Friday, June 20, 2014

Dear friend~

Dear Mark,

I've thought several times about posting funny stuff or things to take my mind off of what was going on with you and my uncle, and then you realized it was OK to stop fighting the last of the cancer battle. You said you couldn't have made it the rest of the year. We knew this day was coming, but I still can't believe you won't be coming over for pasta, or that we won't be going out for coffee.

I remember meeting you my first week of work, more than six years ago. You spilled ice water at our luncheon - you talk about a (literal) icebreaker. We became friends, you and Mr. RK and your wife and me, almost instantly.
You told me that years before that, you had lost your son to bipolar disorder. You could have curled up and hidden away with your pain, and the world would have understood that - but you didn't. Instead, you spent thousands of hours educating people about this cause. You trained police officers and first responders. You spoke at events. You volunteered for organizations that seek to educate and de-stigmatize the judgement that surrounds mental illness. As a pastor, you brought in communities of faith to work with the nonprofits to do education.

You said, "God is too big to fit into one religion." You thought ice cream was the most important part of our biggest event!

I told you the last time I saw you that you had made a huge difference in the lives of many. I can only imagine what it was like recounting your family's story. You probably relived the pain every time you shared - but you did it in hopes that other people wouldn't have to go through the same pain.

Your son's picture was your phone's screen saver, 10 years after he died. A life unfinished.

I feel the same way about yours. You were only a couple of years older than my dad.

You were so funny. You never lost your sense of humor, despite the hard and terrible things you and your family had gone through. When you saw the Muppets movie with your granddaughter, you said it was "far-fetched." It took me a minute to get that.

You said you'd be a vegan, too, if animals weren't made out of meat.

You said you weren't afraid of dying, that you were looking forward to being reunited with your wife and son. You faced this terminal illness head on, wearing a button and a bracelet that said, "Pancreatic cancer sucks."

Indeed it does. It was hard to watch you at times when you were on the verge of giving up. It was harder to watch when the cancer took over.

I'm thankful that you aren't in pain anymore, but when this sinks in, I'll start to miss you.

I'm thankful that I had the privilege of being your friend. 

24 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

This is a wonderful tribute - to a man who seems to have more than deserved it.
I am glad his pain is over - and so very sorry for yours.

My Girl Murphy said...

I'm sorry dear girl. It sounds like you were very lucky to have each other for the time you did. Good on you for appreciating a hero in your life. They are gifts.

Sending you riotous love.

Scarlet said...

Beautiful tribute to your friend, who sounded like the real deal. Cancer sucks, all cancer. I'm sorry for your loss, amiga. Many hugs!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

What a stunning tribute to a very special man....You write so Beautifully---I feel I knew him, too. He sounds like he was quite a magnificent human being. It is so very hard to lose someone you care so much about and who you know gave his heart to one and all....It must be a great relief for him to be out of pain and reunited with those two very important and dear loved ones....
My Heart goes out to you and Mr.RK, my dear.....

Charles Gramlich said...

A wonderful tribute. Sounds like we lost another good one who we can ill afford to lose.

Abby said...

Aw, so sorry. What a wonderful person you've painted. May he Rest in Peace.

Lynn said...

What a lovely tribute. So sorry for your loss!

LL Cool Joe said...

Cancer is a bitch, and why does it always take the good people? This is a lovely tribute to your friend, I'm so sorry that's he's gone.

Your posts aren't showing up in my reader, sorry I haven't been here for a bit. I love your new layout too.

G. B. Miller said...

Beautiful tribute to a man who must've really made a difference in your life.

Father Nature's Corner

Vanessa Morgan said...

Oh no, so sad to read this, but glad at the same time he isn't in pain anymore. Your post is a wonderful proof of how much he meant to you. Condolences.

Furry Bottoms said...

I got the goosebumps reading this. I am so sorry for the loss, RK. Yes, true, he is not in pain anymore, but YOU are. Never forget the YOU in this equation. Take care of YOU, too. Much love and hugs your way.

A Beer For The Shower said...

This was beautifully written. We're sorry for your loss, but glad to see how positively his life and his attitude affected you.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Clearly, Mark was a man whose life was well lived and who touched the lives of many other people. My condolences to you as his friend and may he rest in peace.

lotta joy said...

Pancretic cancer has to be the most painful of cancers, second only to bone cancer. It is RIDICULOUS that it is STILL a death sentence!!! And nothing better can be done for its victims. You will miss him forever.

Green Tea said...

In a month it will be a year that I lost BOB to gastric cancer..yes it does suck big time and I wish more money was being put into research,
When I think about the billions spent on war over the last 10 years or so, it makes me ill.
I do the best I can in my own way.
Relay for life coming up and we have had so many opportunities to raise extra money through dining places etc.Tomorrow night 15% of what is spent at a local Dairy Queen will go toward our Relay..I can handle that:)Whats a few extra LBS.. Hang in there
Kitty..love you!

Granny Annie said...

Your suffering over the loss of a friend is a gift that you give beautifully.

Lee said...

Beautiful, RK...truly beautiful. I write this with tear-filled eyes.

Cherish your memories of one so precious.

Rock Chef said...

What a great tribute. He sounds like a great guy. I wish I had known him.

Dexter Klemperer said...

Sorry to hear the news. Yes, cancer does suck. But "I'd be vegan too if animals weren't made of meat" is a great quote to remember.

Birdie said...

I wish God would leave more of the good ones. We need them.

Sending love to you as you grieve.

Riot Kitty said...

Thanks everyone.

Cheryl said...

What a lovely post, RK. Your friend sounds like he had a wonderful sense of humor and a great attitude. Losing a friend is a hard thing and I am sorry you are having to deal with the grief of a loss. My thoughts are with you.

CraveCute said...

Beautiful tribute to your dear friend. I'm so sorry for your pain RK.

Anil P said...

A touching tribute.

When all the moments have passed away, one of them returns to stay.