This page is dedicated to the memory of my younger brother Theodore Mark who passed away on Thursday, February 10, 2011 at the age of 49. A victim of alcoholism.
The last time I spoke to my brother was in November. He’d been drinking. Thank God we didn’t fight or argue. He told me how badly he was doing and that he was trying to change. I could tell by his speech that he’d been drinking, but when I asked him he lied and said no. It broke my heart, but I continued to employ the tough love that the family had agreed to use in dealing with him. Perhaps if he had been honest with me I would have responded differently. I told him that we would all be there to support him if he would commit to a program and stop drinking and that we would be there to support him when he got out. He told me he was trying and nothing more. I truly believe he might have been, but it wasn’t enough.
I feel awful for not being there for him, but he needed to come to terms with his illness and seek help. Tough love was our way of trying to sway him in the right direction. A good friend of mine told me some time ago that “sometimes no help is the best help we can give.” I guess we’ll never know now. The Lord works in mysterious ways… May you rest in peace… J S
Eulogy for My Brother delivered 2/18/2011
My brother did not have an easy time of things. He was, as most of you know, an alcoholic. Like all of us he faced problems and situations throughout his life that were both challenging and demanding. Some he brought upon himself. Like all of us he would evaluate the situation and create a plan of action, but unlike most of us who take steps to follow our plan and move forward, my brother did not.
Instead, the more he thought about what he needed to do to work through a particular situation, the more depressed he became, eventually seeking comfort from his old friend’s Smirnoff and Beer. Time after time they became the solution to his problems until the solution became the biggest problem of his life.
My brother was very talented. He had so much untapped potential. As a teenager he exhibited a natural ability for freehand drawing. I remember the first time I saw some of his art. He was about 19 and just out of high school. I’d stopped by the house and had gone back to his room to talk to him. As I entered his room I noticed two life size sketches on his rough textured closet doors and believe me they were very good.
As I admired the works I asked him which of his friends had drawn them. He told me he had done them that morning using some broken pieces of Kingsford charcoal! At first I laughed and didn’t believe him, but then noticed that his hands were black and his clothes were stained with charcoal. I’ll tell you, I was amazed! I remember telling him how good I thought they were and asked if he had any more drawings I could look at. He shared some of his other work with me, they were incredible and rich in detail. I encouraged him to look into art school and do something with his talent.
A few years later, after I had returned to college and was working part time for Canyon City Florist, Ted came to work for us as a delivery driver. In no time at all we were hiring another driver because Ted had demonstrated his artistic abilities as a floral designer. His work was amazing! Even Taylor, the shop owner and designer who had a degree in ornamental horticulture, couldn’t believe that Ted had picked up on designing as quickly as he had. I tell you my brother was a very talented individual! Again I encouraged him to pursue a career utilizing his talents. There was even some serious consideration in the family about possibly opening a small flower shop with Ted as the lead designer, but that didn’t happen, his problem resurfaced and put an end to that idea.
The last time I spoke to my brother was in November. It broke my heart, but I continued to employ the tough love that the family had agreed to use in dealing with him. I told him that we would all be there to support him if he would just get the help he needed and commit to a program. I assured him that we would do whatever we could and be there to support him when he got out. He simply said that he would try and hung up. I feel awful for not being there for my brother, I know he was a tormented soul, but he needed to come to terms with his illness. Tough love was our way of trying to sway him in the right direction. Now he’s gone.
This is not what we wanted, this is not the resolution we were looking for. We wanted Ted to get the help he needed. We wanted Ted healthy and back in our lives again. He had such potential and was such a different man when he was on the sober road. I loved to see him happy and enjoying life rather than loathing it and hiding from it.
I loved my brother, even though he probably didn’t think so, I simply didn’t like what he’d become. I will not miss the loud angry, Ted, that he turned into when he was drinking, for that was not my brother.
I will miss the kind and considerate brother he could be, the big hearted teddy bear full of hugs, love and laughter. The little brother I hoped and prayed he would one day be again. It is that brother that I will truly miss.
I love you little brother, You will always be in my heart.