Four years ago TODAY I received a phone call from my brother, Matthew, that my dad had passed away peacefully in his sleep. Two days ago the same brother had to break the news to me that the eldest of my three younger brothers had passed away after a motorbike accident. He was just 44yrs old.
Mark, aka Elma Thud, was the friend I knew the longest. I met him on the day he was born, I was 4 years old. We went through a lot together. He battled through adversity on so many levels at so many stages of his life. He was one of the most loud, the most opinionated and sometimes the most annoying of men you could ever wish to meet and he would drive me crazy at times because of it. *Edit… at the time of writing this I got sidetracked and forgot to mention that it was all of these traits within him that made people love him so much. It was what drew so many people to him because you always knew where you stood with him in a world full of fakeness. His online persona was so different to who he actually was, to me at least he came across pretty harsh and unapproachable via his texts and comments on line but this was far from the case.
I loved him, unconditionally. As we matured, we grew even closer. We didn’t speak every day and, depending on what mood either of us where in at the time or what message we were trying to get across, our conversations would often end with one of us thinking the other was a prick. You know… typical ‘Brother Shit’. That would soon be followed by him flying over and visiting us to spend a long weekend in the gym, on the beach and enjoying great food.
I’m a little numb from the news of his death, as I was when my dad passed, because I am all the way over in Spain in my own little bubble. I wasn’t in any FB Messenger or Whatsapp group with him and my other brothers of any regularity and so I haven’t really had the chance to ‘miss him’ yet. We’d often go weeks without having much to say to one another, despite him leading a very active life with his passion for fast cars and motorbikes and his dedication to his Family, the gym, his dogs and anything else that caught his attention at the time. I’m not sure if it’s a curse or a blessing that I’m currently blocked from his FB account after ‘telling him about himself a few weeks ago’ because it means I don’t have to see what I am sure are hundreds of posts from his many, many friends in and around Birmingham . I know a lot of people are in pain right now from this loss. *Edit – I now have full access to the couple of accounts he had on there.
I can’t start to imagine what my mom is going through. She has had more loss and drama in her life than I can even start to comprehend but I know she has good people around her to try to comfort her. My lovely little brother leaves behind a doting wife Vicky and two beautiful daughters, Lois and Summer. I haven’t spoken to any of them yet or my youngest brother, Luke, I just don’t know what to say.
There’s an amazing photo that I can’t find at the moment, I must be about 5 yrs old and Elma almost 1. I am sat up with him in my arms. A typical 1970’s wash to the image. It makes me smile thinking about it. We recreated it a few years ago in the pub down the road, hysterical scenes.
*Edit – Found it !
I wanted to share this short blog to thank all my friends for their messages of condolence, I obviously haven’t replied to them all and probably won’t get around to it either. Anyone that has experienced a shock like this will understand when I say that I’m surprisingly good at the moment, as are Michelle, Drew and Mikey. I know that will change at some point for us all.
Life goes on… it simply has to… but with a massive Elma shaped hole in it. I am 100% positive him and my dad are arguing like fuck somewhere out there right now, deciding who could have bench pressed the most just before almost strangling each other and then dusting themselves off and heading out for a curry and a karaoke.
*Edit – It is now Monday 29th October and a few days since we laid Elma to rest in a wonderful ceremony that took place at Aston Parish Church. It was a really moving occasion attended by hundreds of people across all denominations, many of whom were friends from his car and bike clubs. There have been untold tributes online for him and we all continue to miss him on a daily basis.