Our memories are not confined to square footage. They are not limited to a physical boundary. Infinite storage capacity is included with our brain’s processor. Rarely do we have to delete files to make room for additional ones. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? We don’t have to decide which ones we are going to save and which ones we must delete to make more room.
As I struggle to process your loss, my mind recalls countless memories buried in the archives. The news of your passing has them bubbling up. The rapid flow of memories reminds me of watching Old Faithful in action. The slow bubbles and steam gradually expand. Growing until they are no longer able to be contained. They rise towards the sky in a beautiful display.
We traveled a long season together. Through the teen years, we were attached at the hip. I wonder how many notes we passed during our years together in high school? I know we both still had some the last time we talked. We passed a lot of notes in biology class. I have so many memories from that year. Maybe because it is the only class I remember getting in trouble in. I was a great student, except in biology, but you and Brad Nowell had my back. I sat between both of you in class. We were often chatting and goofing around. Dr. B. knew I did not know the answer (he was correct). Usually, he would call on me in these moments. You or Brad would whisper the correct response into my ear and save my ass. I smile as I recall.
High school was tough for me. On the outside, I came across confident and secure. The truth is I was insecure about my body, my weight, and my economic status (to name just a few). You always had words to encourage and support me. You saw things in me that I did not see in myself. You accepted me. At parties, you would drag my self-conscious booty out onto the dance floor. I have so many memories of us dancing and laughing. You had a way of coaxing me out of my comfort zone. Dancing is something I still love, thanks to you.
There have been weddings and funerals. Trips to Catalina, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Mexico, Mammoth. Camping in the middle of the desert. I am sure there are other destinations that I am excluding. For many seasons of my life, you were my person. When my dad passed, you and Todd helped me process my grief. You and Todd were my anchors.
Throughout our teens, twenties, and thirties, we traveled closely. We celebrated our weddings together. The birth of our children. Traveling to Mammoth with all the kids. We attended dance recitals, concerts, pillowcase-making parties, and birthday parties. As the kids got older, we gathered together less often. It became tougher as Emily got older. The gap between the girls expanded. Our paths separated but we gathered for life events. We were there to support each other when we both lost our moms. While we may have gathered less, love for our families was always present. The Hardy Boys and their families will always be part of my chosen family.
I have much gratitude sprinkled in the grief and sadness. I am grateful that I took that call from you last October. I am thankful we spent hours talking and texting that day. I am glad we shared a deep connection one last time. Nothing was left unexpressed or unsaid. I feel peaceful and grateful for that day. Lastly, I am thankful for memories. The memories we shared never fail to bring a smile to my face.
I will always consider you a friend for a lifetime and beyond. We made so many memories over the decades. I have them to lean on when I miss you. Rest In Peace, Mark. You are a Forever Friend.
Note: The sudden loss of my friend hit me hard. It reminded me of the fragility of life. “Life is short. The world is wide. Make memories.”-Mama Mia
April 29,1968 – December 3, 2021