Holding Mariah in the Light

July 16, 2008

The pace in southern Virginia is slower than in Washington, the breeze a gentle caress infused with the scent of flowering trees. It’s the easiest thing in the whole wide world to rest in a moment and simply be peace. Drawing an unhurried breath at last, Mariah is clearly visible as an ethereal spirit waiting.

Holding Mariah in the Light (McGuire VA, 7/16/08)

Holding Mariah in the Light (McGuire VA Rehab, 7/16/08)

Over the connection with hundreds of people who take a moment to love and hope and pray for Mariah flows the support so critical for her reemergence. The other critical element, strength, comes from deep within her own soul. It’s my great honor and privilege to be able to look into her eyes and feel that remarkable spirit at work. We who are physically present with her are often rewarded by the radiant smile that accompanies each success.

Today, Mariah was asked by her new speech pathologist whether her Dad’s name is Bob. She lifted her left arm and hand, extended her index finger and pushed it against a piece of paper on which were written “Yes” and “No”. Initially touching “Yes”, she clearly intended to move her finger across the sheet to “No”, but could not. We waited while literally all the muscles in her body struggled to unstick her arm and hand. Wondering if she might give up, her finger suddenly jumped across the page and stabbed triumphantly at “No”. Then came The Smile of pure joy and accomplishment, followed quickly by celebration and the sober moment of realization about the cost.

On a lighter note, Mariah was excited to learn that kayaking is part of physical and recreational therapy. First in the hospital pool, then in the James River. Her paddles are still in the cargo hold of her Subaru Outback.

And the VA Medical Center continues to amaze. Walking through the cavernous main floor past the shopping mall on my way to the cafeteria for a lunchtime Cobb salad, I thought I heard Christmas carols. Pictured here was today’s lunchtime floor show. (Click to enlarge.)

Lunchtime Floor Show (McGuire VA Rehab, 7/16/08)

Lunchtime Floor Show (McGuire VA Rehab, 7/16/08)

Mail for Mariah can be sent to:

Richmond VA Medical Center
Attention: Mariah Kochavi (2B)
1201 Broad Rock Blvd.
Richmond, VA 23249

Potential visitors, please contact Mom or Dad to coordinate since Mariah is booked from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm Monday through Friday, and until noon on Saturday.

– Mark


5 Responses to “Holding Mariah in the Light”

  1. Wayne Smith said

    What a beautiful picture of Mariah at McGuire V.A. Rehab. The slow pace and pretty trees are our pride and joy in Virginia. It’s a nice place for Mariah’s reemergence.

    :>) Counsin Wayne

  2. Ben McCashland, Dog Handler DHS said

    How do we contact Mom and Dad to arrange a visit?

  3. Don Summerfield said

    Hi Mariah,
    My name is Don Summerfield, I am a 6 year stroke survivor. I wish you and yours well.
    Contact me if you would like!
    Never Give Up Hope,
    Don Summerfield

  4. Marsha said

    Mariah – I am wearing a bag on my head as I type this. Hope you enjoyed dinner with Clay.

  5. Beth & everyone at ft meade said

    Hey Mariah
    We miss you here at Meade!
    Just remember you are constantly in all of our thoughts and prayers
    Love from all of us at fort meade

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