Rememberting my Son, Mark
He was born on the 28th of December, soon after I arrived at the hospital. (I finished watching the entire episode of Perry Mason though before I was willing to leave.)
My mom and dad had our girls because they'd both come down with chicken pox and the doctor said it would be best for them to stay away until they were well.
Hubby was so proud to finally have a boy and ran around handing out cigars. (Do they still do that? He gave doughtnuts out for the girls.)
Mark was a really good baby. Of course I have lots of great memories of his growing up years. When he was around three, we had a birthday party for him and at first every gift he opened was clothes. When he got to the first toy he got up, took it into his bedroom and we didn't see him again until it was time for the cake and ice cream. For a long time we celebrated his birthday on the 28th of June. One of his birthdays we put a tent up in the backyard and all of his friends slept over, except sometime in the night, they all brought their sleeping bags inside and finished up on the living room floor. When he became a teenager he told start celebrating on the right day.
He was in Cub Scouts and Indian Guides.
By the time he was 12 he had his first job as a dishwasher in a friend's restaurant. That was something about Mark everyone remembers, though he had a difficult time in school, he always managed to have a job. When he graduated from 8th grade, he wanted to learn how to read better and he paid for tutor.
During the summer months he often went out on a fishing boat really early in the morning (I had no idea he was doing this for a long time) and he'd filet fish for the fisherman and got paid for doing it.
While still in high school, he worked as a janitor on the Hueneme Seabee base.
He got married and became a father while he was still a teen. Unfortunately, the marriage didn't last and he no longer was able to see his son.
Some of the many jobs he had were being a janitor in a hospital (and in this particular hospital they were short-handed one night, only one nurse on duty and he assisted with a birth), made doughnuts at Winchell's, he worked as a carpenter and repairman for a condo complex, did landscape work at a golf course, drove a bus for traveling camp for developmentally disabled children and adults, drove a bus for a sheltered workshop, worked as staff for several care homes, was a fork-lift driver and mechanic for Wal-Mart Distribution Center, and his last job was as a fork-lift driver for a corrugated box company.
He met a wonderful woman with three grammar school age children and they married. He loved those kids like they were own--and even became a very young grandpa. They bought their own home, tiny little place, but oh, how he loved it. It had once been a walnut grove with still lots of walnuts on it and he learned how to harvest and sell them.
Church was important to him, and for awhile he sang in the choir. He had a good voice and could remember the words to all his favorite songs. He was also an artist, able to draw most anything.
One of Mark's biggest attributes was he was happy with whatever he had. He never drove a new car, but he loved the old cars and trucks he did have and knew how to work on them. He and his wife didn't have a lot of possessions, but what they did have he enjoyed. He never envied anyone.
He began having back trouble and finally, after visiting several doctors, he learned he had a form of cancer called multiple myeloma. There is treatment (chemo) but no cure and most people die within 7 years of diagnosis. Mark was one of the youngest ever to have this form of cancer. He underwent the treatment which was really hard on him.
Because his wife had to continue working to keep their medical insurance, he came to stay with us from Sunday night through Thursday. I cherish those days and nights he was with us. When he felt good enough, we'd take him to the movies during the day and out to lunch. He couldn't eat much, but he did love going out to eat.
Mark's wife, his oldest step-daughter and I were with Mark in the hospital when he finally left this world. For the first time since his illness, he looked at peace. My prayers were answered, Mark was healed.
One thing I know, is one day I'll see my son again.