Friday, May 4, 2012

A Memory from Bill

Its hard to believe but I first met Mark over sixteen years ago.  Shockingly enough our first conversation was about hunting and fishing.  Over the course of our friendship I was fortunate to spend many quality hours with Mark in the field, on the water, in Bible study, playing golf or just hanging out.  I am forever thankful for these times and have many precious memories.  Over the past five years there have been numerous things or words that will take me back to these memories.  I'll start day dreaming about the hunting trip to Argentina or playing golf at Stonewall.  I'll think about fishing in Montana, where on one trip the guide was so amazed at Leeky's fishing prowess that he dubbed him Hoover, because Mark was sucking all the fish out of the river.  Or I'll think about the annual golf trips down to Chicago in which the guys and girls would split up in separate vehicles.  Upon arrival we would share the differences in conversations between the girls car and the guys car.  The girls would talk about what qualities of their husbands they want their kids to inherit while the guys would debate if all four of us could beat up Mike Tyson if we attacked him all at once.  Regardless of what ever triggers the memory, they put a smile on face, cause me to get chocked up and often times lead to tears....but without fail, they always remind me of the incredible person that Mark was!  I could write for days about the numerous hunting and fishing stories but one situation in particular has really stuck with me over the years.

It was the fall of 1998, we were in our senior year of college and bunch of us guys, Mark included, rented a house near campus.  The summer leading up to this, my grandma had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and her condition had gotten worse by the time we returned for school.  Up until Mark's death this was the hardest situation I had ever dealt with.  One night I came back from visiting my grandma at the Mayo Clinic and came into the house.  Mark was sitting on the couch and I burst into tears as I walked in the room and could barely get out any words to tell him that she wasn't doing well.  He came over to me and gave me a huge hug and began praying for me and my family.  A few days later, my grandma passed away and her funeral followed shortly thereafter.  At the funeral we were gathered in a room for a special family meeting and when I came out of the room, there was Mark.  Standing in the hallway of the church waiting for me and my family.  What was amazing about this is that I didn't tell any of the guys the details of the funeral, largely in part because in was 2.5 hours away from campus and during school.  Somehow Mark found out when and where everything was and made the 5 hour round trip to be there for me and my family.  That was the kind of friend and person he was!!!    

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