Letter From Erica

22. October 2006

Dear Mark,

I would give anything to say these words to you in person.  It doesn’t yet seem real that you are gone- Mom and I keep waiting for you to call.  I’m so sorry you had to die so far from home and away from your family but I know- you know- you were loved.

We had a typical and untypical brother-sister relationship.  We bickered and fought like normal siblings do and Mark, if I could take back all the mean things I ever said to you, I would and give you just love.  The untypical part of our relationship was that we always had our most special family bond that could never be broken.  I think, because it was always just the three of us since daddy died, when you were just four- you, me and mom- even in the darkest moments we could relate to each other with humor and love.

Your life was too short, just 27 years, but you touched so many lives and accomplished so many things that many people don’t know.  You are by far the winningest person ever at the Grosse Pointe Farms fishing rodeo.  You were a great baseball player and I remember when your team won the championship and you were known as the “pitcher Killer” for your powerful swing.  I never saw you snowboard but I’m sure you threw all your athletic ability and determination into it and were awesome.

Not many people have had the opportunity to save lives- you have.  You saved Robbie’s life in the driveway.  If you were not there he would have bled to death.  You rescued people and Lake St Clair and just last week you ran to someone who was shot and took your shirt off and wrapped it around his bleeding hand.  These accomplishments are greater than most achieve in a lifetime far longer than yours.

In looking through pictures of us when we were kids over the last week, I noticed that I had my arm around you hugging you tight in so many.  It was harder to hug you as we got older but I am grateful for the last couple of years when we could have nice talks and tell each other that we loved each other.  I know that last time I talked with you on Saturday night, the last things we said to each other was “I love you”.  I take comfort in that.

You had a special and loving relationship with mom.  She loved you unconditionally and without compromise.  She never gave up on you.  She protected and defended you to everyone.  She had respect for you and always preserved your dignity even in the hardest days.  When you broke through the darkness and started over, no one was more proud than mom.  The letter you wrote to her apologizing for her pain and telling her how thankful you were for her and that you loved her brought her so much happiness.

I’m just so sorry that all the people who love and care about you don’t have anymore opportunities to tell you how important you were to them.  The gift that we can take with us now is knowing that you were a strong believer and a witness for the Lord.  You went to a church in Ft. Collins and even got up to speak.  You asked mom to send you your catechism and you spent time reading that and your bible.  Just a few months ago you told mom that despite everything, you knew so clearly that you were loved by God.  These gifts you gave us, give us comfort to know that your soul is in heaven and at peace.

I promise to keep your memory alive and someday when I have kids, they will spend their summers fishing and I will tell them stories about their Uncle Mark.  I will also make sure that the people who knew you don’t think you had a life of pain and sadness.  I know you had more happy times in your life than sad ones and even in the end, Daddy and Jesus were with you and you were not alone.

Enjoy the peace you are now in.  I will take care of mom until we are all reunited again someday.  I love you so much and am so proud to have had you for my brother.

See you at the crossroads.