How Mark Got His Name

One question I get asked a lot is how Mark managed to get his name. Now, this is usually asked by older ladies who see us in the store and stop to say hello. They ask what Mark’s name is and when he says “Mark”, they pause for a moment and then look at me surprised. “I haven’t heard that name in a long time”, “You don’t hear good names like that anymore”, “Did you get it from the bible?”, and those who know my dad’s name ask “Is he named after your dad?”

The answer is simply no.

Mark is named after my little brother who passed away in a motorcycle accident in 2012. He was just 16 years old. To help ease any further confusion that may come in this next paragraph, Mark is in reference to my son. Mark Allen is in reference to my brother.

Mark Allen was the funniest, most stubborn, and just goofiest kid you could meet. He had piercing blue eyes, and blonde hair (although as he got older, it got darker). He had many many friends and a couple significant girlfriends. He played soccer from a young age until his sophomore year of high school. He also ran cross country. We were opposite in countless ways but still astonishingly close. I was his big sister. I was his protector. I was the one to look out for him. I remember in 6th grade, I got into a lot of trouble for pushing a kid up against the fence at school and making it very clear he had better never mess with my brother again.

As we got older and I moved out of the house, he practically moved into my new one. During the summer, he would come and stay for a few days and he would game just about all night. I would sit on the couch and watch him play Dead Space. There were little moments that reminded me of when he and I would play Modern Warfare 2, or World at War. We would joke around and take turns. He would enjoy scaring me during the cut scenes in Dead Space, or in the Zombies of World at War. I also remember he would devour the entire pantry and drink an entire pitcher of tea in a single night. That boy alone had the grocery bill reaching sky high limits.

When he turned 15, he approached my dad and told him he wanted to buy a motorcycle when he turned 16. My dad gave his approval but said if you want one, you’ll need to work to earn the money for it. It was time for Mark Allen to get a job. His work ethic was better than some adults in established careers. Needless to say, he earned the money to buy the bike. A deal is a deal and he got his motorcycle license (endorsement).

My father has been riding since he was 16. As a member of the Sheriff’s Office Motor Unit, he had extensive training and even competed professionally. His ability to maneuver a motorcycle in tight circles, fast speeds, and quick stops is most impressive. When Mark Allen got his license, my dad worked with him on some extra safety training, tips, and maneuvers that he could possibly use in harsh conditions such as rain or ice.

Unfortunately, all of the training and practice in the world can’t stop freak accidents from happening. I won’t go into all of the disturbing details. If you know me personally, you probably know the details, but for the internet, I’ll spare you.

Do you ever get the feeling that something bad is about to happen? You aren’t sure what it is, but you just seem to know? I get that feeling in my gut. Something tells me to pause and take a moment to notice everything about that person in the moment. I did it with my brother, my grandfathers, and most recently, my grandmother. For Mark Allen, I remember the moment I took one last look at my baby brother. We were at a red light. I was headed back to my new apartment and he was going on a motorcycle ride. We met at the white line. When he got the green light, I heard him ease onto the throttle of his bike, and he looked back at me and signed ‘I love you’ in American Sign Language. I did the same. He was off and soon after, so was I.

I was fortunate enough to make it to the hospital in time to say my final goodbyes. I kissed his forehead. I held his hand. I cried and cried. I screamed and I cried. Despite all of the doctor’s efforts, I lost my best friend. I lost my little brother that day.

The next day after about 14 hours of sleep (thanks melatonin), I woke and went downstairs. I looked over at Travis and I told him “When we have kids and if we have a boy, he will be named after Mark Allen.” He nodded. That was it. There was no further discussion, no push back. It was decided then and there. He and Mark Allen were extremely close. They behaved more like brothers than anything else. I will be forever grateful for that.

Mark is named after Mark Allen. Same first and middle name. Some family members still call my son Mark Allen and personally, I disagree with that wholeheartedly. Although they share the same name, Mark will never be Mark Allen and Mark Allen was nothing like Mark. They are their own people and deserve to remain that way.

Another question I get is “What do you think Mark Allen would be doing if he were still here today?” Honestly, I believe he would follow into our father’s footsteps and pursue a career in the military or law enforcement. Even though he was a cynic, Mark was also a hopeless romantic and loved babies. If he saw a baby he would want to hold it. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had a family of his own by now. He would absolutely have a great bond and relationship with Mark.

Unfortunately that is something I will never get to see. He will never get to have a family of his own. I will never get to hug him or hear his voice again. My son will never get to meet his uncle and that relationship will never form.

It’s been almost 9 years now that I lost my little brother (July 8th). Please hug your loved ones while you can and take as many photos and videos as possible. You just never know.