A Knowing Smile to Assure Us All
A funny thing happened today. I realized that a year has slipped away since a great friend of mine departed from this world. I don’t know what to make of that. I really don’t. Is it the fact that it has been a year, or that he resides in a different reality now?
It is strange to come to terms with so many things that happen as we age out of this life. Dreams of our youth that don’t pan out, our bodies succumbing to mortality, and watching those around us slip away a rate that is all too increased. I call this “Adulting,” (something you have to do, but don’t really want to do). Being an adult. Accepting the reality of a situation without the promise of it being okay, or knowing if it ever will be okay again. The kind of situation where you turn around to get assurance from those you have always got assurance from, but they are no longer there in that way.
Mark provided me assurance, and he was “Adulting” long before I discovered what it meant. Those of us that know a bit about him, can attest to the litany of things that occurred over his life that could have buried the best of us. But not Mark. He lived love, and showed me a magnificent example of how to be in this world. I owe tribute to this example, and bear testament to a grand memory of a sincere and beautiful person.
By all accounts, I would characterize Mark Hickey as a soul that made me feel comfortable whenever I was in his presence or was thinking about him. He was the kind of guy, that had a loaded smile that was full of everything that we experienced together in our friendship, and yet invited the possibility of more experience. Never impatient with me, he always assured me with that smile. I have to believe that anyone that reads this and knew Mark, probably experienced this in their own way with him. You know, the kind of deal where you share a secret with someone, and you both are invested in the trust of that bond, and it is never violated. It seemed to me that Mark fulfilled that luxury in my life. I knew that whenever I saw him, that we had a connection that allowed us to not speak for a time, and then pick up where we left off. This is the gift of his friendship, and it transcends quickly dissolved years and different realities.
What I can say of Mark, is that he embodied a feeling about life that I cherish, that despite knowing that there are evils in the world, and that not all experience in life is grand, that despite these things, all that we can do for each other is create a bond marked by a knowing smile of shared experience. We can turn around when there is no one there to assure us, and be assured that a memory is a pretty concrete fucking thing when the love that created it is still inside of us.
I don’t feel loss, I feel gain, because whenever I think of Mark, the good things bear out in that moment. I admire his bravery in facing adversity, I admire the amount of love he shared, and I admire how he attracted so many great people into his life to share that life with. My thoughts go out to Mark’s family on a day that is very tough to endure by many accounts. My hope is that they too can recall that assured smile, and feel his presence, and take comfort in that it continually serves as a reminder that it might not be okay right now, but someday, somewhere down the road, that smile will be waiting to lead us to a far better place where secrets are shared and we can pick up right where we left off last time.
Love and fond memory always, insert that sly grin here brother…