Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fare-Well Words To a Stand-Up Guy

When I heard the news of Mark's passing, so many thoughts of him rushed through my mind. 

And I cried a lot of tears. 

And then I wrote this for him. 

Mark was a great friend to so - so many people in Gowanda, and I don't think there is a single person in our whole community who didn't know him. 

We went to school together. I was a few grades behind him and he was the guy SO many girls had a crush on; and lets not forget that HOT car of his. ALWAYS shinny Black with the red interior; WOW, classy just like he was, sitting in that driver's seat. He was as nice and kind as he was classy, with a brilliant smile and the personality to match; Mark was the whole package. Gentleman, joker, friend, and someone you could really have a sit down talk with if you really needed to. I remember he did always listen.

And he always remembered you, no matter how long it had been. The last time I saw him was actually in August at Palm Gardens at separate class reunion parties. We got to say hello and we talked just for a second and gave each other a hug and an "I'll see ya later."  

I got to see that great smile of his; And then he was gone.

That last chance meeting, to me, was not a coincidence, and I believe the Lord gave us that one last memory, for this time right now. It is burned in my mind and will be a favorite memory of him, for me, forever now.

I luckily have had the pleasure of knowing his whole family for longer than I can remember. I am friends with his two sisters Sandy and Sherry, and I know his older brother Randy and his parents. His wife of so many years Sherry, who I also went to school with, and I introduced myself to his daughter Loren yesterday. What a beautiful young lady you are Loren. I know this must be terribly difficult for you. Just know that your dad loved you so very much, unconditionally I am sure, and you can keep that in your heart forever.he

And to the other family members I met yesterday, it was nice to meet you too. 

And, for those of us who were there in the 90's, we all had a blast together at those  "door-burner" parties and the for "no-reason-at-all-parties." We all laughed till we cried and thoroughly enjoyed our time together at those parties. TO THE FULLEST, and sometimes for days on end. They were the best of times!  

I met some of the best friends I have in my life at those parties, and having to see you here for this has been one of the most heart wrenching things I have ever had to experienced in my life. Sharing the loss of such a stand - up guy is not easy.

I do know this; Mark loved the Lord, and enjoyed his church family. I know he enjoyed singing with his mom and dad and his sister Sandy in the choir. 

I do know that he never wavered from the wonderful classy guy I knew in school and later in my adulthood. 

And most of all, I do know he is now where so many of us long to be, in Heaven, and he will be there to greet us as we enter there.  I know he is there with his son Colton and so many others so many of us have lost this year, and what an amazing day it will be when we are all together again. 

As for my tears in my humanness, they are for all of the people I have lost this year and how many I  DID NOT tell that I loved them, or even took the time to spend just one hour with them. It is moments like this, saying so-long to such a wonderful person, a Class-Act like Mark, that made me decide to make changes in my life. If people are in our lives, we need to take the time. God gave us these people for a reason. I think Mark would want us to make sure that the people we love, know it, without a doubt. 

So to close on this day of celebrating Mark's life and those of us who have had the pleasure of sharing parts of that life with him ... tell those you love, that you love them today. Spend time with the one's closest to you today, and be grateful and thankful for the blessings in your life right now; because today is all we have, no one knows what tomorrow will bring. And we cannot afford to leave words of love left unsaid.

I love all of my friends who are here in this room today, and new ones I may make. And I really believe Mark would not want us to be sad, but celebrate what an amazing man, friend, father, son, brother and husband he was, who lived life to the fullest and I believe loved everyone he knew with the greatest love a friend could offer. 

He will be greatly missed here in this town, and in so many lives for a very long time.