Monday, August 13, 2012
Rest In Peace, Mark Patterson, My Friend
In life, there's no such thing as a happy ending.
I mean, maybe, once in a blue moon, an elderly couple passes, sleeping in each other's arms, aimed directly for heaven with maybe a pit stop to gaze lovingly at the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren they're leaving behind.
But not really.
Because those children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren are left here with a handful of memories and each other, if they're lucky.
I've always had a problem with death.
It's mostly left me alone, with a few near misses.
I know this is something that cannot continue. I mean, that's what we all have in common; we all will eventually lose everything. It just depends how soon that happens.
The scary thing is we never know. Death is always lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce.
Today I was surfing Facebook when I saw a picture of an old friend pop into my newsfeed. We were close in college, even lived together for a year in a nothing-special, generic sort of duplex. But, over the years, as happens with almost everyone in life, we drifted apart. Only reconnected about six months ago when his daughter was selling girl scout cookies, and we all know how much I love cookies. But since then, he was on my radar, and I on his, and we liked each other's statuses and occasionally commented.
He was married to a lovely woman and had three beautiful children. His passion for life showed with every post he made--his enthusiasm for biking, his dedication to the world and those around him. He was funny, and he was smart. He was a leader in the community. He loved a good time.
And he died on Saturday, August 11th, the same day of my sister's wedding. It seems he had an aortal aneurysm, the sneaky twin to the illness that almost claimed my mother two autumns ago.
I'm having a hard time processing this.
He made chili on the Fourth of July. He can't be gone.
He took his kids on the Register's Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa. He can't be gone.
He posted a funny comment on my picture of seaweedy Lake Okoboji, remembering when we visited there ten years ago.
He. Can't. Be. Gone.
But he is.
And he's left behind a wonderful wife and three precious babies.
He was the sole provider for their family.
Please, if you have a nickel to spare, consider donating to this fund set up in the name of his children.
And, Mark, you will be missed. By all of us.