As I took my brisk walk in the gray foggy morn, I was deeply aware that today marks “one month and one day” since the passing of a dearly beloved friend. As I walked through the chilly mist, I thought of a particularly remarkable man I had known since my first steps into adulthood. It was he, Mark, who gave me the gift of unconditional love. It was through him that I first experienced love that knew no ending, no withholding, and no regret. It was easy to love Mark, for he was the embodiment of natural charisma. He was an extraordinary man to behold with his jet-black hair, steel blue eyes, and self-assured demeanor. He had caught my girlish attention instantly, and I learned, firsthand, the reality of love at first sight. Yet it was Mark’s intelligence, humorous wit, wisdom, and incredible heart that kept my friendship and my love.
I was too young and self-absorbed those many years ago to fully appreciate what Mark had bestowed upon me with such a willing, open heart. As years passed, Mark’s gift of absolute love became ever clearer to me. Although we ultimately took our own paths in life, we never lost touch. I felt his presence often despite the physical distance between us. In many ways, it seemed as though he experienced my life with me vicariously. In my most trying times, it was the memory of his love, the certainty of knowing that unconditional love did exist, that kept me striving ever forward. Mark was man of integrity, passion, and dedication…he was magnificent.
As my walk continued, I thought of my friendship through the years with this gentle, wonderful man. Although the relationship changed and evolved, the love remained constant. The ineffable connection between us would not, could not, be undone. I recalled wistfully how I had been brought to hot, unexpected tears earlier in the week when the realization finally set in that I would never again be able to speak with him on the telephone, hear his voice, gaze into his devilishly smiling eyes, or send him a simple e-mail. All of that worldly interplay was gone. I paused my steps as a Ben Harper song, “Beloved One,” began to play in my ears. Synchronistically, in sweet, heart-wrenching tones, he sang, “Your eyes shine through me…your heart has a home in mine…when I search my heart, it is you I find.” A flood of warm tears cascaded down my cheeks as I felt in my heart that I had not lost the essence of Mark; I was reminded that he did live within me through the gifts of love he had instilled in my spirit.
And so it is with those we love and those who love us. They are never truly lost to us, for that which we give to each other, learn from each other, and experience with each other is forever part of us. Truly, I can often feel Mark’s presence within my own as I love others unconditionally. As I see through his eyes and feel through his heart, I know that his spirit lives on through me. And to him, on this exquisite, now sun-drenched day, I send out a song from my heart. With you, Mark, I will forever feel the joy and the love of Mink DeVille’s “Little Girl.” You will never be lost to me. Te amo.