guidance, but in the end we are not in control. I learned that day to give control to a higher power. When your child returns to the nest broken, you nurture and care for them. However, you must give them the wings and courage to fly once again. This is not easy. My son knew he needed to conquer the cliff that took so much away from him. He knew what I didn’t understand at the time…. that the young man at the top of the cliff holding the rappelling rope was not the same young man that landed triumphantly at the bottom.

We all face “cliffs” in our lives. I have found the quote “the only way out is through” to be true. I as well had to face my greatest fear, and discover that I was not in control. The woman writing this is no longer the same woman who raced to the hospital. My marriage, my health, my viewpoint on life has been forever altered. In a heart-beat I discovered what was important, and all that we can do is love them… and perhaps purchase a good helmet.

– Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.


Book Cover | The Year of The Cicadas

14 Jul

Well the time has officially come…. Our book cover design is complete and ready for publishing! We couldn’t be more happy with the way the cover, designed by Lisa Muller-Jones, turned out. The writing and publishing of this book has been a long and emotional process, so it is so nice to see some of the details come together, as it makes it seem more real. We are truly blessed to have the support and help of so many talented people.

Currently, Catie is letting family members and those who were involved in her journey read the book to get their input and feedback. So far, everyone has really been touched by her story. As the summer is quickly coming to an end, we are happy to report that the final stages of editing are moving right along and we hope to have the book published and ready for purchase this Fall 2012.

What do you guys think about the cover?

The Year of The Cicadas | Inspirational True Story | Author Catie Hartsfield | theyearofthecicadas@gmail.com

Visiting the Accident Site | An Emotional Healing Process

3 Jul

Author Catie and her husband Steve hiking up to the site of the accident

Yesterday morning, author Catie Hartsfield, along with her husband Steve and two sons, Bryant and James, visited the site of Bryant’s accident. Although the accident happened over 8 years ago, Catie had never actually been to the site where Bryant fell. Below are some images Catie was able to snap with her phone while out on the trails.

Here is what Catie had to say about the trip:

“Yesterday was a very emotional day for us. It has been over eight years since my son fell 180 feet off a cliff at the Gorge.  I never visited the place where he fell, or the site that changed our lives forever.  There are several reasons for this.  First, I simply was not emotionally ready to visit the site for several years.  Unfortunately, once I was ready emotionally, I was not ready physically.  I suffered a bad skiing accident many years ago damaging both of my knees, making hiking and climbing extremely difficult and painful.

My weight became a problem for me over the years after the accident, which only made the pain in my knees worse.  After years of self discovery about my food addictions and learning more and more about healthy eating, food allergies, supplements, and alternative treatments for my knees, I was finally both emotionally and physically ready for the hike.  I did not sleep the night before, my anxiety building more and more throughout the night.  
The morning broke sunny and bright, and really warm.  It has been between ninety-five and one-hundred and three all week with high humidity.  With Steve off of work for the week, we decided there was no time like the present.  When Bryant and James heard that we were going to go, they both decided to join us.  I am so glad that they came, as it made for a really special day.  

View of the cliff Bryant fell off of from across the Gorge. Notice the steep rocks Catie had to climb down on her way down.

We hiked in through beautiful woods and thankfully, it was a little cooler under the tree canopy.  I now understand why the boys love it so much here.  It reminds me of the places we took them hiking as children. Unfortunately, my freshly bathed body was a haven for the mosquitoes and horse flies.  James told me again how bad the horse flies were when he found his brother and reminded me of the difficulty he had in keeping them off of him.  

It was an emotional day for Author Catie Hartsfield to visit the site of her son’s accident.

It took several hours to hike up to the ledge where Bryant fell.   I was thrilled to be there, just knowing that I had worked so hard, for so many years to be able to make this journey was empowering. Having my two sons with me, both the one who fell and his rescuer, made all the difference in the world. What touched me the most was the excitement that they felt in finally being able to share these things with me, and the loving, gentle care they took with me.  On the way up, James pointed out every spot in his journal entries about the rescue, bringing it all to life for me.  To know that my feet were walking where his feet were that fateful day brings a mix of emotions to me. 
 Looking around at the thick underbrush and the thousands of acres of woods, it amazes me that he was able to locate his injured brother, not knowing at that time that his brother had fallen.  I looked around in shock and awe at the small percentage of his chance of rescue.  The next thought I had is how overwhelming it must have been to James once he located his brother, knowing that he had no idea where to find help.  He ran miles of trails looking for someone to help him,  finally deciding there was no help to be found, only to go back to be by his brother’s side while he died and then to find out that he was so lost he couldn’t find his brother again.  My heart was wrenching at this thought.  The courage and fortitude that it took for the rescuers to navigate the thick underbrush to bring James’s stretcher down the mountainside while keeping it level played out in my mind as well.

The view James had when looking for help in rescuing his brother Bryant


I had a mixture of emotions on our trek up. Steve was there for support, but it was the excitement and happy faces of our sons making it all bearable.  We laughed and talked all the way up.  They take me up the long way, and suddenly we are there.  The overhang where they slept in the rain that night.  The stone couch where Bryant was last seen sleeping.  I walked over to the edge, and that is where it hit me.  I imagined my son going off of that edge in the black of night.  Sliding down the embankment, free-falling until his body hit the bottom.  Lost in the night, alone and broken in the rain. Looking at the perimeter of the cliff I understand for the first time how this could have happened.  There are small scrub trees and vegetation growing along the edge, giving a false pretense of safety, then there is a straight drop off.  I feel absolute wonderment that my son is alive!  I thought about Steve standing at the bottom of this cliff taking a video of Bryant rappelling over the side eight months later.  I thought about the fortitude and guts that it took for Bryant to go back and beat this cliff that tried to destroy his life.  To go over the face again, after all he had been through.  Wow, lots of emotions hit me hard!  I thought about my own fear of heights since the accident.  James put his arms around me and held onto me, everyone gave me my space and time to cry. 


The underbrush Bryant fell into and what James had to hike through to find help

We stayed for a while, having  heartfelt wonderful moments. We had been gone a while and it was time to head down.  Walking up is easier for me than walking down.  The boys wanted to take me down the fastest way and it was clear to me that they wanted me to experience the path that they took that day.  I was not prepared for how steep the descent would be.  My sons were awesome.  They held my hands, to encourage me. I didn’t want to be afraid anymore so I let them lead me over the edge. They were gentle, loving and guided me down the steep slope.  Most of the time I was scooting on my bottom, looking for hand and foot holds.  We then hiked back through the woods and to the car.  
I am glad that I made this journey, so that I can understand my sons love of this spot,  and so that I can have closure.  It has been a long journey for all of us.  I am excited for the rest of you to read this amazing inspirational story.  We hope to have the book “The Year of the Cicadas” out by late summer or early fall as we are finishing up the editing now.”

The Year of The Cicadas | Inspirational True Story | Author Catie Hartsfield | theyearofthecicadas@gmail.com

Hello World!

16 Jun

We would officially like to welcome you to the blog and website for the book The Year of the Cicadas, due to be published the Summer or early Fall of 2012. We are so excited to begin the final stages of editing on the book!

Once published, author Catie Hartsfield, will be doing a book tour to help promote and raise awareness for The Year of the Cicadas as well as share her story with others. Catie’s life took a sudden tragic turn when her son, Bryant, fell from a 180 foot cliff during a camping trip. Unable to find any encouraging books at the time of her son’s accident, Catie made a promise to God that she would tell her story if her son survived. Catie hopes that her book will help bring hope to others who have faced or are currently going through a similar situation.

We look forward to updating you on the progress of the book and will be working hard behind the scenes to add more information to the site for you!

The Year of The Cicadas | Inspirational True Story | Author Catie Hartsfield | theyearofthecicadas@gmail.com

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