In Memory

Mark Walsh

Born at 23.45 hrs on 4th March 1973 and the mould was very definitely broken. He was the younger of two children born to Michael and Mavis Walsh. Until the age of 6 everything was OK. Mark then suffered a couple of 'blackouts' whilst at Greystones Junior School, Sheffield S11. The doctor believed that this was Epilepsy and started treating him for it. Over the years Mark must have tried every drug available to Epileptics in order to try to control his Epilepsy - but to no avail. Mark struggled to attend School, due to ill health, and his education obviously suffered, as did his ability to deal with people. A by-product of attending school is making friends and as Mark was rarely there he had few friends.

However, Mark was certainly not stupid. He had his own talents. He was a very practical person who seemed to have an affinity with computers and electrical items. He was also an extremely good artist, not that he would admit to it. Mark would spend many a long hour drawing and colouring and it seemed to bring him some pleasure. If you ever needed someone to tell you how to set up a TV or Video - then Mark was your man.

Mark never had more than 4 or 5 fits in a day. Some days he could go without a fit at all. I think Mark could have lived with such a small number of fits, even though they were violent. The main problem lay in the side-effects of the tablets. They left Mark feeling dopey or drowsy, dizziness was another sensation he had a lot of. None of these were good for a man of 6 ' 5" and weighing @ 18.5 stones. He really was a very gentle giant and a gentle man as well as being a gentleman. Very definitely he was the more handsome of the two of us. He was also one of the nicest and kindest people I have had the pleasure of knowing. He described himself as being shy, but was never afraid to go and talk to someone, even if he didn't know him or her. He was never afraid to admit that he was an epileptic and how he suffered. He saw no shame in this and we are still proud of him for this and for many things.

Mark was devoted to his family as were we to him. He relied on all of us to take him out as we had cars and Mark was unable to drive. We did this not out of pity but out of love. We knew Mark's world was limited and we did what we could to make it brighter. Looking back, we could have done so much more. Mark believed that he had achieved nothing in his life and this led to frustration. He was wrong. He battled through so many set backs, he persevered where many of us would have given in. He worked harder than most to get his English and Math's GCSE's. We all had the utmost respect for Mark and what he achieved. His tenacity has taught me several lessons. Mark fully believed that he would beat the Epilepsy and that he would achieve what he wanted out of life - A job, to be able to drive a car, to meet and marry 'a nice young lass' and most of all - no dependency on drugs for his epilepsy. Anyone of us would have given all that we had for this to have come true.

Mark had several operations, with several more waiting on the sidelines. He had a shunt put in his brain to relieve fluid surrounding the brain. This didn't work and caused complications. A blood clot on the brain nearly killed Mark and a further operation was required to remove it. Mark was a big fan of Sci-Fi and of comedy programs. He was a member of a Blake's 7 fan club, but also enjoyed Dr Who, Red Dwarf, All Creatures Great and Small, One Foot in the Grave, The Last of the Summer Wine etc. The Sci-Fi was just for pure escapism; I know it was for me. The comedies were just to make him laugh, especially when he had so little to laugh about. He had a massive collection of these on tape and spent a lot of time watching them. He could quote entire episodes!

Mark also enjoyed going for a drink. Not that he could drink a lot as this affected the tablets he was taking. He was a good snooker / pool player and was getting better as time went on. When my Mother retired in February 2000, Mark looked forward to be able to get out more and liked to spend time in Derbyshire villages e.g. Pilsley and Bakewell. He also enjoyed visiting VIRGIN, HMV and the Oasis at Meadowhall.
Mark didn't like 'bland' tasting food and would always use a variety of condiments to 'spice' up a meal. Some of his peculiar favourites will remain family secrets.

A lot of family and friends have come forward to express their sadness and sorrow at Mark's untimely death. My family and I would like to thank them for all of their kind words and thoughts. We know that Mark would have been very moved to find that so many people cared about him and have spoken so highly of him.
I can only hope that Mark is looking down on us with a smile on his face finally knowing what he meant to us and what he still means to us. Mark is never far from out thoughts and will always have a special place in our hearts. Our memories of him will never fade.
Mark we will always love you - don't ever leave us.

If what my Mother, Father and I are experiencing now, is any measure of how we love and care about Mark, it is to say to anyone else who experiences bereavement - You must treasure those you love when you have them and never let a day go by without telling them this. You must hug them and hold them close, because a day will come when you can no longer do this. It is on days like these that the pain starts and never goes away.

Written by Richard Walsh