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Mark

The hardest part is knowing you will never walk through the Orchestra doors again to come give me a hug and ask how I’m doing, even more than it was for me to visit you in your home for the first and last time and see you in your skeletal state. I wanted to be positive or say something uplifting, but I lost it as soon as I saw you that night looking like my dad did right before he went. You comforted me when he went. You comforted me when I was having a hard time at work. You did stuff like that for anyone you got to know and helped any Orchestra member work on their craft with you if needed. You were that kind of music teacher, one who was not just a music teacher. And that was just with the musicians you knew. The next day I heard someone sobbing in my car on the way home after work. Your record was on. I wanted to comfort her, the one that was sobbing. But my ugly cry was clouding the road and I couldn’t stop the sobbing because life’s not fair when it comes to cancer. I laughed at no jokes at work. I spoke to no one unless I had to. Nothing was worse than realizing the sobbing was coming from me, the girl who hates to be sad, who hates it so much she has to listen to Britney Spears to get back in a better mood. In less than two weeks later you went. My sobbing had become uncontrollable at this point. Then those of us who could make it said good-bye to you on a Monday night. But it’s not really good-bye. It was a celebration of your life, the way you left your mark on this world. It’s not about the numbers, but when I looked around and saw so many people there, it was a testimony to the way you spread joy to everyone you came across and made friends wherever you went. You were that kind of follower of Jesus. I didn’t lose it until one of your best friends in the Orchestra went up to the podium to share your funnies. There were so many, laughter came shooting out of my belly like a dragon and that was the beginning of the end of my sobbing. It was like a switch turned it off because I finally got it. It’s not about being sad because you’re gone. We will see you again one day. It’s not even about the way you played your sax so beautifully and humbly. It’s about the fact you lived a full life with the time that you had. You prioritized your family and friends because life is meaningless if you don’t appreciate those around you. But it all comes down to your love of the Lord, which is what motivated everything you did on this Earth. Now if I have a bad habit I want to break I’m going to think of what you said at the music convention to the trombonist before I start something I will regret: “Don’t do it, man!”

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