“The last year has been very hard for our family. The shock of our home being taken by the fires and what it meant for us was huge. After securing a temporary residence, we needed to decide if we would rebuild or must purchase another home. We were overwhelmed by the stress of having lost everything, including the patterns of everyday life. After researching the different steps of rebuilding, we realized we could not afford to rebuild and would have to purchase another home. We then started looking for a house that would be conducive to Ross’s continuing progress in cognition and motor skills. Finding the right house was difficult. We needed a house with only one story and hardwood floors to allow Ross to continue to move through the house in his wheelchair and walk with assistance. It seemed that most of the houses had many stairs or were above our budget. We also needed space to set up his small physical therapy area, so he could continue to go forward in his physical therapy.
“We found a house that we liked. There were many buyers competing for the house. Our daughter, Ariel, wrote a letter to the sellers about our family and why we wanted to purchase their home. Based on her letter, we were elated to be chosen!
“We started the long search for a contractor who could oversee the modifications that Ross would need. This meant widening the hallway and doorways, modifying Ross’s bathroom and shower, and adding a little space to his bedroom. The house modifications have taken about half a year because there were many fire victims competing for skilled labor and materials. We hope to be finished in December and to move in before Christmas. We are relieved and grateful that this particular odyssey is coming to an end, as we are well aware that many fire victims are not so fortunate.
“We are so very grateful to our daughter Ariel Russell, who has been amazing in assisting us through this chaotic dislocation. She fulfilled a crucial role while we were in post fire shock. She interfaced for us with insurance companies and county, state, and federal authorities, each essential to financial and physical restoration. We don’t know how we could have survived without her stepping in and supporting us.
“Ross is a happy man! Jeremiah, Ross’s caregiver for many years, is back. He has agreed to do physical therapy with Ross twice a week. We purchased a new floor therapy mat and Ross is rolling on the floor, beginning to use his left side, a big step. Jeremiah also saw Ross holding the Grabber “P” in his left hand, something that Ross had previously been unable to do.
“We were finally able to replace Ross’s table easel. We put it on the kitchen table, put paper on it, and gave Ross a pen. Ross quickly put something on the paper that looked like scribble, but he had written his name in cursive, writing his first name and then his last name on top. He also likes to use the easel to work his foam alphabet puzzles, a decision of his own. Ross enjoys TV dramas, especially the pretty ladies whom he indicates by pointing and grinning.”
Betsy and Rusty
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I can't imagine how difficult this year has been for all the Dillons. Losing everything to the fire and having to relocate numerous times, the stress of finding a home...my admiration for this family knows no bounds. Your comments and responses regarding Ross's difficult journey mean much to them, and I thank you for keeping in touch and asking for updates. Knowing you care is so important. Thank you.