MMA, Mut 0

June 16, 1998 – January 31, 2007

I meant to do my work today……
By Mark, December 2006
 I meant to do my work today
But I day-dreamed of sand and castles
And saw a sky of blanket blue
I meant to do my work today
But I saw a bird warming her wings
And a cat laying, lazing in the sun
I meant to do my work today
But a Samba Band made me dance
Like a tree swaying in the breeze
I meant to do my work today
But a glassy river wound to the sea
Through land, with lush, green grass

A memory from Christine – Mark’s sister

There are so many memories. But to share one – it is symbolic of his fearlessness, his courage and his independence.
Refusing my assistance at Steephill Cove, Mark’s determination to clamber over the slippery rocks alone, infuriated me.  I was terrified that he would fall.

Of course, he never did fall. I resigned myself to sitting and watching him on his solitary journey.   He had a look of sheer concentration and utter peace in his eye, and was triumphant in his success.

I’ll never forget that moment when I realised how much he embraced life – throwing caution to the wind.

16 June 1998 – 31 January 2007

He was class humorist and joke-teller. He rode on the footplate of the Flying Scotsman and in the cab of a London Underground train. He flew to Cape Town, met Father Christmas in Lapland and experienced the London Eye. He was an expert on railways and food preparation (though he didn’t eat). He gave unconditional love to his parents, family members, neighbours, classmates, school staff, doctors and nurses. People sensed his loving, cheerful inner spirit, and often received his hugs. Nobody could help loving him back – even if he could be cheeky at home and a teeny bit work-shy at school.
For someone born with a severe form of a rare metabolic disorder, whose life expectancy was always uncertain, Mark packed a huge amount into eight and a half years. He has enjoyed doing lots of things; and more importantly, with his amazing maturity and sensitivity he has deeply touched many ordinary people. He coped with an abnormal condition but he was a normal kid. He was an ordinary little boy with extraordinary qualities.
Although we knew Mark was poorly, we were all very shocked by his sudden, (but peaceful) death. At Shalfleet School’s “Remembering Mark” assembly, every class took part, and each member of his own class contributed a personal memory of him. Attending “normal” school was a major achievement for him and his supporters, but how much he gave our school!
Mark’s funeral at Calbourne church was something else again. The church was packed. The colour was Red. The theme was Railway. The basket for donations (to St Mary’s and Great Ormond Street Hospitals) was well used. The mood was – sad, yes, but also thankful and hopeful. Like Mark, the service was full of love and humour. People fell over themselves to do what they could to help – to do one last thing for Mark. We were glad because he has “landed safe on Canaan’s side” – as Ivor the Engine’s Hymn put it (Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer).
Everyone feels enormous admiration for Sue and Steve, Mark’s parents, who, with help from many other people enabled him to embrace life. They and he have demonstrated that the value of a life lies not in its length but its lovingness. We all feel for them and remember them in the hard weeks to come.
Sue told us at the funeral that Mark once gave her a shiny pebble, a “worry stone”, to hold when she was stressed. Has Mark himself now become a “worry stone”? If you touch your memory of Mark, do you feel sad – and then smile, and then feel happy?
Thank you Mark, God Bless You. Sleep tight and we’ll see you in the morning bright. ​

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