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Memories

Today is my brother Mark's birthday.  Had he lived, he would have been 56.

Mark died when he was sixteen of what, at the time, they called "primary pulmonary hypertension."  I gather they call it something different these days, but either way it's very rare.  Basically, he had high blood pressure - but only in his lungs.  Because the pressure in his lung vessels was so high, oxygen couldn't penetrate.  I have a copy of his autopsy report - mom felt it was important for Bruce and I to have copies for medical history issues.  I tried to read it a few years back when the second family member had to have an aortic valve replaced and I was feeling a little insecure about my cardiac health.  It's much too dense in medical terminology for me to make heads or tails of - it will have to wait in the file until someone with a clue can explain it to me.

I don't know much about his illness.  I know that he was sick for a long time before mom and dad realized it, and I know that the doctor told her later that she shouldn't worry about that - the only difference it would have made was that they would have known that there was nothing they could do for him for that much longer.  I know that he spent a lot of time in the hospital in Rochester, because he was beyond the level of care our little local hospital could provide, and that mom drove back and forth a lot.  Obviously, I know that he died from it.

I don't remember him.  I remember a time when I did, but the memories themselves are gone - only their shadow remains.  It makes sense, as I was only one when he died in either 1970 or 71.  I'm told that he adored me - that since he couldn't do much at that point, he would sit and read to me so that mom could get things done around the house.  Somewhere in a box in the basement I have a stuffed animal that he got for me on an Easter-egg hunt type of thing either with the church or the boy scouts or something.  I gather that he got a hellacious case of poison ivy because he had to have it for me.

I wish I remembered.

I have lots of family stories about the scrapes that he and Bruce got into when they were little - all from mom.  Bruce doesn't talk about him.  Ever.  They were only two years apart, and their dad had died not that many years previously, so I can understand.  But I hope he's told his boys about their Uncle Mark - goodness knows *I've* gotten mileage out of the stories my mom has told me.  And if Charlotte had gotten a y chromosome instead of another x, that would have been her name.

So here's to my brother - he loved me, he played "Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles *incessantly,* and he wanted to be a marine biologist.

Happy birthday.

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
isabeau_lark
Oct. 6th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)

Hug!

vynehorn
Oct. 7th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
I'm glad that you're keeping him alive in your heart.
nazrynn
Oct. 7th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
Some family members are too wonderful to be forgotten, long after their footprints fade from this earth.
*hugs*
oocdc2
Oct. 7th, 2011 09:42 am (UTC)
Wow--beautiful tribute. Thank you!
kebbykate
Oct. 8th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing your brother Mark today.
galingale
Oct. 11th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
You've written a lovely tribute....and my heart is breaking.
I understand exactly what you mean about a shadow of memory. My father died when I was 10, and I'm losing more of him every year.

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )