Elton: Day 41

Goodbyes are always difficult, and this morning was no exception. After zipping up suitcases and drinking our last sips of coffee, it was time for the kids to say farewell to Elton. They all gave him a hug and expressed that they’ll miss him. As providence would have it, our neighbor Don was driving down the street, saw us packing the minivan, and stopped by. He and Elton enjoyed a moment of well-wishing before we finally headed out. 

Elton Photos 016 Don Goodbye

At around 9:00am we arrived at the doctor’s office. Laura, our physical therapist, and Dr. V carefully measured Elton’s joints to determine how much his range of motion has increased. The amount of improvement from even last week was extraordinary.

last doc visit Laura and Elton

The following picture is of our Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) from RUSH hospital. They are the Navy Seals of hemophilia care. Their love and affection for Elton has been obvious all along.

RUSH staff

From the doctor’s office we drove directly to O’Hare Airport. You know how these things go—there are so many details to be concerned about: get there on time, secure wheelchair assistance, are the bags under weight?, is the carry-on small enough?, do we have all the appropriate documents? The minutia can be dizzying, especially when it’s compounded by elevated emotions. The result is that the entire experience can seem surreal. Thank God, all of the details fell into place, right down to the nice Christian airport man who extended grace toward Elton’s sizable bags and provided a personal escort.

 last moments

Before Elton reached the security area, we posed for two last photos, gave hugs, and expressed how much we’ve enjoyed our time together. My part was now finished. Having taught Elton how to twirl linguini on a fork, properly sip espresso, and play F-Troop with his armpit, I have nothing left to impart. I simply stood beside Angela (with a few tears running down her cheeks) and made some lame comment about how this is a foretaste of what we’ll feel when we send our first child to college.

Angela's goodbye airport with Chris

The following picture is our last look at Elton before he vanished beyond the airport’s security checkpoint. Angela and I continued to stand and wait for several minutes while Elton was on line. We trust that today will not be the last time we see Elton. This is indeed our hope; whether in coming years or at the great banquet feast beyond the grave, we shall meet Elton again. In the meantime, we share the privilege of lifting Elton before the Father in prayer.

last glimpse, at least for now

About the author

Chris Castaldo (PhD, London School of Theology) is the lead pastor at New Covenant Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Talking with Catholics about the Gospel and coauthor of The Unfinished Reformation.


  1. Wow! I’ve been following Elton’s story all the way through, and it is sad to see him go. So many people here have poured so much into his life. He also seems to have been an encouragement to many here. May God bless him as he goes back, and I hope that you all can keep in touch.

  2. Hello,
    Thank you for sharing the Incredible Journey of Elton with us. It was like watching a new miracle happen every day. Reality TV at it’s best. He is a 10 and you and your family and team are, too. Our lives are all different as a result of the last 41 days.

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