He married his high school sweetheart Ruth Ann just barely out of high school, and little Amanda was at my wedding a year later when I married my high school sweetheart. Alisha and Andy rounded out the family, and before long, they all grew up and started on the next generation with three sweet grand babies, Amelia, Violet and Clara. As families do, we got together at holidays, birthdays, picnics and special celebrations. Then, like many others, my brother and his wife had to sell their house last year and moved to Florida (away from family and friends) in search of employment. Last year was the first Christmas without my brother, his wife and family in more than 34 years. I always appreciated the fact that my sister in law always hosted the family Christmas for many years, but I think I took our family gatherings a little for granted and thought the family would always be together.
My brother Mark lost his battle with scleroderma today. It happened way too early for his 54 years on this earth. This past spring, he was diagnosed with scleroderma. Scleroderma is a skin condition where the body produces too much collagen. This makes the skin rock hard, which then makes it difficult and painful to move the joints. You can imagine what it does to your internal organs. Mark was in and out of the hospital 5 or 6 times since September, suffered kidney failure, and was put on dialysis a month ago. The irony is that there are no specialists in this disease in Florida, yet there were specialists at the University of Michigan, not far from where he lived for most of his life. His family tried to get him moved up here to Michigan for treatment, but at that point, he was too sick to be moved.
I had to go to my parent’s house on Saturday, to be there to support them when my sister in law called with the news that he was failing, unconscious, and would probably not be with us for too much longer. Unfortunately, due to health issues, neither of my parents were able to fly to be by his side. His wife and children were by his side as he peacefully slipped away at home.
He is survived by his wife of almost 35 years, 3 children, 2 son-in-laws, and 3 grand kids. We are grateful that his kids got to spend time with him in the week before Thanksgiving before he went into the hospital for the last time. My heart is aching for my sister-in-law, who has a tough road ahead in Florida without her family and friends close by for a support system.
This is a picture of their family, taken when they were all together just before Thanksgiving. He loved being a Grandpa.
I’m glad that he is no longer in pain. He was too young to go. I will miss him, and pray for his family as they suffer through this difficult time. May he rest in peace.
Mark Reid 1956-2010.