Mark wrote this two years ago for his Mom's memorial service. I have thought much about the words I hi-lighted below, as the money has come pouring in. Mark spelled out his dream in this letter to his Mom and it is going to happen... It just seemed appropriate to share this letter on the morning of the two year Anniversary of MIL's passing.
After all, the stars all seem to be aligning. Scott's vision has been a huge success & we have found a few Selmer Mark VI tenors right here in town for Mark to try out. Actually, he has one on loan right now & played it at a gig last night! There is so much to be thankful for in our life together, we have been Blessed by good friends and much love. But watching my sweet husband get something that he never saw as a possibility, well, that has been a true joy!
Congrats my love, because, in the end, the money donated was given by many people who believe in you and that is the greatest gift of all.
I will never have to look very far to see or realize the lasting effects of your life on mine. From the car I now drive, to the saxophone I play, to the Christmas music I enjoy, and even to my wife’s name. And though the Toyota will someday be traded in and I might move on, the good lord willing, to a Selmer Mark VI tenor, I will always have the music you put in my heart.
So many Saturday afternoons of my youth were spent listening to Will Moyle’s Essence of Jazz show on WXXI, during which you would inevitably hear a tune that inspired you to walk over to the piano, pick out the right key, sit right down and launch into the song, singing and playing, filling the entire home with a joyful noise.
Sunday mornings meant off to this very church, good old Mt. Rise, to worship God, and to sing with the choir. Again, your beautiful voice would fill the sanctuary, and though shy, little Markie was often embarrassed by the fact that his mom was up there, seemingly singing above all the rest, I secretly was so very proud that you had such a beautiful, sweet, yet powerful and commanding set of pipes.
One might think that a young boy who had lost his father at such a young age, as I did, might have unpleasant memories of his youth. And yet, I have none of that. Our days on Red Fox Run were, in my memory, filled with happiness. And while I was well aware that the makeup of our family was different from almost everybody else’s in the neighborhood, I did not long for anything more than what we had; what you worked so hard to establish.
And perhaps the most meaningful lessons you taught me were in your last years. When you first came to live with us, I thought to myself, “this will be cool; Mom can hang out downstairs, do what she wants, we can visit with her and we’ll have a built in babysitter!”
I soon came to realize that that wasn’t the case. Taking care of you was often difficult and time consuming. But the experience was also rewarding and consequential to myself, Ellie jr., Beau, Teale and Gwenn. We learned that families ought to stick together, we learned to give back and we saw the grace of God moving in countless others who would out of the kindness of their hearts pick you up and take you to choir, out for lunch or to a concert.
Mom, I owe you so much. And yet if you were here I know you would say, “don’t be silly.” I will be eternally thankful for so many life lessons you passed on. Until my dying days I will remember the good times: Our yearly camping trips, waking up Christmas morning with the sliding door shut, calling out to Scott downstairs through the heating vents to coordinate our joint convergence on the presents under the tree, seeing you in the hallways at Jeff Road, tap dancing to “Put on a Happy Face”. God is good. Thank you, Mom. I love you.