The One for a Father

The week has been long and my heart has been heavy.

On Tuesday night we lost a dear family friend.  Mark’s diagnosis came just a week or two after my wedding.  I remember being floored by the word “glioblastoma”, and at the cruelly short time frame they gave him.  And of course, he fought.  He fought hard for those three blonde daughters of his and his one incredible wife.  He had every reason to fight for his life, and so that’s exactly what he did.  And Tuesday night, he left this world, leaving behind a legacy of friendship and love.

My tears this week have been for the people who will feel his loss in the everyday.  Kirstin, who is so strong and brave and an incredible mother, who will miss her soulmate and partner in every possible way.  Avery, Mallory, and Emily, who will feel the loss of their father in small moments and in every milestone – birthdays and graduations and weddings.  And for my father, who lost his best friend.

I’m lucky to have had a handful of best friends to guide me through life – a couple from my childhood, one from high school, and another from college.  By being there for me in various stages of life, they all know different, deeper sides of me, and our bonds are that much stronger.  For my dad, those best friends were all the same person – Mark Thomas.  Childhood friends, grade school buddies, fraternity brothers.  The kind of friend who spends the holidays with you and your kids.  Friends who plan at least one golfing trip per year.  The lifetime-best-friend kind.  Only this lifetime wasn’t quite long enough.

Mark – you are missed.

Kirstin and the girls – you are loved.

Dad – the idea of wishing you a happy birthday seems crass, but it’s here all the same:  I wish you a happy birthday today.  And I’m sorry that this might be the worst birthday in the history of birthdays.

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