I was the first child in my family to see Mark. I still remember the day so clearly. I was five years old. I rode in the taxi with Mom over to a house I had never seen before. I didn’t realize the woman was a foster parent to whom Mom had been lending a helping hand from time to time.
I noticed Mark as soon as I walked in the door. He looked like a doll sitting in the carrier seat in the middle of the kitchen table. It was love at first site!
Mark had big brown eyes, a round face, and the cutest little dimples I had ever seen. He also had casts that went up to his thighs. I’m not sure if it was his contagious smile, or the fact that he was crippled, that stirred my heart the most. I just knew that I wanted to keep him forever!
Today is Mark’s birthday. It would have been his 47th. I have thought about him all day long. As I look across the hall I can remember him breaking his casts against his crib at six months of age. Even then, he was determined to not be confined to the limitations that had been placed on him. Many casts, leg braces, a few surgeries, and a whole lot of prayer later, Mark not only walked–he ran.
Mark learned a myriad of skills, raised two wonderful children, and helped all with whom he came in contact. He was known for both his giving heart and his resilient spirit.
Tonight, I happened to glance at the door jam when I was putting my clothes away and saw Mark’s initials carved in the wood. My heart melted all over again.
When I first saw Mark I wanted to keep him forever. Now, I wanted to cut out his initials and keep them forever.
My baby brother’s memory will be forever carved in my heart. As I traced Mark’s initials with my finger, I thought about his casts and his courage, especially when he was battling cancer. Then I thought back to when I first saw him. I had been told then that he would probably never walk. He didn’t just walk—HE RAN!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 timothy 4:7NIV).
Happy 1st Birthday in Heaven, Baby Brother!