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"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

by Nathaniel Philbrick

April 12, 2009

Precious Memories

There is an old song that talks about the precious memories from past times. That is what I am experiencing as I start a new journey on life’s path. Mark and I were married 54 years and I knew him for 61 years. On Good Friday, April 10, he went on ahead of me to be with Christ. I know that as time passes I will experience more and more the loss of my husband, my friend, my lover and my companion.

Let me tell you something about Mark. Someone once asked me to choose a one word description for him. The word I chose was Integrity. He was such a principled man. He was a man of his word. If he said he would do something, he would. In all the years we were married, I don’t believe he ever opened a dresser drawer or a letter of mine unless I asked him to. He never read my emails, never snooped or pried. He thought that we shouldn’t read the letters that my mother and father had written to each other during World War I, until we persuaded him that Mom had 73 years to destroy them and hadn’t. He didn’t want to destroy their privacy. When he was employed he gave 8 hours of work for eight hours pay – not 7 hours and 59 minutes but eight hours.

He took such good care of us and he continued to do so up until he departed. One of my friends asked if I needed anything from the store and I replied that Mark had seen to it that we had enough. He always did the shopping. She asked if the car needed to be gassed up and I said, no, Mark had just gassed up. It was a running joke with us that I have never gassed up this car – Mark always did. He took good care of us. He was our provider.

Now, he wasn’t without his faults – he loved to save things: newspapers, clippings, magazines, boxes, plastic spoons, throw-away cups, and anything from a hotel room such as soap, shower caps, shampoo, etc. He never took anything that didn’t belong to him, such a towel or a robe. He had too much integrity for that. He also saved his clothes and hanging in his closet are shirts and pants that he didn’t wear and didn’t even like but he saved them. And he was thrifty. I knew it was a special occasion when we went out to eat without a coupon. It was that thriftiness that provided a comfortable living for us. Of course someone without faults would have to have a partner who didn’t have faults and I am certainly not that person and he was just perfect for me.

We have gone through hard times together: miscarriages, loss of parents and siblings, loss of jobs, and illnesses but we did it together. I will miss him more and more I am sure. Just tonight I thought, “I will have to ask Mark what he thinks,” and then thought, “No, I can’t – not anymore.” He always used to read my blogs before I posted them, so from now on you will have to put up with errors and things not so well thought out. You will all miss him!

I am so grateful to the Lord that Mark was only in the hospital for 24 hours before God called him home. I am so grateful for the time I had with him. Of course it is never enough, is it? Mark was a gentleman and a gentle man. They did a sonogram of his heart in the MICU (medical intensive care unit) and they said his heart was strong. His heart was good and strong. He was strong in his faith, although he didn’t talk about it very often. He was strong in his love for me and for Kay and the rest of the family – both sides, although he didn’t say it often. He was a good man and a strong man and, as I told him when I left him for the last time on this earth, “I loved you since the day I met you.” During the last minutes of his home-going the family in the next room was singing strong hymns of the faith and I am left with precious memories.

Mark 2007

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