Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shock

A and I are in the hotel in Riverside. We’ll take me to Kaiser in the afternoon. (Should I say “tomorrow” when it’s 3 a.m. now?)

We landed, stopped at Trader Joe’s for food for the week (more for A than for me; I don’t eat much when I’m on chemo), and came here. I called our friend Diane to ask when she wanted us for dinner; she and her friend Rose always host us on the first evening. I got her voicemail, and she called right back.

Her very dear friend had died suddenly of a heart attack that morning. I’d met Mark; he had also brought me food in the hospital. He was a big, loving, generous, hilarious, good-hearted theater geek. (He’d just started playing Daddy Warbucks in a local production of Annie. He’d wanted the role forever.) He jumped on the hospitality bandwagon, feeding a sick stranger (me) because of course he would. He was just a good person. He was strikingly vivacious and alive. To have met him, was to love him.

If cancer kills me, I’ll have had warning. I have time. Mark didn’t.

I wrote a friend and told her, because I tell her too much of everything not to and because she wants to share my experience in cancerland as much as she can. She wrote back that of course she’d pray for Mark and his family, and for us—and that she’d just gotten asked to do a funeral for a 22-year-old bicyclist who’d been crushed underneath a bus in the city.

What words begin to respond to that? I wrestle with life and death daily. I’ve gotten to a place where I know what a gift it is to go there, and I rejoice in being able to give thanks for life. He was a kid, just starting out. He may not have even known what hit him.

I haven’t processed this, and won’t for awhile. I am so thankful for the gift of being able to be conscious of time. I’ll miss Mark’s presence in my life and on this earth. People I love, really loved him.

Pray with the family of Mark Allen-Everett: his husband Jeff; their kids and grandkids. Our friends Rose and Diane; the community of St. George's Episcopal Church, Riverside; and a whole lot of theater people.

5 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Oh my, how is St. George's Riverside? My father was one of the first vicars when St. Georges' was a parochial mission of All Saints. Its a small world for sure. I shall indeed say a prayer for Mark Allen and Jeff.

Cathy said...

Praying for Mark and his family, and for your loss of a friend. May light perpetual shine upon him.

it's margaret said...

Prayers for all.

susankay said...

prayers

Kirstin said...

@Elizabeth: Small, loving, welcoming, wonderful. :-)

Small world, wow!