Mark was an optimist. When we were just married and our basement flooded with two feet of water, he joked that we had the first row house with an indoor pool. Then he rolled up his sleeves and cleaned the place up. Mark was a man you could count on to get the job done and who found pleasure in the doing. In turn, those around him found themselves laughing too. His good humor was infectious.
Mark was gentle. I think Mark plucked his gentleness form nature itself. I would watch him in the last light of a long, summer day standing by the lake at our campsite. Fishing pole in hand. He'd throw his head back, scan the cloudless sky and sigh. His peaceful moment broken by the shouts of Ali and Mark who caught yet another sunny and Big Mark's excited praise as though they had caught a trophy bass. Mark would call times like that "his greatest moments".
Mark was a big man who made a difference in small ways. He was the ear you needed when things were all wrong, he was the strong hand when you needed a helper, he fed our souls as often as he fed our bellies. Mark could diffuse a tense situation with a well placed joke. He was the kind of guy you actually wanted to run into at Wawa. That small encounter was a guaranteed bright spot in your day.
Mark would say that one should not take from the earth more than he could give back, and to this end, he succeeded. He planted seeds of hope, happiness and optimism wherever he went. It is up to all of us who knew him, who loved him, to allow these seeds to flourish. It is hard to set aside one's grief and even harder to be hopeful. But without that, Mark's life becomes meaningless. We are here today to bid him farewell, the hole he leaves is gaping, but if each one of us donates a little humor, a little gentleness, a little optimism, the void can be filled. And the balance in nature, made right.