Grandma says that she really wondered what we were going to do with child “like that” when she and Grandpa brought Mark home from the hospital as a baby. None of us had any idea of what was in store for our family.
Mark was here on a mission, on loan from God, seeking to share his ability – physically gifted with Down’s syndrome. He showed us all how to truly live. He always told us the truth about just what he needed or wanted which made taking care of him so much easier. He loved everybody unconditionally, all of the time – no strings attached.
Mark struggled with grace and dignity through the leg braces, the arthritis and then of all things the pancreatic cancer. All of the time, doing and giving whatever was asked and then doing so much more – reaching out to help the rest of us and lifting us up whenever we needed it. His courage, determination and optimistic spirit were incredible.
The things that brought Mark the most joy were simple and always meant to be shared – good country music, his passion for Cincinnati Reds baseball, the enjoyment of good food (even if it wasn’t always the healthiest choice) and the love of family and friends – so many more than he could ever count.
Mark believed in doing things right and in making people happy. His gentle demeanor was a quiet reminder of how Jesus wants us to live. Mark was simply the best teacher, one of the most powerful Christian examples of loving and caring we have ever known. Our family was blessed to have him, to share him.
No, we weren’t sure what we were every going to do with “a child like that”, but Mark and God know that he was here for a reason and he was going to show us how to really, truly live. We pray that none of us ever forget . . .
Three years have passed since Mark went home , and he would have celebrated his 38th lap around the sun today. The message he lived is still as fresh as ever –
Love God. Love people. Live it without exception.