I’ve always loved weddings and, ironically, I’ve often loved funerals for the same reasons: family, friends, joy, tears, good stories, good food. We are drawn together – we people, we souls – in those events, and reminded of what matters most.
This memorial service for our sweet boy was no different on that broad level. It was exactly, exactly what we’d hoped. About a thousand people showed up – some of them strangers who had never met our Mark – and were deeply, profoundly moved. People have told us they’ve never been to “anything like that.” Kids – so, so many of Mark and Sarah’s friends – sang, videos were shown, we laughed a lot and cried a lot. All three of us managed to speak – how could we not? For me, not speaking…not talking about him…would have felt like throwing Mark in the ground and walking away. We partook in Holy Communion. served by a dozen dedicated servants of God, and felt incredible power around us in that place…a high school gym, transformed by our loving, aching, weeping, dedicated friends, into a chapel.
Everyone left knowing Mark. Everyone left knowing that what mattered most about our son, what Mark WAS and IS: he was comfortable with himself and encouraged others to be the same; he brought light and joy into this world every single stinking day. He was funny, quirky, goofy, engaging, charming, silly, outrageous, kind and oh-so-smart. He lived life so fully. He was…he IS a Good Kid.
There was That Video by his best friends, an incredibly wonderful, incredibly brilliant homage to Mark. Where, in an outtake from another video they made, Mark says – when describing “himself” (in this case, the character he plays in the parody of a music video) – he is “perfect.” Just that part…the “perfect” part…will come to mean so much to me, to others, in the coming months.
Everyone left wearing rubber memorial bracelets — in deep sky blue — etched with the words Mark tweeted just 72 hours before he left this plane: TIME IS PRECIOUS.
After the funeral, we came home to a full house. A family in shock and also desperate for togetherness. It was exactly right…and exactly wrong. Oh God, why do Steve and I have to be so stinking polite? So responsible? Why did we agree to take pictures, and smile, and chat? When do we get to go to bed? To curl back into our fetal positions?