This week the universe lost a very dear soul. My friend Mark Ando passed on August 12th at the young age of 52. It’s incredibly shocking to feel the absence of someone who was such a huge vivacious presence in life. Mark left behind his wife (my dear friend) and two daughters ages 16 and 14.
As I sit here writing this and looking at his photos, I can’t hold back tears. How can this be real?
On Tuesday evening there was a celebration of life for Mark. I’ve never felt closer to a church full of strangers in my life. So many people sharing stories of big love, hilarious memories, and sweet impactful moments they shared with him. I feel like I know him on such a deeper level now. But I am truly saddened by the thought I’m left with: I want more time. I want more Mark. I want more memories with this powerhouse of a human being that gave the best bear hugs in the world and made everyone he met feel like they were his best friend.
I’ve been reflecting on how precious this life is. And I find myself wanting to let the small things go. I know that I can only control what I can control, so why spend the energy getting so upset and rattled causing undue stress for myself if it’s out of my hands? I’ve been thinking of all the people I hold so dear that I haven’t told how important they are to me and what an impact they have made on my life.
I’m committing to sharing my feelings with them all. Acknowledgment is such a powerful force and god knows we could all use some positivity right now with the state of the world.
During Mark’s service, I was reminded of one of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It’s in that spirit that I ask you to express what’s in your heart and realize that in an instant, you may not be able to share those sentiments with those closest to you. Let’s never delay love.
A quiet thought: The Dash, a powerful poem by Linda Ellis, shared by a friend at Mark’s service, reminds me that “what matters is how we live and love.” I hope you’ll be able to carry its sentiment into the week ahead.