I was at work today when a song came over the channel of piped in music. It was Photograph by Ringo Starr. And when I heard it the tears just started flowing from my eyes because every time that I hear that song I think of Mark Mellor. Now you may be saying, "Oh Lord is he going to talk about Mark again? Can't he just get over it?" The answers to those questions are Yes and No! No one ever "gets over" the death of a loved one. It rips a hole into your life and all that can happen is that the hole gets smaller over time but it never completely closes as there is always something missing where that person should be.
I have to admit that I don't think of Mark as much as I did in the years following his death, but he is in my thoughts weekly. And when I do think of him the thoughts are always happy ones. They center on us being kids and enjoying life and just being friends. However, every so often it hits me that he's gone. And that's when the tears flow. So Photograph comes on and it just gets to me and these waves of sadness and yearning wash over me. Then I realize that this year will be 30 years since Mark left us and that gets me crying even more. I was a wreck for a bit there and had to escort myself to the bathroom to get it together.
The verse that got me was this one:
Ev'ry time I see your face,
It reminds me of the places we used to go.
But all I got is a photograph
And I realize you're not coming back anymore.
Mark and I talked about our future when we were kids. We'd sit out in the warmth of a summer's evening on the steps across from Dean Anderson's house and we'd look at the stars and just talk about whatever would spring to mind. We talked about what we wanted to become in life or where we'd want to live. We came to the conclusion that we wanted to end up friends as adults and have our kids become friends and that we'd go to their ball games and cheer them on. My kids would call him uncle Mark and his would call me uncle Steven.
I am not sure if that would've been how it actually played out but they were the tender thoughts of naive young boys. I am sure that Mark would've become a major league/hall of fame pitcher. I have no doubt about that at all. And I would've been his biggest fan even if he had ended on the, gulp!, Boston Red Sox.
And so the song dredged up a lot of what-ifs and why-nots for me. And then I am reminded that he's not coming back. More tears. Then faith stepped in and lifted me up. As I realized that while he's not coming back, I am straining to get to where he is and that it matters not a whiff at how much I try or strain because the price has already been paid for me on that journey by the blood of Christ. And then I smiled and laughed at the thought of Mark there laughing at me for crying. And then I saw him there and heard him saying, "It's so great here! It's better than we ever dreamed for ourselves! I can't wait for you to get here! Now stop being a pussy and go out there and live your life!" And I laughed. And I went back to work.