It matters not which emotional mask we wear throughout click to view photo albumthe long journey ahead. Remember, happiness is not the absence of problems but our ability to deal with them.

Our Family Voyage

In May of 1996 our son Chris suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) which forever changed our family lives. From then on we have been heavily involved in every aspect of life that touches someone with TBI. Needless to say its a long journey and the needs of TBI are insatiable. Sharing experiences can help ease the burden and we're happy to share our experiences with hope of making your journey a bit easier.

Smooth sailing with God as your helmsman.

Cathy and Steve Silk 

The Beginning of a Vigorous Struggle

From the outset of his injury doctors predicted Chris would be a vegetable. When he proved them wrong they said he would be incontinent and never able to talk or walk. It was a hard effort but Chris became continent and after several surgeries learned to walk on his own. Although his vocabulary remained limited, his thought process was excellent and he could always make himself understood. One of his favorite phrases was "I LOVE YOU BABY". His use of common slang terms were also remarkable. Depending on how it sounded, it could mean he was pissed off or he might just be saying hello. His math skills were excellent and he could count money better than most. He loved to shop and make payment at the register on his own. A favorite pastime was playing 500rummy and he truly enjoyed kicking ass. His artistic skills before his injury remained through out his life. During his tenure at OPPIDAN in Sarasota, FL he accomplished a number of fine paintings that gave him much satisfaction. He also enjoyed listening to his favorite hard or light rock music. Often he would choose to play some of my favorite sounds like Holdin Back the Years by Simply Red. Above all he enjoyed working at the 'Y'. He enjoyed his cell phone and could call about 10 friends and relatives whenever he needed to solve a problem or just to say hello. All in all he did the best he could and was enjoying life in Florida.

Then one day in January 2007 and without warning, Chris was given yet one more challenge when he was diagnosed with throat cancer. When Chris fully understood the nature of the disease he just wanted to know how long he might live and should he die, would he be able to talk and walk again and do all the things he loved before his TBI accident. We comforted Chris and ourselves with the assurance that he would be able to do all the things he did before and even better. He said he was OK with God and knew his grand parents are waiting for him. He also told us not to worry because he will be saving a great spot for us when our time came.

Being the trooper he is, he began this uphill battle giving his very best and without fear of the outcome. We explored all avenues of treatments with Chris and together we arrived at the decision that we would not undergo the harsh radiation & chemo treatment. Chris said he was already handicapped and refused to have his teeth removed and live on a feeding tube etc. With this understanding we explored other alternative treatment methods and elected to receive hperthermia treatments at St. George Hospital in Bad Abling Germany. After further examinations at the hospital we learned that Chris would not be able to receive all the treatments available because of the precarious location of the tumor. Full body hyperthermia treatments were also not possible because of his early on brain surgery. We proceeded with local hyperthermia and a host of vitamin and oxygen treatments. Chris tolerated everything well and we returned home after 30 days and continued the vitamin infusions protocol etc.

Chris' pain was greatly reduced. And he appeared to be doing excellent until we were advised to stop treatment for two weeks so the tumor could be re-assessed. Allowing this I believe was a mistake on our part because it allowed the tumor to regain strength and the pain to return. To counter act this problem we were convinced to take erbitux treatments. This treatment was the beginning of the end. The night following the treatment Chris had a temperature of 104 that brought on a seizure. A few days later Chris had gotten a severe rash over his face and entire body. When this occurred, Chris lost all hope and stopped all treatments of any kind including his vitamin C infusions etc. He never went back to bed again and would sleep on the couch with his scooter by his side. Soon after we knew the end was near. However this did not deter Chris in any way from his daily routine. He wanted to do as much as he could for him self and most often he refused assistance. Just a few days before he passed, he even tried standing up in the shower to have the warm water sooth his face.

Chris enjoyed his mom's party birthday with our entire family on Oct 20. Right up to the end, with help he would get on his scooter and go out for a smoke even though he hardly had the strength to hold his cigarette. He passed on Oct. 28 just a few minutes after his sister Darlene arrived from NJ and she came into the room. He knew I went to the airport to pick her up and hung on until he could see her one more time. His art teacher Cathy, his mom and me were continually by his side through out the nights giving him as much comfort as possible to help him let go.

Chris truly believes in God and knew that when his time comes he will again be able to run, talk and do anything he wants in heaven.

Final Voyage
Christopher John Silk,  Age 45

January 5, 1962 - October 28, 2007

Our Chris is truly an exceptional young man with a true passion for life and a desire to make every moment count. Without question, Chris always met every challenge head on and never failed to make us proud. We'll never forget his accordion recital at his kindergarten graduation or his 30 meter ski jumps during his freshman year at Vermont Academy H.S. It wasn't long before Chris's love of skiing and his flare for cooking took him to the slopes of Vermont where he put those skills to work at the Post Horn Inn Ski Lodge on Magic Mountain. I can well remember the season when the Smitty's, O'Connor's & Silk's (O'SMILK's) joined Chris at the Post Horn Inn for a bit of skiing and a lot fun. Chris was the super host who just couldn't do enough for his friends and guests.

Chris's competitive nature always came out during a round of golf or skiing a black diamond mountain. In contrast, his love of music, art, children and animals always brought out his more sensitive and gentle side. He loved everyone and enjoyed sharing his talents, especially with our first granddaughter Brittany. It wasn't long after that he fell in love and was blessed with a beautiful daughter of his own. Without question, this was the happiest moment in his life. His daughter Lane now 17, holds a very special place in Chris's heart. (January 2007 45th & 17th Chris & Lane's birthday party photo)

In 1996 Chris suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak. In spite of this deficit and the ominous predictions of doctors he was determined to beat the odds and again met this challenge head on. With only one objective, to overcome, he soon learned to communicate, walk, and do the everyday things we do without trying. In 2005 he courageously moved from the cold North to Sarasota FL where the more favorable weather would be gentler for him. This endeavor soon proved a very worth while experience for him. His new environment soon allowed him to do things he hadn't experienced in years. You could easily see his excitement when socializing with his
peers and participating in outings where he went bowling, shot billiards and fished. He was never happier living in Florida and sharing this happiness with all his family who traveled with him throughout his long journey. High on his list of fun were the visits of his nephew Joey and nieces Brittany and Lindsay who always made him laugh and forget the difficulties of his journey. (Family Photo September 2007)

Then one day in January 2007 and without warning, Chris was given yet one more challenge. He began a vigorous fight with throat cancer. Being the trooper he is, he is giving this uphill battle his very best and without fear of the outcome. He truly believes in God and gets solace knowing that when his time comes he will again be able to run, talk and do anything he wants in heaven. He knows his grand parents are waiting for him and he tells us not to worry because he will be saving a great spot for us when our time arrives. While, his moment is not yet here, Chris's tenacious nature has him looking for a pet dog to share his love.

Chris has truly made a very positive difference in the lives of everyone he touched. He taught us to be courageous, show compassion, to give unselfishly and never take anything for granted.

Chris is survived by his loving family, Helene & Brittany Lindstrom
Darlene, Joe, Lindsay and Joey Donegan, his daughter Lane Silk
and parents Catherine & Stephen Silk.

Funeral services to be held Thursday November 1, 2007, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM at
Vander May Funeral Home, 567 Ratzer Road, Wayne, NJ

Celebration Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 10:30 Friday November 2.

Please join us for a Celebration luncheon at 1:00 PM at the Paris Inn Restaurant, Hamburg Tpke., Wayne, NJ

Memorial Celebration gathering, Monday November 12, 2007, 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM, OPPIDAN, 4024 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34232

It was a mutual admiration society

Only dog Chris allowed on his bed
 

                  Sussex County Brain Injury Support Group
Essentially, the meeting is a support group for anyone having brain injury. It's main purpose is to help develop the confidence and esteem of the injured. It is a structured meeting supervised by professionals who advocate for the injured and help keep the group abreast of services offered by State and private institutions.

Meetings:
Redeemer Lutheran Church
37 Newton Sparta Road
Newton, NJ 07860

2nd Week of the month

 Contact:
Steve O'Connor
973-770-1016

146-1 Freedom Marksboro
Newton, NJ 07860

Family members welcomed

This web site is dedicated to our dearest son .... ..... CHRIS SILK .... ... who fought a brave and an uphill battle for more than 11 years ... .... With love for all the joy you brought us .... .... MOM & DAD .... ..... We thanks you for stopping by and hope your visit may be helpful ....