Wednesday, January 28, 2009
In Memory of Mark
As many of you know, the title of my blog (and my moniker), comes from the fact that I am the 5th (youngest) of 5 girls. What many do not know is that I had a little brother, just a year younger than me. Mark was such a cute and crazy kid. He lived life to the fullest. He was funny and had many friends. He also had a seizure disorder.
One night, way back in January of 1981, I was studying college chemistry at my mom's place (my parents had divorced a few years back and Mark and I still lived with Dad). It was getting late and I was about to leave when who should walk in but my brother and several of his friends. He had been drinking (a few beers...it was legal at that time for 18 year olds to consume "3.2" beer). I tried to be upset with him since alcohol and seizure medication do not mix. I couldn't. He was just so silly and charming that night. Mom was at work and would not be home until the next morning. She called and I told her the situation. She asked me to take care of Mark, so when his friends left I made up the bed for him, placing a trash bucket nearby in case of the heaves.
I wasn't feeling so well that night. I had a bad case of bronchitis. Mark was all settled in so I decided, instead of my mom's couch, I was going to go home (less than a mile away) and sleep in my own bed.
It was early the following morning and I was still asleep when the phone rang. I groggily answered. It was my mother's neighbor. He said something was terribly wrong with Mark. Still being foggy headed I ventured, "Oh, he's probably just hungover". He sternly replied, "No, something is really wrong. The ambulance is here and they are taking him to the hospital". I rushed to the hospital, which was only a few blocks away. Thankfully my mom's neighbor had placed other calls to the other family members that still lived in town.
My family gathered in the Emergency Room. I witnessed the paramedics bring my brother in, CPR in progress. Oh my God...this was really serious! They worked on Mark for what seemed like hours to no avail. My brother passed away that cold January morning.
What happened? When my mom came home that morning, she heard the bath water running. As she approached the bathroom, she saw the water coming through the door. She entered and found my brother submerged in the tub. (I can not even imagine the horror she must have felt) Our best guess is that he had a seizure, while bathing, and subsequently drowned.
To this day, I still feel guilty. Mom asked me to take care of him and I failed miserably. So many "what ifs".
On a positive note, my son is so very much like the uncle he never knew: silly with a crazy sense of humor. Here's to you, Mark. It's been 28 years...I still miss you!