It has been an arduous journey for Mark Bonis. It is been equally as challenging for Marc Bonis.
The father and son have shared the bond of father and son since the latter’s birth two years ago.
The father and son have shared the bond of the same name for a third generation, though the spelling is slightly altered.
The father and son have shared the bond of facing adversity, even death, in squarely in the face and won the stare-down.
Now, their lives, unequivocally, are looking up.
Dad went through the difficulty of nearly losing his life in December of last year after suffering a ruptured abdominal aorta.
Emergency surgery led to a hard, strenuous rehabilitation and recovery.
As a guest on All Access on 106.1 FM Monday night, the Brother Martin head football coach talked about the coronavirus pandemic, working through challenges with his players and his family life, including the healing process of father and son.
When I called Bonis to set up the interview, he was outside playing softball with his twin daughters.
“I feel very good about things,” Bonis said. “After surgery, I was going to cardiac rehab three or four times a week and was really attacking it. I know I made people nervous with the way I was doing rehab but I told them that I was going to push it because I knew that if anything happened to me, I knew the hospital was right next door. They used to laugh. It used to make them nervous.”
Bonis was able to return back to school about seven weeks after the surgery.
The rehab ended in the middle of March. Bonis continues to follow the plan rigorously at home as the healing process continues.
“I think I’ve worked myself back to being 100 percent,” Bonis said. “I’m a lot more cognizant of things. I feel very good. I’m excited about the upcoming season. I think the officials will be excited because they think I’m going to be a little bit calmer on the sideline.”
Now, dad is back coaching his Crusader team, a true father figure to his players.
Bonis feels God has given him a second chance at life.
“I can tell you I feel very blessed every day,” Bonis said. “It is a very humbling story for me to be here still after what happened is truly amazing and there’s only one answer to it and that’s the good Lord above. It makes me now truly prioritize things. I am very blessed. My twin girls are now seven. I’m getting to spend more time with them and my wife, who has been a tremendous teammate to everything we have gone through.
“We wouldn’t be here without all the prayers and without all the support of our family and our friends and we cannot thank people enough.”
Son was born with omphalocele, a very rare birth defect in which the intestines and/or other organs are situated outside of the body due to a hole in the navel area.
Nearly three weeks ago, “Mighty Marc” once again lived up to his moniker, undergoing surgery to correct the abnormality in placing organs back in his body.
The very thought is hard to fathom, envision, imagine, unless you are Mark and Rebecca Bonis. The procedure lasted nearly six hours. It was a successful process.
The loving parents had been waiting for this day for two years. It came. It passed. Mighty Marc passed with flying colors before the family flew home and are back home in Slidell now, all smiles.
“To going from being told that your son’s not going to make it early on to where he is now is just absolutely unbelievable,” Bonis said. “He went through his surgery up in Boston three weeks ago. He’s already home. He’s basically fully recovered and is acting as any normal two-year-old boy would. It’s absolutely amazing. It’s crazy to see how tough of a young guy that he is.”
Through it all, one mannerism of the son has brightened the father’s days.
“The best thing about is that 90 percent of the time, he has a smile on his face,” Bonis said.
It has been the best of times and the worst of times for the family.
The pain of father and son, mother losing her job, followed by a pandemic which made the surgery difficult to obtain (along with travel). Then, there was the inability to meet with his football team and to conduct normal offseason training activities.
Bonis has always referred to his style, his system of coaching as “the process.”
It involves never focusing so much on others, including opponents, as focusing on yourselves to be the very best you can be.
The reminder of 2019 and 2020 will live on hopefully, for many, many years for Mark and Mighty Marc. The memory will always be there as both have matching scars to show for their harrowing experiences, a stark reminder of where they once were and how far they have progressed from depression to delight.
Since meeting and becoming friends, Mark has always called me “Mr. Trahan.”
Of course, that comes out of respect, no doubt part of the character instilled in him by his parents.
Of course, I cringe when I hear the reference as it makes me feel old and none of us want to accept that moniker.
Watching what Mark and Mighty Marc have endured, it would seem more appropriate for me to call each of them Mr. Bonis. They have earned it.
“To have all of his organs born outside of his body, have them put back in and three weeks later to be acting the way that he is with a big smile on his face and playing with his sisters, you’ve got to know that God has had a hand in this and has helped us tremendously throughout this process.
He’s one tough little guy, I can tell you that,” Bonis said. “He’s much tougher than I am. At least he gets his toughness from his mom. At least, that’s what she tells me.”
Their names, their scars and their perseverance will bond them for a lifetime, all part of the process.