R.I.P. Mark Glover: 1960 – 2011

Mark Glover

On Tuesday 30th August 2011, my dear brother Mark passed away after four years of battling MND.

I’m Mark’s youngest brother, Jason, and it was only at the end of July that he sent me an email asking me to look after his blog ‘when his time came’, making sure it was never deleted, approving any guest comments and writing the final post to tell people what had happened. He wanted me to be the custodian of this site he’d devoted so much of his time to over more than three years and which many people had expressed their gratitude to for being such a great MND resource.  I don’t know if Mark had a foreshadowing at the time that he would pass away just a few weeks later but I accepted his request, even though it saddened me greatly to think there would be a time he was no longer here. I thought at least that it wouldn’t be until next year or beyond but I was wrong.

I’m sure it will come as a surprise to many of you that follow this blog that Mark has now passed away, especially as it was just two days after his final blog post on August 28th when he suggested readers come back in a week to see more pictures of the period before, including his 51st birthday on August 24th. It came as a shocking surprise to all of us as well – his family, friends and carers – but a day after Mark wrote his final blog post, he contracted a chest infection which, in his weakened condition, proved fatal just a day later.

Mark died peacefully in his sleep at home, one final ounce of mercy after four years of battling the cruelty of MND.

Apart from Mark himself, I may have been the first person to notice the early effects of his MND early in 2007, although I never could have guessed then what the cause was. I lived with Mark for 13 years in the house where he’d pass away, a house familiar now I’m sure to those of you who follow this blog. Even after I moved out at the end of 2004, I only moved up the hill a couple of minutes drive away. Mark and I would continue to see each other very regularly, inviting each other round our homes for dinner and a DVD every few weeks.

It was during one of those evenings in 2007 when I first noticed something wasn’t quite right. Mark was sitting opposite me having dinner and I could see his hand shaking. I pretended I didn’t see it but I’m sure he knew I had. Neither of us said anything and I thought little of it at the time, thinking maybe it was just a muscle spasm or, at worse, arthritis. His hand got weaker over the following months and when, Chery, my then fiancee (now wife) and I took Mark out for dinner on his 47th birthday at the end of August, he told us he was worried about the muscle problem, which was affecting his arms as well.

I was naturally worried for my brother but I still didn’t think it would turn out to be anything bad. In our family we have a history of cancer on our mother’s side and heart disease on our father’s. It’s those things I always fear so I would never think that any other disease could strike us. Even after Mark was diagnosed, he still said it may not be MND that eventually killed him. He had always been the healthiest one in our family, rarely even getting a cold and hardly ever having a day off sick in all his decades of work.

Further tests followed and still Mark didn’t know by the end of September 2007 what was wrong with him. The specialist at the local hospital booked him in for three further tests and Mark remained very worried. And I was starting to worry more as well. At the end of October, I drove him to Southampton hospital for the last of his tests and by now his arms were very weak, although it would still be five months before he’d have to give up driving and work.

Mark was relieved to get all his tests out of the way and he had a meal at my apartment with Chery and I that evening. But then everything changed on 7th November, a cold dark day for more than one reason. I was home alone that day and he came round to see me that evening to tell me he’d just been to the hospital to get the results of his tests and he’d been diagnosed with motor neurone disease, Progressive Muscular Atrophy to be exact. It still wasn’t completely conclusive at this stage but, just able to fight back his tears, he explained to me how the disease worked, how it would spread from his arms to his legs and eventually his lungs. And he told me there was no cure and he’d eventually end up in a wheelchair and die before his time.

Of course, I was devastated! I had never heard of MND before but after Mark left I looked it up online and was shocked to find out what it meant. I could never believe that something like this would happen to someone so close to me. Mark was my big brother. He was always there for me when I needed him and I knew I had to do the same for him.

The following day, I found it so difficult to concentrate at work and had to tell my boss by email because I was too upset to tell him face-to-face. Mark called me that evening and seemed to be coping better than I was, such was his strength. We said we’d talk more and even then he was planning for what was to come by telling me I should have a key to his house in case I needed it.

Soon after, a whole support network sprung up around Mark and he was constantly reminded that right now MND had only affected his arms and it may be a long time before it progressed any further. He was told that even in Basingstoke there were were people with MND who’d lived with the disease for 10, 15 and even 20 years and that gave him a lot of strength. But just a couple of weeks later he started to notice his other arm get weaker as well and soon after I started to do his weekly food shopping for him.

During the years that followed, even with MND dismantling his life bit by bit, I was inspired by how positive Mark remained. At first, it was partly because he believed it would take many years for the disease to run its course, but even later when he knew the end may be in sight, he never stopped being the person I always knew. MND can take away many things but with strength of mind it can’t take away the person you are.

And when the end did arrive, despite me knowing the day would one day come, I still wasn’t ready for it. Just a week before it had been his birthday and I’d seen him last just two days before he passed away. I got a call at work from Debbie, Mark’s main carer, Tuesday morning to say Mark wasn’t good and as the time progressed he became unresponsive. I made arrangements to come home but just as I was leaving I got another call to say he had passed away.

Mark’s funeral took place on Monday 12th September and was well attended by family and friends. He was cremated according to his wishes and his casket with his ashes was buried the following day beside our mothers in a nearby church.

My brother Mark was the bravest person I’ve ever met. From the day he told us he’d been diagnosed with MND, he lived each day with so much courage and determination and with a smile and a joke never far away. I know from the many comments left on his blog how much his story inspired others, including those battling MND themselves and those caring for them. And I want to pay tribute to all the carers who looked after Mark over the years, many of whome are here with us today, and who showed both compassion and friendship to him and gave him another reason to cherish each day.

I will always be proud knowing that I was Mark’s little brother, or junior as he sometimes called me.

I remember movie nights when we’d take it in turns to pick what to watch and then sit in front of the TV, each with a cat on our lap. I remember countless trips to the cinema and waking up every Sunday to the smell of Mark cooking our  dinner. And I remember holidays together, including Florida, where I dragged him onto every rollercoaster I could find even though he always closed his eyes.

These memories and many more will always be with me. And I will always miss my brother.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Here is a video featuring Mark’s life from a child, right up to his final picture, accompanied by music played at his funeral, including a track from Queen that he specifically asked for.

31 Responses to R.I.P. Mark Glover: 1960 – 2011

  1. Mark Cornwell says:

    Thank you so much for telling us of Mark’s passing. Thank you also for the prequel to the blog, filling in the story as it were. Although I only met Mark briefly his life had quite an impact on me and I shed a tear as I read this entry. My thoughts are with you an the rest of your family. Best wishes from another Mark.

  2. Bill says:

    Thank you Jason for the notice, you honor your big brother well. I’ve been reading your brother’s posts for about a year now and have always come away with something to think about from them. Quite a legacy he’s left the world in his writings as the bearer of such a miserable disease. I lost my big bro to cancer a little over a year ago, still miss him bunches, but will always carry the good memories and ideals of life for him, carry on friend! Rest in peace Mark.

  3. CHRIS RUSSELL says:

    I ALWAYS OPEN MY ‘E’ MAIL ACCOUNT IN ANTICIPATION OF ANOTHER AMUSING BLOG FROM MARK ABOUT HIS PROGRESS OR RATHER, REGRESS.THIS WAS AN INEVITABLE DAY FOR ME; TO OPEN UP MY ‘E’ MAILS AND READ WITH GREAT SADNESS OF MARK’S DEATH.
    I HAVE FOLLOWED MARK’S BLOG SINCE I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH MND IN MAY 2010 AND HE HAS BEEN A GREAT INSPIRATION TO ME WITH HIS AMUSING ANECDOTES TOLD WITH TREMENDOUS COURAGE AND NEWS ABOUT HIS ADVERSITIES OR NEW EQUIPMENT TO AID HIM.
    MARK BECAME A SORT OF PEN PAL AND WE WOULD WRITE TO EACH OTHER OCCASSIONALLY, MOSTLY MY SEEKING ADVICE. MARK BECAME A SORT OF KINDRED SOUL WHO WAS A FRIEND I COULD RELATE TO BECAUSE OF THE AWFUL DISEASE WE BOTH HAD IN COMMON.HIS DEATH IS A SORE LOSS BUT HIS LEGACY WILL LIVE ON AS AN INSPIRATION TO THOSE ‘PALS’, AS MARK USED TO CALL US.HIS LEGACY IS THE BLOG HE FORSAW WOULD HELP OTHERS AND SHOULD BE PUT INTO PRINT.
    THANKS JASON FOR THE EULOGY OF HIS LIFE AND GOD BLESS YOU MARK. REST IN ETERNAL PEACE.

    CHRIS RUSSELL

  4. Ida says:

    So sorry for your loss. Although I haven’t followed his blog for long it feels strange that he is gone.
    I wish you peace in your sorrow
    Ida

  5. Kim Saunders says:

    Thank you Jason for letting us all know about Mark. I worked with Mark at Lilly and we had some good laughs. He always spoke very highly and thoughtfully of you and your wife and how you helped him enormously during his illness. I will miss reading his blog. What a tremendous thing he had done in cataloguing this awful illness from start to finish. He was so clever. At last he knows peace. My thoughts are with you.
    Kim x

  6. Debbie says:

    Just read your blog entry Jason, Mark would have been so proud of you for writing it. Thanks for the lovely comments regarding Mark’s carers, it was a real priviledge to be able to look after him. He never failed to amaze me with his courage and determination. We had lots of laughs, and tears, and at times he drove me mad, but I wouldnt change a single second of the time I spent with him. We became good friends and I miss him so much.
    much love to you and your family,
    Debbie xxx

  7. Jane C says:

    It’s always a shock to read of someone’s passing, even though you know it’s an inevitable conclusion with MND. I never met your brother, Jason, but felt that through this blog and our emails I got to know him. My husband died three years ago from this awful disease, he only lived 21 months from diagnosis so the fact that Mark managed four years at least gives you and your family some comfort and many memories to remember him by. RIP Mark.

  8. Julia Ashworth says:

    Jason, my heart goes out to you and all your family on the very sad news of your brother’s death. My brother, Chris Russell has already said what an inspiration he was to all those who read his blog and it was wonderful for people to be able to do so. It has and will be a great help for the families of people suffering from this terrible disease.
    We all at least have the chance to make memories which we can cherish.
    May Mark rest in peace and remain in your hearts forever.

  9. Bill Spragg says:

    Dear Jason, Shocked and saddened to hear of Mark’s passing. Just logged in to see his latest blog and saw this sad news.
    Mark worked with me at Lilly for about 5 years until he left due to his deteriorating condition. A real gent, we were all very shocked when we got the news about his MND diagnosis. I can only echo what you and others have said about his strength of spirit as the illness progresses. It was nice to see him a few times after then and I regret not putting in a bit more effort to visit more often – A case of don’t put things eh.
    My deepest sympathy to you and the rest of Mark’s family. It was a genuine pleasure to have known him.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Dear Jason and your family.

    Sorry to heat that Mark has passed away. I have regularly read his blog of the last few months since my husband was diagnosed with MND last December, I have been inspired by his thoughts and postitiveness . You can probable understand better than anyone what it is like to see the person you love get worse each week with this horrible disease. My husband was a very intelligent person until 12mths ago when his mind started to deterioate, not being able to speak properly and eating and swallowing is under control conditions. This week he had his PEG fitted in readiness when it will be necessary to use it. His morale is good at the moment but we have decided you have to live each day as it comes. At least Mark is no longer suffering and for his family they can now start rebuilding your lives.

  11. Nigel says:

    The video tribute is so moving and beautifully done – a real journey through life. Although I never met Mark I admire him so much just from reading his blog. I myself am awaiting a diagnosis of a neurological condition and expect it to be MND. Should it be so, I just hope I can find the strength to be as dignified and as strong as Mark. He was truly an inspiration and a remarkable person. I wish all Mark’s family and friends happiness from hereon in and I know that Mark will be in your hearts forever more.

  12. suemw says:

    Hi Jason. It has been a while since I was last on your brother’s blog, so I have only just learned of his passing. Please accept my deepest condolences. I, too, lost a big brother to this awful disease in December last year and, since he was also a patient at St Michael’s in Basingstoke, we have been aware of Mark and his story for some time. There is no easy way to watch anyone you love die, especially before their time – my brother, Mike, was just 62. However, MND has to be one of the worst possible ways to go, and how those suffering from it manage to keep their sanity at all is something I will never understand. You are not wrong to say Mark was the bravest person you ever met. Mike was the bravest person I ever met and, like you, I will always miss my big brother.

  13. Vic says:

    Jason, thank you for taking care. Your video is really touching, and I also feel that your wife is a wonderful person – congratulations. I followed the Mike’s diary for more than 2 years, originally because my close friend got the same terrible decease in 2009 and I wanted to get information, but then I got a very special appreciation for Mike being such example of courage and optimism. I wish I wrote more when Mike was alive, to show my support of his effort.

  14. Julia Ashworth says:

    Dear Jason
    Your family have always been in my thoughts since I first heard about your brother, Mark, through my brother, Chris Russell.
    Sadly Chris died this morning after facing this terrible disease with such incredible courage.
    His wife, her family, and his children and I had all been there for him.
    Julia

  15. Dear Jason,
    I recently emailed and contacted Mark via LinkedIn requesting to meet up with him again. I still have a photography book of his, which he had lent me and I wished to return it to him.
    I was only told about Mark’s passing earlier this week at an Alumni meeting. A colleague has just forwarded me the link to his blog. I feel very saddened that I missed that last opportunity to see him and also that I missed my chance to pay my respects at his funeral.
    Thank you for such a lovely last posting on his blog page. He always spoke very fondly about you and your wife.
    I worked with Mark for many years and was able to take him down to Exbury Gardens a few years ago with a mutual friend, Robin, for a chance to photograph the beautiful gardens and ride on the steam train. He told us what view he wanted to capture and we were able to set his camera up on a tripod for him. At this stage his muscle wastage was very apparent, but this didn’t stop him from pressing the shutter button himself. He was determined capture the image himself. We had a lovely day out together and that is how I shall remember him, along with the happier memories of him in full health, busy working in Engineering.
    The last visit I made to Mark’s house, he told me that he was busy uploading family images and his photographs to ensure that they could be kept for posterity. It couldn’t have been a quick job to do as he was struggling to raise his arms by this stage, but he was very determined. I trust and hope that you found this exercise of his to be worthwhile.
    Thank you for keeping his blog post alive. Now I have found it, I will take the time to go back and read it all. I am so glad that his words have (and will continue to) amuse people and give them comfort and strength whilst coping with the effects of MND. I will keep Mark alive in my memories of him and will continue to be inspired by him in my everyday life.

  16. Jason,
    I left my first comment and then I watched the video of Mark’s life in photographs that you had posted above. I am now in tears, as I suspected I would be, which is why I wrote my comment beforehand.

    I now realise that I forgot to say that my thoughts, and those of my husband, Richard (who also knew Mark) are with you and your family at this difficult time.

    I am the lady standing in the train station at Exbury Garden’s alongside Mark in the video. Robin is shown sitting with Mark on the Exbury Garden bench. I just thought that you may like to be able to put a name to Mark’s friend’s faces.

    I lost my address book in a flood, but if you would like me to return Mark’s book to you, please email me with your contact details.

    • mndals says:

      Thank you for your messages, Susie, and it is nice to put a name to a face. Mark really enjoyed working at Eli and always said he worked with so many great people. It was one of the happiest times of his life and it saddened him greatly when he had to leave. But then he looked forward to those times when he could see his friends again and I remember him talking a lot about his visit to Exbury Gardens, both before and after. As you know, he loved his photography, it was his passion, and when he lost the ability to take his own pictures, that upset him a lot.

      It is upsetting to watch the video and it was very difficult putting it together for after his funeral. I’m really glad I did it though as it’s a fitting memorial to Mark’s life, although not something that’s easy for me to watch often.

      Please keep the book. It’s wonderful that it’s with someone who was a friend to my brother.

      Jason

      • Thanks for your kind words, Jason. I am still feeling guilty & upset for not attending Mark’s funeral or for being able to visit him again. So your words really helped me.

        I will keep the book in fond memory of your brother, and will pop a donation into the St Michael’s Hospice charity box in his memory. (I am a keen supporter of their work and they are always trying to convince me to go and work with them.)

        Take care of yourself and thanks once again for keeping Mark’s blog alive. I have been spreading the news and old friends and colleagues are planning to read his blog postings as a result. He was held in fond memories by so many people.

        Susie

  17. Helen Docherty says:

    Dear Jason and family,

    I often read Marks blog and was inspired by his continued enthuiasm for life even under such awful circumstances. I lost my Mum aged 63 in November 2011 to this cruel cruel disease after only 15 months even though she fought so bravely, and much like Mark tried so hard to be positive and to remain hopeful throughout even when she was really scared.

    I’m sure that everyone who has looked after and lost someone to MND has been humbled by the courage they witnessed from the person experiencing such loss and suffering. I believe that all of us left behind who loved them so much, have learnt a valuable lesson, because it has taught us to be content with what we have and not to moan about minor issues.

    Thinking of you

    Helen

  18. So sorry to hear about your brother’s passing but it was much appreciated that you let us know. Just so you know this site is linked here under Motor Neuron blogs
    http://www.motor-neuron.com/mnd-blogs.php
    R.I.P. Mark

  19. Heidi says:

    I came here purely by accident, I was looking up images for a pushbike like your brother had, your brother’s illness certainly puts life into context, a very touching tribute.

  20. carol says:

    Very sorry to read of your brother’s passing. I was searching for info on motor neuron disease because my closest, dearest best friend was just diagnosed with it. I have started reading all of your brother’s blogs and just have to say he was quite and amazing person. His articulation, preception, and attitude about dealing with his illness is so raw and real. He made me laugh and cry alot. I am not just beginning to take these first steps with my beloved girlfriend and I pray God gives her the strength and endurance to cope and manage this illness with the incrediable dignity your brother had. Thank you have leaving this blog here to continue to inspire and inform others who are on this horrific path thenselves.

    • mndals says:

      Thank you for your comments, Carol, and I am very sorry to hear about your friend. What I learned from my brother was the incredible courage and determination of the human spirit and our unwavering passion for live. Mark never gave up the fight and I wish you and your friend all the very best.

  21. Merrilyn says:

    Hello I stumbled across this blog I am a personal carer with an Australian Company and was googling to research information to help with a client I am part of a team for, I am so sorry for your loss of your older brother Mark I have read some of his blog and he sound’s like he was a remarkable person. It was so selfless of him to create this blog to help others you must be very proud to not only have him as your brother but be asked to be custodian of something so important to him, from my work with this client I have learnt that it is so very important to her “to be heard ” as unfortunately some people assume when someone has some physical disabilities they must also have intellectual disabilities which we know to be most untrue, thankyou so much Jason your a kind spirited person, and thankyou to your courageous brother Mark may he Rest in Peace

    Merrilyn D

  22. Tania says:

    Thank you for keeping this blog site. My father has just been diagnosed in Sydney Australia, so I am now learning about this terrible disease. Mark’s blogs are very valuable and helpful and he has confirmed my worst fears, I guess we just have to take…One Day At A Time.

  23. Greg says:

    Hi Jason, I can see by your resemblance to Mark how he took pride in calling you Junior. I’d like to do my part also keeping his blog alive by leaving a comment if possible. He is truly inspirational and immortalised here as no doubt always in your hearts. I have been touched by the human condition in response to MND, and when choosing a terminal illness for a main character in a novel I have now decided to give more emphasis to this disease with the hope that it may help build awareness just as Mark has achieved. I therefore invite any comment that will bring as much beleif and truth to its nature and the potentials of those dealing with it. I hope that Mark himself would have consented to the inspiration he has afforded me. Humans truly are at their best when times are at there worst.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much Jason for keeping this blog and your brother’s legacy alive.

    My mum has been fighting ALS for a year now and as things get worse I find it hard sometimes to find hope or strength. This blog has been so inspiring for us all – I don’t know how Mark found the strength to be so honest and to share so much, but we are very glad he did.

    RIP Mark. You’ll be remembered by my family for as long as we remember our own mother – which will be forever.

    • Tania says:

      Ditto, my father is suffering too. He was an active ex RAF/commercial pilot who played sport all his life, so it is devastating to see what this disease is doing to him.

      Thank you Jason, Mark and all the other people who have commented…I can’t make sense of why this is happening but it helps to know that other people understand.

  25. Linley says:

    I am currently in my last semester of uni studying a bachelor of nursing in Australia. I stumbled across this blog while doing an assigment on MND. While on placement I cared for a lady with MND and remember going home emotionally drained. I just wanted to say Marks story has really touched me also and what a story to share. I think this story is amazing and I believe many people will gain from this. So inspiring.

  26. Graham says:

    Dear Jason,

    Thankyou for keeping Mark’s blog available.l have found his words truly inspirational.
    l was diagnosed late last year with mnd and was desperate for a viewpoint from somebody on the `inside` of this condition .
    I now
    feel stronger and better equiped to deal with this life challenge, hopefullly my partner and i will continue to embrace the future with as much fortitude as Mark managed.
    Heres to looking forward with smiles and not back with tears.

    Thankyou so much
    Graham

  27. Andrew Ure says:

    I found this blog after looking for information on mnd . I have been diagnosed myself with mnd today and after weeks of searching for informaton found this blog the most helpful .
    To read the human story rather than the cold facts of what this disease does ,although difficult at times is an inspiration .
    I hope that I will have the same attitudes and strength that mark had.
    I am sure it will help other people on this journey that no one thought they would be on . Thankyou.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: