Catching Up

March 15, 2009

Mariah and Clay (DC, 1/09)

Mariah and Clay (DC, 1/09)

After virtually living with Mariah in Washington and Richmond for most of six months, I’m finding it kind of tough to return to “normal” life. Back in Boston I rely on Clay’s nearly daily updates to keep me informed and aware of what’s going on in his sister’s – and his – life in Washington. (God bless you, Clay. You can’t know how much comfort I take in knowing your sister is in your caring and competent hands.)

She returned to Walter Reed in DC on December 11,  and since then I spent a week with her in December and again in January. Then just four days in February, and later this week another four days.

Cutting back has been a challenge. My concern for Mariah and now Clay as well sometimes blossoms into full-blown anxiety, especially when reports are dark with troubles. As hard as it was to sit by her side and watch her struggle, it’s harder to be hundreds of miles away and dogged by doubt and uncertainty for both of my brave, beautiful children.

I pray that Mariah will take heart in the old skills she has regained and the new ones she’s developing, and embrace her life with the commitment and determination that are the hallmarks her amazing story.

In the meantime, more often than not life goes on with plenty of humor and wonder and joy.

Here are the reminders of some of those from January.

Occupational Therapy (DC, 1/09)

Physical Therapy (DC, 1/09)

– Mark


March Madness

March 1, 2009




Oh yeah, it is basketball finals season.  I am so excited.  I love the Red Sox.  I don’t know anything about sports.  Just not that interested.  …Until this past weekend.  Mariah and I just came back from Gettysburg, PA, where we spent two full days skiing with a group of wounded warrior soldiers from here at Walter Reed.  Mariah spent Friday  morning skiing in a sit-down adaptive seat with an instructor attached and helping from behind.  I grabbed some beginner lessons and proceeded to eat snow drift down the side of a mountain.  We had a blast.  In the afternoon we went snow tubing together.  That was a sight-to-see, I am sure.  We went attached down the slope; Clay in front feet-first, Mariah in the middle feet-in-Clay’s ears, and instructor in back, laughing at both of us.  Our third time down, we picked up so much speed that the people “stopping” at the bottom couldn’t catch us and we sailed on through and about broke through the protective mesh fence at the far end of the course.  (That was the part where I crossed myself and thought, “I can see it now: ‘Yeah, Mariah and I had a great time.  Huh?  Where is she? Oh, I might’ve accidentally sent my sister off the side of the mountain in a rubber donut. Totally not my fault, though, the army should’ve kept a closer watch on her.’ ”   I have a whole bag full of outrageous excuses for why nothing is ever my fault.  I am a little brother, and we all carry one of those bags around.

The weekend was truly a gift.  If anyone reading this post happens to have a friend or family member or know someone who needs assistance for athletic sports, if you are in the area (Liberty Mountain Resort), check out “” first.  These guys (and gals!) have a phenomenal program for disabled people with visual, developmental, cognitive, and mobility impairments and provide great care and professionalism to getting people on the slopes and engaging in snow sports that they may have never thought possible.  Sorry for the advertisement, but this was a real memorable event and the folks who provided it are amazing.  

I was headed for a fairly tough intermediate level run this morning after hopping off the top of the lift when Manny and Mike (two of our one-legged skiers) hollered at me to turn left with them down the black diamond course that ran alongside.  I hollered out, “thanks but all three of us will have one leg by the time i fall down to the bottom of that run!”  They laughed and sped off.  Oh yeah, Mariah passed me on that blue-level course, and my instructors had just told me they didn’t believe I was a first-time skier considering my speed and ability to parallel and control, so I think Mariah could’ve been clocked at about 130 mph.  Is anyone surprised?  …Didn’t think so.     😉