‘I Wave To All My Friends.’
From the moment the wonderful group of Polish Pearl Jam fans raised funds for GTL by donating proceeds of tshirts to Ewa’s walk and Veronika was nominated to receive a GTL show there have been countless messages of support and good wishes. Messages understanding that going to a show isn’t easy for everyone, messages honouring her journey. And so many of these written messages came to life in Krakow as people stopped by to say hi, people local and travelling fans who knew Veronika’s story.
Then after the show a group of Polish fans led us to a hotel car park to find the car that had one of Eddie Vedder’s tambourines from a previous show waiting for Veronika. This was her second gift after the show as Rob from PJ Radio had already handed her a McCready pick. New and old friends, the GTL community coming together throughout the day, the evening.
GTL can’t thank The Touring Tribe enough for their generosity, both for raising the funds that made this all possible and for their words of support and welcome for Veronika.
Everyone has their own story.
Everyone GTL has taken to a show has their story and Veronika is no different. As a single parent to a daughter with cerebral palsy and complex needs her story is deeply rooted in a need for time.
Time to take care of her daughter Viktoria, time to fill in forms asking for help with funds for equipment for Viktoria, time to get to the physio, the doctor, the next appointment, to rest, to sleep.
To sleep. Viktoria needs turning every 20/30 minutes every night. Every night for four years. Every time Veronika does the turning. Her excitement at having a night to sleep through was palpable, seven hours without waking to turn Viktoria. To sleep an uninterrupted sleep.
And Veronika is sore. Her back hurts from picking up Viktoria for everything, every day. Into bed, out of bed, into and out of the bath, the toilet, the car...everything. And on Sunday Veronika moves to Warsaw - not for a job opportunity, a relationship, an adventure in a new city but because there is the physio most suited to Viktoria’s needs. A physio that hopefully helps Viktoria to learn to feed herself, to be able to move from her chair by herself.
Timing, the timing of this show, of the first full night’s sleep in four years, of 24 hours to be Veronika.
Garden. I’d love to hear Garden. When we met up with Veronika she told us, again at lunch, to friends old and new...Garden. As the opening notes of Garden filled the arena we saw Veronika’s smile, we’re grateful the muse had given her such a gift.
And then, once it’s played she turns to us and says, ‘I can leave now’. But she didn’t, of course she didn’t. There was a lot more Pearl Jam left in Veronika’s evening and a couple of surprises as well.
We met early in the day and checked Veronika into her hotel so we had as much time for her as possible to enjoy her day, her day for herself. Her time to herself started with coffee on the balcony of her suite as the management kindly upgraded her. Then onto lunch (am I allowed a glass of wine this early? Yes!) for some great food, people watching, mentioning she hoped for Garden and searching the faces of anyone in a hat as the word was Mike McCready was in town nearby...in a hat!
A show that’s hers. When tickets come out seeing Pearl Jam, even though only half an hour drive away, was another thing on the list of can’t do anymore. The list that already includes giving up a career and work she loves, going out for dinner with friends, having time to herself. The show was a dream not worth dreaming about, how do you get time to see a band when you have a 4yo daughter with complex needs, forget about it is best as it saves disappointment.
But sometimes dreams do come true and there is Pearl Jam walking out on stage in front of you, the opening notes of Of The Girl prompting a dance that didn’t stop until Yellow Ledbetter had faded away into the Krakow night. A dance of freedom and joy.
So, so many thank yous to say for this trip...
The Touring Tribe, thank you for the support, the generosity of spirit and great kindness.
Everyone who said hello, sent a message or commented. They really do mean a lot.
Design Hotels Kraków, the INX, you made Veronika feel so special, so welcome. Thank you, thank you. If you get the chance to stay there...do! It really is a lovely hotel.
James, your poster drew gasps of delight and brought tears of beauty.
Ewa, an amazing and mindful assistant. Thank you bardzo.