Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home. ~ Mohican Chief Aupumut, 1725

Ever notice that one doesn't grieve all at once?  It sort of leaks, seeping through weeks & months, then years, arriving unexpectedly when one is in the middle of something else entirely, living life ~ & surprising everyone, you not least of all.

Ever notice grief is like a mongrel dog hanging round long after you have tired of throwing him the scraps ~ & are even tireder of the emotional upheaval?  He has to be disciplined like an untrained puppy & brought to heel or he is impossible to live with.

Mark was my youngest brother ~ the one I distinctly remember suggesting my parents would be better off feeding to the sharks.  I already had one brother.  I didn't feel I needed any more.  Oldest sisters are like that sometimes.  Bossy.  And opinionated. Territorial.  I sensed I was outnumbered & there was no way to join the majority.

Besides Mark was impossible to live with.  He was noisy. Man, was he noisy!  He'd get up before the sun so he could go fishing & you'd lie tensely in bed waiting for every slammed door, the piercing whistle, the thunks & bumps & bangs ~ & even when the back door slammed behind him you knew it wasn't the end because he'd always forget something & be back!

We fought a lot.  I once tried to put his head through a wall & he tried his knife throwing skills on me.  Lack of anger management meant neither of us was terribly successful.  Mark was social.  I didn't want him being social with me; I'm not the social sort.  We did not get along.  At all.  For my sins I got a child just like him.  Blows me away sometimes.

I don't think anyone who ever met Mark ever forgot him.  He once returned a girlfriend well past her curfew due to the proverbial flat tire.  The next morning he arrived at her irate parents' dressed in sackcloth, sprinkled ashes over his head on their sparkling & pale coloured carpet while muttering, " Mea Culpea."  Surprisingly, they forgave him.  Carpet & daughter.

Out in the boat with Dearest & I one day he suddenly spotted a crab & simply went over the side after it.  Mark was like that.  People loved him for it.

He joined the navy because they promised to teach him to fly.  Well, they promised to let him fly.  He already had a light aircraft license.   Took him up for his first acrobatics lesson ~ the one where they expect all their novices to be violently ill.  Mark promptly made his instructor sick.  He was fine.  But we are talking about the lad who was the only body never to be ill at sea & once, to my father's immense angst, was sent into the cabin to make sandwiches [being the only body left standing] & returned with garlicky salami, pickles, ripe cheese...My father passed on the sandwiches but Mark wolfed the lot.  Anyway the navy eventually grounded him because Mark just couldn't see his way to actually doing the academics.  Anything sound familiar here?  So Mark said, "Nice knowing you..." & moved on.

He did take up flying as a career ~ crop~dusting out west in N.S.W.  The crop~dusters are yellow & Mark would borrow his for quick jaunts north to visit the folks & as he roared over Brisbane he would drop low over the coast & waggle his wings at us.  "That's Uncle Mark! That's Uncle Mark!" the kids would scream racing down the road to keep his plane in sight for as long as possible.

Yep, the pernicky little brother became a pretty decent adult.  We actually got on pretty well though Mark was a romantic & I was a historian so we were never going to see eye to eye over King Arthur & his Camelot.  Uh~uh.  Nope.  I think my version is more interesting; Mark thought the facts ruined a good story.

Then one morning he was gone.  Just like that.  I woke up to my mother's phone call telling me he'd gone down in his plane, another aeronautical statistic for which there are never going to be any answers.

2006 was a difficult Christmas but life moves on.  Even the deepest griefs have to give way to the imperatives of living.  Our house sits under the flight path for the light aircraft ~ which was enough to send Star & I into a tail spin but we've got used to it.  You can get used to anything given enough time ~ even little brother's dying before their time.

And then Alison posted on her FB wall that her master score for the Gothic went MIA with her luggage from her last trip & you know, Mark adored my girls.  He had a son he adored but he thought my girls were something special [& naturally they adored him] & I thought how much Mark would have loved everything about the Gothic.  It's bigness.  It's over~the~top~ness.  The drama & angst & the music.  It is just his sort of thing, like Handel's Messiah.  He would have egged Star on in her ditzy starry thing & cheered for Alison ~ & suddenly I miss him.    I do know heaven hasn't been anywhere near as quiet since he got there.


Bonnie said...

Oh Ganeida--what a beautiful post. It makes me miss him as well. I'm sure he celebrates in Heaven for those he left behind. Aren't brothers the best? Hope that your heart is not too heavy today. Hugs to you.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

I hope this Christmas is much better and the grief less raw. I saw Mark on your sidebar as a baby and now see the grown fella on an adventure in the water. :)

PS Since you have not blogged about his son, I am assuming you are not able to see him often?

Ganeida said...

Bonnei: My take is he's got Heaven hoppin'. lol The term ADD was invented for people like Mark.

MrsC: Helloa! Name change? Me likee. Yeah, isn't that sidebar pick a great pic? We rarely see my nephew. Different state & travelling is difficult to organise in this house with so many other comings & goings. Facebook is good for keeping in touch that way.

Ruby said...

VEry touching post, Ganeida xo
Time heals all wounds they say, but leaves a scar.

Julie said...

What a magnificent tribute to your brother, Ganeida. I'm so sorry you lost such a special person so young. I pray that as these memories surface, the pain lessens and the sweetness of heaven increases. Thank you for telling us about Mark.

Mary said...

Oh, that is so sad. I miss him, too, just reading this. So nice that he is not forgotten. Died doing what he liked best. Wishing he were still here with you.

Finding Joy said...

Thankyou for sharing this sad story, but at least you have many wonderful mamories of your brother.

seekingmyLord said...

I lost a brother too, but I was ten and he was nine. In fact he was born a year and two days after me, so we always shared a birthday celebration...not the kind of thing I did at the time with a happy heart. It is amazing how you miss the very things that irritated you before. Your childhood descriptions of Mark remind me much of my brother. I am looking forward to family reunions in heaven.

Sandra said...

Sudden, accidental death is very hard to cope with. And Mark sounds as if he was a on-of-a-kind personality. These people fill a room and they leave a large void as well. He would be pleased, I think, that you remember him, warts and all.

Duchess said...

Gosh...I hope you get my email. I swear, I did not read this post before I wrote to you. Promise.

Contrary to what is doesn't get any better. Leading up to this one, has been the hardest yet.

Mark would not want us to remember him so much as remember Who he stood for. I know that much.

Ganeida said...

Ruby: I've heard that too. Not sure I believe it. It's like shapeshifting. You think it's gone away & it resurfaces as something else.

Thanx Julie. ☺

MaryR. Helloa. I'm a lurker on your blog. Thank you for visiting mine. ☺

Jo: Yeah. Mark was a livewire.

Seeking: There's that twin thing again...

Sandra: you are so right on all counts. Everyone has a story to tell about Mark. Any gathering of people who knew him start outdoing each other with outrageous tales. lol

Duchess, my Duchess...Come visit us & chin wag. I swear it's like fighting a guerilla war. Suddenly ambushed does nothing for my tranquility of mind...♥

Pen Wilcock said...

"Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon. And a horizon is nothing but the limit of our sight."
(Raymond Rossiter)