As most of you know, my brother’s struggle continues. It has been a full 10 months now. He is in a daily fight for his life–against the doctors, the “statistics”, the false prophecies. I believe that he will get better–but he needs time and positivity and time and love and time… He still has a bedsore, a trache, a feeding tube. He’s recently recovering from his second bout of pneumonia. For those of you who know Mark–you are well aware how strong, how tough and how stubborn he is. If anyone can get through this, it is him…
Meanwhile he has a beautiful (inside and out) wife and two amazing children. Even his cat is cool. As you can imagine this is taking their lives for a whirl and though Mark is most certainly suffering more than any of us, they are next in line.
To see his kids smooching and hugging on him is heartbreaking–Sonja taking Mark’s arm and putting it around her so that daddy is “hugging” her. Alex showing Mark the stick pictures he draws of the family. Mark’s stick figure–big (as big as a stick figure can be) and smiling a huge smile–no hair of course. And then Alex saying, “Daddy says he likes my picture.” “Of course he does,” I say. Because, of course he does.
Mark’s wife, less than 1/2 is size–moving him, dressing him, washing him, feeding him–she is loyal and sensitive and warm and feisty–a force to be reckoned with–and though Mark’s accident and present physical condition is sad, frustrating, difficult and unlucky–he is at the same time blessed by the universe (or whatever you may call it) and lucky, even, to have that woman by his side, those kids, his cat, even his caretaker. He is surrounded by love.
I spent 30 days straight with my brother in April and I know for a fact–100%–no doubt–that Mark is “in there” and aware. Maybe his clarity comes in waves, but it comes. And he is trying. I saw it–the determination. And though there is such a long way to go, there are so many small steps to be thankful for…Mark can hold his head up (not always, but often), he can swallow–even food the consistency of apple sauce, he can cough up his own phlegm, move his left arm, has started moving his right arm/hand even more. And recently, when talking to his wife, she was so excited because Mark had moved his body and also his legs.
Before I left Taiwan, I had a long talk with my big brother. We were sitting by a window in the hospital that overlooks these huge, green, flowing hills. I was telling him I am 100% sure that he will get better, that it’s going to take a very long time, but it will happen–no doubt–that he just needs to believe it is possible…to not concentrate on the overwhelming mass of things he cannot do, but on the building group of things he can. If we get stuck on that which we cannot do, the qualities we’re not happy with–there is no possibility for change. We end up miserable and never get anywhere. But, if we concentrate our thoughts on the positive things about ourselves, those things that we can and are accomplishing, all is possible and those good things will continue to multiply. I made it clear that I had the utmost faith in him, that if anyone could come out of this shining it would be Mark Selikoff. I promised him that we would be there for him the whole way–maybe in shifts, maybe in spirit, but definitely there. I told him I loved him.
As most of you know, my brother cannot yet speak, but he found his own way…he reached up and grabbed my hand.
Mark’s medical costs continue to add up. He has a 24 hour caregiver that is not covered under insurance and we are about to hire a second as he truly needs two people to take care of him properly. His two children go to paid schools, they have their apartment, etc. His wife works full time trying to do it all. Some of you have donated to the family…
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Our family would like to thank you sincerely for your generosity.
Many in America have asked how and what to donate to the family. I have opened up an account in my brother’s name (for the benefit of Mark Selikoff) so those stateside can do so easily.
Mom will be returning to Taiwan on Tuesday, August 7th for at least two months. If you have pictures, CDs and DVDs–of videos or music–personal or otherwise, letters, physical therapy gadgets, etc.–please send them or drop them off with my mom so that she may take them with her. My brother needs the stimulation.
If you want to call and talk to Mark, please get in contact with my mom or me and we will give you a number to do so.
I know it can be uncomfortable to talk without being spoken to, but do it anyway. Call and tell Mark about your day, your family, your life. He can hear, I assure you. Please help me to restore some normalcy to his life.
For those of you who know doctors, neurologists, rehab centers, etc…Help us help him.
If any of you know of an organization or charity that may be able to help my brother and his family, please pass that information along.
Most of all…
Keep praying, meditating, sending good vibes out to the universe. I like to believe that time and space are an illusion. You don’t have to be sitting next to Mark to tell him he will get better, to tell him you love him, to hold his hand.
Find a different way to speak.
Mark’s little sister…Rachel
Updated information, pictures and videos of Mark can be found on his personal website-- www.onionsack.org.
For those of you wanting to send things along with Mom, please remember she leaves on the 7th of August. Her address is 104 Shoshoni Trail, Apple Valley, MN 55124.
If you have any questions for me, I can be reached by phone at 612.804.5327 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information for Mark’s account in [color=darkred]Taiwan:[/color] Bank: Union Bank of Taiwan North Chung Li Branch Swift: UBOTTWTP Name: Huang Sang Ya Account Number: 060 500 124 442
Information for Mark’s account in [color=darkred]Minnesota:[/color] Bank: Wings Financial FCU in Apple Valley Name: For the Benefit of Mark Selikoff Account Number: 0100015755 Routing Number: 296076152 Phone Number: 952.997.8000