Last night, my friend Mark died.
He was a wonderful guy - one of the funniest, most caring people I've ever known. I met him more than 20 years ago, when I was living in Richmond and working with his best friend and roommate. For the longest time, I actually thought they were gay, which turned out to be a long-running, quite hilarious joke. They weren't... Mark, in fact, loved women... loved them... and when we'd be out in a bar or a restaurant, he'd marvel at how I would zero in and comment on exactly the woman he had noticed. I never told him, but it really wasn't that hard. If she was breathing, he noticed!
Mark was a groomsman in my wedding. He always called me Lady Di and just after the rehearsal dinner, the night before the wedding, he said to me, "Lady Di, here's a check... a blank check... it's yours if you just don't marry Rob." I just laughed, as we'd always had a silly, somewhat flirty relationship (as he did with loads of women) and I thought he was teasing. But I found out later he was only half-kidding that night. Clearly he was prophetic as well.
When my marriage ended, he was there to lend a shoulder, his humor, and his love... as always. He had a heart as big as the sky and he was always opening it up to the people he loved and people he didn't even know. He did mission work around the world and he made friends wherever he went. You could always count on him for a helping hand, an encouraging word, or a seriously dirty joke!
His death was unexpected. I'm stunned... reeling. I spoke with him recently and he sounded great, even though his father had just passed away. But Mark was an optimist through and through... a light in an otherwise dark day. I'm looking for that light today.
You were loved by many, my friend, and you always will be. You touched so many lives and made every one of them better. You will be missed... so very missed.
Rest in peace, dear Marky-Mark. I love you always... XOXO