Monday, June 23, 2008

"A Band of Brothers!"

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!

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Greg C said...

What a wonderful post today Connie. Isn't it amazing how one brief moment can change our lives forever. They are wonderful friends to drop by and keep your hubby in the loop. I wish I had friends like that.

Mothers day was bad for us as well. Many of the trees that had been growing for over a hundred years were distroyed in less than thirty seconds. It has made me slow down even more and enjoy life with my family while I can. Who knows what will happen in the next moment of our lives.

I am taking today off and we are going fishing. Hopefully I will have photo's for everyone. I wanted to take my BIL today but he was busy. He is the one that had cancer. He always seems to be to busy these days. At least I tried.

Have a wonderful day.

Connie Pombo said...

Gone fishin' huh? I hope you got some big ones; I'll look forward to your fish "tales."

I know the feeling about trees; they carry so much heritage. Our 12-year-old dogwood split down the middle during a storm this year and our new little seedling has a lot to live up to!

How great you invited your BIL--keep inviting him, and one day he'll realize that he doesn't NEED to be that busy!

Have a great day!

Flea said...

Congratulations, reaching the six week mark and moving up to a cane! Yay Mark! Yay God! I'm so excited for you both! And a huge double YAY to walking hand in hand!!!

Connie Pombo said...

Time sure does fly when you're having fun! ;)

Yep, to be sure it is a milestone in the recovery process. He has lost a lot of muscle mass, which has discouraged him a tad bit, but physical therapy will help him to regain his strength.

Yay God is right!


Flea said...

I'm sure he'll be pleased and surprised at how quickly he gains that muscle mass. He sounds very determined. He also sounds determined to find his way back to the bike. Goals are so important. :)

Connie Pombo said...

Oh yes, determined is the perfect description of my hubby! When the physical therapist says, "Do 10 reps; he does 20!" Oh my!

He's making great progress!


Susan Kelly Skitt said...

How awesome Connie. I'm sure it meant so much to your hubby!

BTW - I got a brochure in the mail the other day for guess where? Mt. Gretna - no kidding! We still have to set a date for that, okay? It looks like loads of fun!

Connie Pombo said...

Hey Susan,

How's your summer going? Mine is sliding by. Mark is actually fishin' this morning with our neighbor. When he's gone, I try to get some "work" done.

Let me know some dates you are available for Gretna--okay?



Linda said...

Hi, 1st time here. I'm inspired by this very first post. I'm not sure where you are, but it sure sounds lovely. I'm a mom of three teenagers, and where you are sounds like a lovely getaway for moms and dads!

Connie Pombo said...


Thanks for stopping by.

Yes, Mt. Gretna is an amazing place: a step back in time. After a day there, I feel like I've been on vacation for a week. It was virtually undiscovered until there was a big write-up in one of the national magazines about two years ago, and now tourists flock there every summer. The locals have not enjoyed the publicity and now have to share their little piece of heaven on earth with the rest of us.

Mt. Gretna is located in Lebanon County (Pennsylvania), about a 20-minute drive from Hershey, PA.