Faces of Mariah

August 14, 2008

The easy stuff – healing one’s brain – is well underway. Mariah’s a professional in physical development, and she’s orchestrating her reemergence as only a brilliant and determined expert can.

The hard stuff – healing one’s psyche and spirit – isn’t as straightforward. There’s no machine, exercise, or protocol that picks up the pieces of a shattered youthful dream and restores them to wholeness and vitality.

Mariah is a deeply private woman accustomed to exercising considerable power over her self. Not only was she suddenly betrayed by her amazing body, robbed of speech, mobility, and strength, and confronted by a multitude of initially life-threatening and ultimately life-altering neurological and muscular insults. But she was also thrust into a spotlight that I imagine she despises.

Mariah’s caregivers and well-wishers are certainly motivated by love, and she needs every one of us on her side. Nevertheless, being invaded by needles, tubes, and chemicals, by concern, sympathy and interest, and certainly by fear and perhaps by doubts as well, Mariah is on utterly unfamiliar ground. In spite of her gifts and achievements, she is unskilled at being exposed, vulnerable, and dependent on others. (I imagine she puts up with this blog because it serves people she cares about.)

In eight weeks she has progressed from a state of partial paralysis to an early version of sitting, eating, talking, rolling around in the bed and pulling the covers up and pushing them off again. And from a state of cheerful compliance to occasionally curling up and covering her head, keeping her eyes shut for hours at a time, and refusing to participate in therapy. Mariah’s reemergence is gathering steam.

We had a good cry this week, reading Jill Bolte Taylor’s incredible My Stroke of Insight and feeling sorry first for the author, then for each other, and finally for ourselves.

Please, please, please keep holding Mariah in the light of your love. It means everything.

– Mark


5 Responses to “Faces of Mariah”

  1. Deb Weiner said

    Mariah and Mark,
    Please know that we at the UUA do continue to hold you BOTH in the light. We celebrate every move you make, whether it’s forward, sideways, or otherwise. Change — as one dear to me reminds me — does not always come in straight lines. So it is, and will be, with your emergence, Mariah. But change does come. We have been able to experience your struggle and your triumphs, through the eloquent writing of Mark (thank you!), we soak up the images, both still and animated, that have been posted on this blog. We are so glad for the love of Clay, your mom, members of the extended family and the military community. Keep strong, Marian – and Mark. Change will continue, and the warmth of our love will only grow as you keep on the journey.

    — Deb

  2. Grandma said

    Hi sweetheart
    I look for the posting every day. Seeing you pictures is the next best thing to being there. I sure wish I could give you a BIG hug and smackeroo.
    I have great faith that you will eventually win out over all odds. You keep the faith, too,won’t you?
    Everyone at the Free Clinic asks about every time I go in. The therapist is particularly interested in all your “contraptions”.
    Love you heaps and bushels. Grandma

  3. Aimee said


    You are such an inspiration to me, you have no idea. When ever I feel down, or I’m having a “bad” day, I don’t sit there and feel sorry for myself anymore. All I have to do, is look to you. You’re a shining example to me. Thinking about you, and all the progress you have made, puts me in a positive mood. Seeing you break through every goal given to you, smiling and laughing, gives me the strength I need to say to myself, “I can do this. This too shall pass. Sitting here wishing, isn’t going to change anything. DOING something about it, will change everything.” [I hope I’m not coming across as trying to belittle anything that you are going through. I’m not too good with words.] I’m trying to say that, well, watching your progress, it has really helped me to look at things in a more positive light. What could be more positive than all the progress you are making?

    I may not get the chance to write as often as I like, but believe me, I’m thinking about you often, and checking this website every day. Keep it up, I know you can do anything you put your mind to.

  4. Leah said

    I just wanted to thank you both, Mark and Mariah, for this blog so that I can stay in touch with Mariah’s progress. Stay strong Mariah!

    Care package in progress.

    Your #1 fan (I think many people would fight be for this title),


  5. Michele, Greenbelt Sarge Program said

    I ask about you all the time and we have incorporated some of your incredible stretches and moves into our morning routine, in fact the regulars know request can we do “it” the way Mariah showed us!!!

    You are such an incredible woman!!! A real inspriration to me!!!! Keep on plugging away, I look forward to your return to the Sarge Program, I believe in my heart that you will be back!!!!
    You are lifted in my prayers and thoughts everyday.


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