We picked up my dad at the airport on Wednesday. Thursday I cooked all day and we had friends over for Thanksgiving dinner who moved from our old home town to one mile from us. It was a fun evening of friendship and family.
Then the text came in at 2 a.m.
We’ve been worried about our friend Mark. He lives down the road from us and got a cold that turned into pneumonia earlier this month. He couldn’t breathe and was coughing so hard that he went to the hospital two weeks ago. This past week the doctor put him on a ventilator and induced a coma. He tested negative for COVID.
Everyday we waited for news from his son who came down from Seattle. Every day the news wasn’t good.
Mark left us Thanksgiving night at 2 a.m.
My husband said, “What do we do now?”
He talked to Mark every single day until Mark was on the ventilator. I don’t think we’d be living in Arizona if it hadn’t been for Mark. We visited him in Arizona after he moved here from Seattle several years ago. Mark introduced me to my husband 37 years ago. Mark introduced us to our realtor and he went house hunting with us on the day we found our new home. He introduced us to other friends who are moving to Arizona from Seattle. They will stay with us for Mark’s service this week.
The last time we saw Mark was a few weeks ago before he was in the hospital. He seemed healthy. We invited him over for dinner and ping pong. I cooked one of the best meals of my life.
Now he’s gone. I feel raw and fragile. We pushed through the weekend, trying to carry on. We had to entertain my dad. Saturday we went to the ASU UA football game with a group of friends from my kids’ Palm Springs swim team — their former teammates and parents. It was a good distraction for a bit.
But now what?
I can’t express how much we miss Mark. How hard it is when someone dies unexpectedly who is one of your close friends. It’s surreal how they’re a big part of your life one day and then leave a gaping hole when they’re gone.