A 42 year-old father of a nine year old daughter is buried in the precious earth today. A man who was, by all accounts, a successful and loving father, husband, friend. A man dedicated, through active military duty, to his country. A man I knew only briefly and slightly; his wife and I were colleagues and friends some years ago. And now he is, suddenly, inexplicably ...gone from his family, his life. And on this day of clouds and barren trees and coolness in the air, I think about him again. I think of that video which shares with us his surprise for his young daughter at school back in December, when he was just home from Afghanistan. I think of that hug and the, "I missed you so much" in his voice. I remember how proudly he shared photos of her. No, I didn't know Mark well, but I know this is an excruciating and deep loss, and most poignantly for a young girl who enjoyed a closeness with her dad that most of us long for.
Depending on what we believe, we can justify something like this happening, by saying he was a good man so was called to heaven, or maybe his work in this life was done, so he returned to the universe to become ready for the next one. None of us knows, of course, and most of us attempt to justify these horrific events in our minds, make some sense of what has happened, because it makes US feel better. I can't imagine Mark's wife, Cindy and his daughter Samantha standing at his wake, or at his graveside, without my mind screaming, Why? What must their minds be screaming? How many days, years might it take for their lives to be anything close to what they thought they would be? Why do things like this happen?
There are no real answers to these questions. We work around them the best way we know, until we find our comfort in the loss. But it is at times like these, when my world, albeit far removed from Mark's family's, is shaken. The ultimate realization makes me consider my own spirituality and ways to wrap my thoughts, my feelings around this truth, trying to answer the question of why. There are so many facets of what this event will cause; how his wife will move on, what his daughter's life will now be without her dad.
Everything changes. Our peace is individual, and found within our intuitive selves, and it is totally human to mourn for such loss. This brings back to me, the absolute truth that we have only now, this moment. We can plan, hope, and of course, that is what we do within our lives, but ultimately, all we really have is now. And with that, my thoughts, my healing and peaceful energy are sent to Cindy, Samantha and the rest of Mark's family, that they find their comfort in Mark's living and accomplishments, and in the love he shared with them all. Peaceful journey, Mark.