When Kimberly Hill describes her husband, Mark, she does something she hasn't been able to do lately. She smiles.
"He was the type of musician who'd get on a 10-foot (public announcement) system and jump off," said Mrs. Hill, who is 27. "You couldn't tie him down."
Hill, 26, was on tour in Colorado Springs, Colo., with his band, Suicide Sadie, when his adventurous streak took a disastrous turn. On May 10, the band passed the Garden of the Gods, a city park filled with high sandstone rock formations.
Mrs. Hill said her husband probably could not resist the challenge of climbing those rocks. And while climbing without equipment, Hill fell 150 feet. His injuries include a brain hemorrhage, lacerated liver, a punctured lung, multiple fractures and paralysis on the right side of his body.
Mrs. Hill said her husband, now at St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs, occasionally opens his eyes but remains unresponsive. It is unclear how permanent the injuries will be.
"It's all in God's hands right now," said Mrs. Hill, who went to Colorado Springs soon after the accident. "There's not one thing we can do. The hardest is just trying to be patient."
Mrs. Hill had been living in her parents' Clearwater home with her two young daughters while Hill was on tour. Markie is 2 and Courtney, 5, is Mark's stepdaughter.
She taped pictures of the two blond little girls on the hospital room walls, just in case Hill awoke from his long sleep.
"We were hoping to save money to buy a house," Mrs. Hill said. "I was about to go back to school, back to work."
Now Mrs. Hill has to raise money to bring her husband to Florida to a rehabilitation center.
Hill's work as Suicide Sadie's guitarist was the family's sole income. And Mrs. Hill said they have no insurance.
"Your brain goes on overload," she said. "My family's been great. I know who my true friends are now."
Kimberly and Mark Hill were married a little over three years ago. They met at Boomerangs, a club in Clearwater. Hill, originally from Texas, was the guitarist in a band called D.
T. Roxx at the time.
It was love at first sight, Mrs. Hill said. They were married two months later.
"We were completely overwhelmed with each other," she said as one of those rare smiles spread across her face.
Fred Golpa, owner of the Rock-It Club in Tampa, has agreed to house a benefit concert for the Hills on July 25. Blackie Paima, a friend of the Hills who has organized the benefit, said they are now searching for bands to play at the concert.
"He was one of the best people, always very happy, always wanting to be on the edge of adventure," said Christine Williams, who shared a house with Hill in 1990. "It always happens to the good ones."
Mrs. Hill bridges the distance to her husband by wearing two gold rings around her neck on a delicate chain. One is Hill's baby ring, the other is his wedding ring, which was taken off after the accident.
"I told him I'd wear it until he can wear it again," she said while fingering the gold band.