Sunday, December 6, 2009

I will miss you...

Today the reality begins to hit.

A very dear friend, a brother in the Lord, a fellow writer, gifted photographer, but mostly a devoted husband and father died suddenly yesterday.

My friend is without her husband of 28 years, they were married just weeks after my husband and I. Their 21 year old son and 16 year old daughter are without their father. The son is my son's best friend. Our boys could list either family's residence as their home address and mail would find them either way.

I have never blogged before, ever. But in searching my friend's name on the internet I discovered his blog, and his publishing credits. I have been dancing around the idea of writing for so many years it is almost a joke, but he was doing it, he was writing every day. Because of this now when he is no longer here, there is a blog, a record of his thoughts. His blog is so him, I can hear him talking through he screen and it comforts me to know I can go back and look again.

My friend had a habit that caused a little dismay the first time you came across it. He had a tendency, whenever he called somebody, to talk at length and fully about whatever the call was about and then just hang up. No goodbyes. Not ever.

The first time he did it, I went to my husband and said "Oh dear, I think I may have hung up on Mark! I was talking and then just 'click' and he was gone!". My husband laughed, a veteran of many calls with Mark. "Are you sure? He always just hangs up on me when he has said all he needs to say. Listen carefully, there is an ending comment like ' That works', 'Get back to me when you know',' Let's do a.b.c. and then revisit' then he is gone."

The next week Mark called again and, sure enough, "I'm looking forward to it, it will be fun." Click, gone. Amused, I held the phone out in front of me and chuckled, "Well goodbye Mark!"

Over the years we have had many a call, and out of habit I routinely hold the phone in front of me afterwards and say "Goodbye Mark!' - even if he doesn't want to say goodbye I still need to.

In the early hours of Saturday morning Josiah, Mark and Nancy's son (and our part-time son), came home from a gig with his band in anticipation of decorating the family Christmas tree the next day. Mark had spoken to him earlier and mentioned going to bed, but the light was on in his office, so Joe checked on his dad. Mark was slumped over his computer and, despite Nancy's valiant use of her CPR instructor skills and a prompt 911 response, he was gone.

Mark was fascinated with the English Christmas traditions, born of his love of Dickens "A Christmas Carol" and we have had the joy of having their family over for Christmas dessert for several years now. The first few times Mark would actually videotape me flambeing the Christmas pudding - setting fire to warmed brandy poured over the hot pudding. The boys would hang out together, my husband and Mark would start talking and Nancy and I could chill out together after the hustle and bustle of the season. Even last year, when we were hosting the British Invasion for our daughter's wedding, they still came and we enjoyed their company so much.

As a church body we have seen members pass on to be with our Savior. Mark never failed to say how much he envied their presence in His presence, how that is our true home.

Our families have seen each other through car accidents, births, children's illnesses, graduations, a wedding, studies abroad, teenage drivers, proms and all manner of life events. We have shared meals and picnics, they have taken our son on vacation with them. We are family, in all but blood.

The Lord was merciful, the end was quick, probably even instantaneous.


Now we hold his memory in our hands and say, "Goodbye Mark."

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