The doorbell rang at exactly 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, and to our surprise it was the “Band of Brothers”—Mark’s cycling team. They came to pay “tribute” to one of their fallen cyclists (six weeks to the day of his accident). Tears welled up in Mark’s eyes as he hobbled outside to greet each one of his “comrades.” What greater gift than the gift of time, friends, and those who stick closer than a brother. They left their helmets at the door and trudged through the house with their bike cleats, sat at the kitchen table, and talked about riding again with Mark. I chimed in, “Yep, I’ve got his BIG WHEEL all ready to go.” Anything more than ground level is not going to “fly” in this family. Mark flashed me a smile (and I knew that meant “yes” he would ride again).
It’s been six weeks since the Mother’s Day accident that has changed both of our lives. Mark is out of his walker and walking with the assistance of a cane—a welcome change!
To try it out, we spent the weekend at Mt. Gretna taking short walks, visiting the Jigger Shop (an old-fashioned ice cream parlor), and taking in the sights of this Chautauqua retreat—a place lost in time with wooded cottages that resemble an “elf village,” a spring- fed lake with canoes and water slide, theater/ playhouse, gift shops, carriage rides, and streets with names like: "Yale, Harvard, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Carnegie." The Mt. Gretna Playhouse is an historical monument with Broadway plays brought to our doorstep and the place where Charlton Heston first performed. A short-20 minute drive brings us to this place that time has forgotten.
As we walked out of the “Jigger Shop,” Mark grabbed my hand as we headed down the path to the car. It was the first time we were able to walk hand in hand since the accident, and it did not go unnoticed. Tears filtered down my cheeks as I recalled the last few weeks that brought us to that moment.
Today, Mark starts physical therapy and continued pool therapy, which means more day trips! The car has now become my office with works in project in the backseat: speeches half written, edited material for clients, and other works in progress. Many nights I sneak away to Panera (with free Internet access), munch on the “Strawberry Poppyseed Salad” (yummy!), and pound away at the keyboard to meet more deadlines. So far I haven’t missed one (yet!), but it’s been close.
I’ve kept a detailed journal of our journey and I have a greater appreciation for caregivers, both short-term and long-term. It is not easy, but with a “Band of Brothers” it makes the “ride” so much more tolerable!
Caregiving, Caregiver, Mt. Gretna, hip fracture, Women's Mentoring Ministries