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!

11 comments:

Willoughby said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your brother.

Gracey said...

I am very sorry to hear about your brother. I understand your guilt, but I hope that you stop hurting yourself with "whatifs". I don't know you very well, but from what I know you are a wonderful person, who cares and gives love on a daily basis. So, I think it's about time you found some comfort and stopped feeling guilty. It's nice that you remember your brother, though. I am sure that, wherever he is, he feels it and smiles.

L.B. said...

Oh Polly, how difficult life must have been for you and your family. I am so sorry that you had to deal with this. I can understand your feelings of guilt but at the same time I hope that it hasn't affected your daily life and that you've been able to manage those feelings.

My heart aches for you.

5thsister said...

I get emotional this time of year and around his birthday. If anything "good" could have come out of Mark's death it was this: it brought my sisters and I closer together and was the impetus for my professional and spiritual journey. Oh, I was a lost soul for many years but through the grace of our dear Lord, have been led down the right path for my life's particular adventure. Thank you for your kind words. I just don't want my brother to ever be forgotten and thank you for indulging me while I take this moment to honor and remember him. God bless!

thamesarino said...

wow... I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry that you still feel guilty. I know that you know that everything happens for a reason... it's figuring out that reason that is so hard at times...and I guess we are just suppose to know trust that the reason is somehow there.
thank you for sharing your story.... as gracey said I'm sure that your brother knows and feels it!

Raoulysgirl said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I am sure, however, that guilt is the last thing that your brother (or God) would want for you. Joy, rememberance, and love. Those are the things that I pray for you. I'm sure you've found them, but it never hurts to have an extra dose sent your way! I'm sending them with all of my might!!!

thrasherswife said...

Life's tragedies are hard to understand, but so much easier to know that we all have our moments of enduring them. Thank you for sharing this one with us. We now will all remember your brother as we think about your post, and see his face...

Lissaloo said...

What a beautiful memorial to your brother, I'm sorry for your loss. It must help to see such sweet resemblances in your son, it's hard to let go of those we Love.

Treasure said...

5th Sister, it's Jephy's mom. Thank you for sharing your story. It is scary how life can change so drastically, in the blink of an eye. Because you have faith, I know, you know, that you have more days to spend with your brother ahead of you, than you ever had while he was here on earth.

La Gitana said...

Polly....that is such a touching story and I am sure it probably took alot of courage for you to relate it. My heart goes out to you and your family....God bless...

♥♥ tuğçe♥♥ said...

Polly i am so sorry for ur loss but u shouldn't feel guilty u know well that we cannot have an enough power to prevent sth from happenning
God bless
loves and hugs

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