It’s long overdue I get back on here and talk to all of you about what is vibrating in my heart. My brother, Mark, passed away nearly three months ago after years of dealing with leukemia and other maladies that challenged his once athletic body. Mark was an older brother you looked up to when, as a little boy of 6, I watched him bring people to their feet with his football heroics in high school. back then, teams wore metal cleats on their game shoes and one day, in an attempt to stop my brother from scoring touchdowns, they tackled him, and in the scrum, tore off his helmet, stepping on his face. He was carried to the sideline with multiple puncture wounds. Hearing me and our sister crying for him nearby in the stands, he rose from the stretcher, and shouted to my mom to “get those brats outa here!” He didn’t want to hear people crying for him. After the doctor cleaned up his wounds he insisted on being put back in the game, took the ball in the next play and ran the length of the field for a touchdown. That was how he answered setbacks, with action. That same determination would be part of him as he went onto a career in science, working with NASA, creating carbon monoxide alarms and working with international scientists to foster greater understanding. He also loved the water and sailing, including spending time with the explorer, Jacques Cousteau, investigating underwater caves. Mark always found a way to expand his horizons. In his last years, he asked me to help guide him as he turned his attention to writing, producing a sci-fi trilogy that combined his interest in science, space, and the possibilities of tomorrow. (The 30th Century Trilogy) It was a fulfillment of his passion and the source of great joy to work with his mind and creativity, even through the challenges being visited on his body and spirit.
I know each of us is visited by challenges, some physical, some that confront our souls, often both. Our openness to work through pain and discover creativity in the midst of setbacks, is one way to own the moments of our lives. I have sought to explore that character trait in my novels and, no doubt, feel my brother’s presence in the current novel I am writing. At the end of my dad’s life many years ago, he was struggling with emphysema (another reason I never smoked). He and my mom were visiting Mark at his home in Hawaii. My dad peered out the window at a gorgeous sunset taking place near the volcano out in the bay. He expressed a wish to see that sunset but his legs wouldn’t let him. My brother Mark said, simply,” We’ll get you there, Dad,” lifting him up in his arms and carrying him outside to the ledge from where they could look out at the beauty of a rose-fire Hawaii sunset.
We each have the power to bring beauty to others as they struggle and that’s one of the blessings my brother passes on to me. Wishing you Mark’s perseverance and his kind of passionate living!