Mark Haraldstad's End of Life Costs

On August 23rd, my younger brother, Taylor, delivered the news to me that our father had died of an overdose.

The following day I'm standing in my kitchen and I answer a call from an unknown number. Its my older brother, Mark, calling to tell me he is getting out of three months of successful rehab, and he needs a ride. I haven't spoken to him in several months. Although I'm very happy to hear of his success, he notices something is wrong with me and I start to cry. I ask that he call me back in a few hours and tell him he caught me at bad time (I physically couldn't bring myself to tell him in that moment that our father, who Mark hasn't spoken to or seen for most of his life is not only dead, but was taken by the very thing he himself is battling to over come, addiction). Frustrated, he agrees to call me back later, says "I love you" and hangs up the phone.

That was the last time I spoke to my older brother before he died four days later.

I never was able to get a hold of him later that Friday, over the weekend... numerous calls, texts...voicemails pleading with him to call me back... nothing.

I spent most of the weekend mourning the loss of my father, spending time with my younger brother, Taylor, and trying to track down Mark.

Monday, August 27th. I received a frantic voicemail that came through the Bluetooth in the car I was in at the time. It was my mother, they found Mark. He was at a hospital in Fall River. She was in hysterics, said he had already had numerous heart attacks and to get there as soon as possible, -they didn't think he was going to hold on for much longer.

I was twenty minutes too late. Twenty minutes too late to kiss my brothers living body. Twenty minutes too late to tell him I'm sorry I asked him to call me back. Twenty minutes too late to tell him that his father had passed just days before. (My brother wasn't even aware of our father's passing)

Turns out my brother had pneumonia, and had been there in that very hospital for over 24hrs. It got so bad he was septic. The people he was with tried to track us down once they realized just how sick he was.

His body couldn't fight anymore. Twenty minutes before I got there he had passed.

My brother spent a good portion of his life suffering. He tried and tried to get on the right track. He wanted to be a good brother, a good father, a friend, a son. He was sensitive. He was caring. He was artistic and creative. His life mattered to a lot of people, probably much more than he ever realized.

When my father passed, there were no public services. That was his and his family's wishes.

Although I cant say with certainty what my brother would have wanted I know after speaking with friends that all of us who deeply loved and cared for him would like to honor his memory with a public service, where we can all be together and pay respect to my brother and remember some of the better times spent during his short 33 years on this earth.

If you take a moment to read this, thank you.
If you take a moment to share this, I appreciate you.
If you are in a position were you are able and willing to pitch in any amount toward his cremation and service, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

"Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them."- George Eliot

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Shauna Lee 
Holbrook, MA
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