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Memories And Reflections Of My Brother

Updated on January 6, 2012

I'm not sure where to start. I guess I'll start from the beginning, since all stories have a begin-

ning. I was born about 4 1/2 years after my brother, Mark. After I was born, we started-out in a

small white house, in a small town called Markleville. We lived next-door to our grandparent's

(on our mother's side). I don't remember much, if anything, from when I was a baby. However,

I've seen many pictures. Mom was proud to get pictures of her two kids-both seperately and

together. Mark was a cute little boy ; and I understand that he liked to play cowboys and

indians. He also was an onry little boy; and one could see it in his pictures.

At the age of almost 4 and my brother 8, tradgedy struck our family. Our loving dad pass-

ed away at the age of 39. He died from complications of an ulcer. It was a rough time for our

mother. And Mark and I were both affected in many ways. It was a tremendous loss and disap-

pointment for my brother. I think it caused a lot of anger in him, at times. And, in some ways,

I think it really affected him tremendously, off-and-on, all his life. I was also very much affected.

However, I just didn't talk about it for many years. I kept it all on the inside. Pretended like it

didn't bother me. But inside, I was hurting-more than I even realized.

During my pre-school years, my brother had already started elementary school. He went

from cowboys and indians to playing basketball, baseball, and whiffle ball.

I was starting to get bored. I wanted to go to school, like my brother. When I was about 4 or

5, I got to go school with my brother, and sit with him, at his desk. It was one of those old

wooden connected desks. A lot of kids in the classroom looked at me like I was really special

----and cute. And, I'm sure I did feel pretty special, sitting among all those "big" kids.

The school we went to was a small-town school, with all 12 grades in them. It was called

"Markleville School". For many years, all ages of kids attended this school. When I was in the

first grade, and my brother was in the 6th grade, his classroom was upstairs, where all the

"big" kids had class. One day we grabbed the wrong lunches; and I had to make my way up-

stairs, to my brother's classroom. He insisted that we didn't get our lunches mixed-up and was

really aggravated at me for telling him that we did. He seemed very annoyed with me.

And, I think I was a little humiliated myself. But I guess, to him, I was just the annoying little

sister.

Fifth grade was the year that my brother started to play basketball, on the school team.

Mom and I would go to his games, quite often. For entertainment, we'd go to Anderson(a

nearby city) on Friday nights, to shop and go out to eat. Our family of three was small, but

we were happy! We meant the world to each other. Sometimes we went to the "Lemon Drop"

restaurant in Anderson. The home of great onionburgers , fries, and milkshakes. These

were simple things; but it was a simple time.

When I was 8 and my brother was 13, we all went on a trip to Gatlinburg, TN, for the first

time. This was our first major vacation; and we all had a great time, just the three of us.


My brother and I did have our share of fights, like any brother and sister. We also had a dog,

named "Poke", who followed us kids everywhere!

When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, we moved into our grandparent's home, which was next

door. Our grandma had died of cancer a few years earlier. And, our grandpa had re-married a

nice older lady, with no children or grandchildren. He sold his home to us. This home had a

nice big porch, with a nice swing on one side. My mother was a good provider, who had gotten

a nice office job with Guide division, in Anderson, IN.

Mark was able to attend Markleville School until the end of his freshman year. The school

had consolidated with another school system; and he now attended this bigger, new high-

school.

The summer before my 7th grade, we sold our home and moved to another street in

Markleville. My brother was now a senior in high-school.

My brother was really disappointed about not being able to play basketball when he start-

ed attending the newer high-school. However, at that time, he was skinny and short; and in

the politics of basketball, size "does" matter, especially in a bigger school. And, I remember

our family having to deal with this big disappointment.

After my brother graduated from high-school, he decided to go to college, to study crimi-

nal justice. He first attended Ball State University, in Muncie, IN. He later decided to transfer to

Vincennes University, in Vincennes, IN. Quite often, mom and I would make the long drive to

Vincennes, to visit my brother. This was fun and exciting, especially since Vincennes has some

interesting historical sights to visit, as well.

However, my brother decided to drop-out of college, and decided to go into insurance.

He had some insurance jobs, eventually having his own insurance agency. He done very

well for himself in this chosen career.

Around the age of 16, my mother had started dating a man from a nearby town. And, they

seemed to click right-away. This man had two daughters, from a previous marriage. One

was about the same age as Mark; and the older one was a few years older. I clicked with this

new father-figure almost instantly. However, I think Mark was jealous of him. After-all, for many

years, he had been the "man of the house". This was the only man mom had actually dated

since our dad died. I think one reason is that mom's top priority was us kids. And, I believe

she always put our happiness above her own! Mom and Gerald Lewis were married in the

summer of 1976.

We moved to a new home in a very pretty housing addition, which was in a rural-type area.

By this time, Mark had moved-out. And, my two step-sisters were also out on their own.

For awhile, my brother lived and worked in Clearwater, FL. As part of a graduation present

from high-school, to myself, a cousin and I flew to Florida to visit my brother for a week. We

stayed in his apartment; and, I think he probably enjoyed my cousin and I cooking for him.

Gradually Mark got into working as an independent insurance agent and also started

having rental properties. Through the years he also grew to really love our step-father.

Mark had dated a lot of girls through the years; but, in his early 30's, he married. They

soon had a baby girl; and a few years later another girl came along.

My brother and I have been through many things together. Our dad's death, when we were

little. The deaths of our grandparent's. Our mother's death, over ten years before my brother,

Mark. And, our step-father, who passed away almost four years before Mark.

I know that our mother's death very much affected Mark. He had missed mom so much

through the years. And, when our step-father died, I know his heart was torn-apart once-

again.

So, here we are to now; and you're gone my beloved brother. As I write this, it all seems to

be still so unreal. If I could have brought you back to life that Thursday night, I would have.

In fact, after I heard that you were dead, I asked God if He could bring you back to life. But,

His answer was, "not this time." I even wondered, at first, if the hospital had made a mistake.

The last time I saw you was about a week before you died. Me, Bobby(my husband), our

two boys, and you and Kim(his wife) all gathered at the Pizza Hut to share one last meal to-

gether. When we parted, from that moment on, I had you on my heart, for some reason.

We thought you might be getting better, there in that hospital room; but, death took you, so

suddenly, like a thief in the night.

I wish I could have been there, by your bedside, to tell you that I love you; but I'm telling you

now.

I had the privelege of knowing you for 48 years. In adulthood, many times I didn't agree with

you; and sometimes you got on my nerves, but you're still my brother-----stubborn and more

bull-headed as ever!!

I want you to know that I'll never forget the memories. My mind especially goes back to

childhood where, at one point, you were even my babysitter!

I know your wife and kids meant the world to you. Fourty-eight years seems so short, and

even a shorter time for your family. A much shorter time. However, in the light of eternity, it's

only a spot; and, I hope to see you at that great reunion, when it's my time to go.

I can only imagine the look on your face, and the pure joy, seeing mom, our dad, and our

step-father, after so many years! And many other friends and loved ones. I love you Mark;

and I always will.

See you in paradise my dear brother. See you in paradise.

In Conclusion:

Most of this hub was read as a eulogy at my brother's funeral. My brother passed-away sud-

denly from complications of excessive high blood pressure. My guess is that he probably had

this problem for atleast ten years, maybe longer. He never talked about it much. But I know that

many years ago, he went to the emergency room because of blood pressure problems.

Even though he worked in the insurance business and should have known better, he hardly

ever went to see a doctor. He didn't trust doctor's because of how our dad had passed-away

from complications of an ulcer. For many years he got acupuncture, thinking that would cure

his blood pressure.

My brother was a handsome man and appeared to be the picture of health. He walked

many miles every week with his golden retriever. And, he watched his weight and what he

ate.

It was in October when the call came from my sister-in-law(his wife). She called to let us

know that Mark was in St. Vincent's Hospital, in Indianapolis. He told his wife early that morn-

ing to take him to the emergency room---that he couldn't breathe. And, for him to say that, I

know that he must have not been doing too well at all.

Upon examining my brother, he was found to not only have excessive high blood pressure,

but also pneumonia and congestive heart failure as well. He was very sick, and didn't know it.

He appeared to be getting better; and, for a while, I was encouraged. However, that was short-

lived. It was his second night in the hospital. We had gone to bed, but I couldn't sleep. Then,

there was a call at 11:30. My husband answered the phone. When he got off the phone he

told me that he didn't know how to tell me this. And, I knew then what the news was before

he finished the sentence. My brother had passed-away. I immediately got up and just started

shaking. I called an aunt and uncle in Markleville, and just kept on talking. I told my aunt that

if I didn't keep on talking that I didn't know what else I would do with myself.

The following morning, we went to my brother's house. His wife wasn't there, but a cousin

and his wife were there, to be there in case anyone came, while my sister-in-law took care

of things. I knew as soon as I saw them that it was all true. There was no mistake. It actually

happened.

Mark apparently died of an embolism and sudden cardiac arrest, after he was transferred

to the heart hospital next door to St. Vincent's, where they were going to put a pacemaker in

him.

Of course, I'm much better now. And, I know my brother watches over us. I don't think he

had any idea.

My message to others is to never ignore high blood pressure! It is a silent killer. I now have

some problems with my blood pressure; and I monitor it and take my medicine.

I met up with a classmate many months back; and she told me that her husband had pas-

sed-away in his mid-forties. I was surprised. She proceeded to tell me that he was jogging and

collapsed in the front yard. Sudden death. His wife and kids also tried and tried to get him to

go to the doctor.

No one is invincible.

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