The Sixth Annual Jeffrey J. Mabon Memorial Event was held on July 21, 2012 . At left you see Jeff loading his bicycle onto the car rack in July, 2006. A quiet and unassuming man, he would have squirmed under this spotlight. Nevertheless, he would have been honored and humbled by the outpouring of love and support. While it began as a bicycle ride, it evolved into a hike along the trails Jeff once cycled in North Park.
It is always a wonderful and uplifting day. This year we collected donations for the Friends of the Riverfront organization. I am truly grateful to everyone who participated and donated in Jeff’s memory. Did I mention how much we all enjoyed Bruster’s “Peanut Butter Puddles” ice cream after walking the trail? YUM!
This event was the brain child of Jeff’s friend and colleague, Russ. Russ is the person who introduced Jeff to cycling. They would ride along the riverfront, Hartwood Acres trails and North Park trails of Pittsburgh. Initially the reluctant cyclist, Jeff grew to love it. He later said it became an addiction. If only his heart could have kept pace with his enthusiasm.
The following passage from my unpublished memoir, Comfort Food discusses the impact of the event on the boys and me.
“I was surprised by how much the boys enjoyed the event. Many of their teammates and friends came, which was quite uplifting to both Andrew and Connor. Being 14 and 16, they typically would avoid the spotlight like the plague. Not this day. They actually told me later how much they liked it. I think this was because when you are grieving, you need to put that energy somewhere. You need to do something to stay sane. Because you feel helpless to change the situation, it feels good to take action of any kind. The memorial event was the perfect outlet for our grief. We were surrounded by people who loved and cared for us and we had the opportunity to donate to a worthy cause…Russ graciously allows us the privilege of choosing the beneficiary each year. This was another important step in our healing process. It may be cliche, but so true – when you help others, you actually help yourself. Thank you, Russ for this brilliant idea.”
Healing comes to us from many different directions. Keep your heart open to all the opportunities that come your way.