It’s been seven years since we last celebrated your birthday together, which feels like a lifetime ago and just yesterday all at the same time. I had spent weeks planning a surprise party for you, complete with all your favorite people squished together in one of your favorite hang outs. The week of the big event, I told you that we were meeting two other couples for drinks for your birthday, yet the day before the festivities, you proceeded to call and text everyone you knew, inviting them to come celebrate your birthday with us! I hate keeping secrets and was a nervous wreck all week leading up to the celebration. Somehow I managed to keep it from you and luckily, no one else blew the surprise when you called and texted that week. I did, however, receive dozens upon dozens of messages stating, “Hey I thought the party was a surprise, but Mark messaged me about it…?”
On the drive there, you decided to take the long way, venturing through the neighborhood you grew up, taking me down memory lane on an impromptu ‘tour de Mark Harris’ while my heart pounded deep in my chest, anxiously awaiting the big reveal. When we finally arrived fashionably late to the birthday bash due to your nostalgic detour, you pulled up to the valet, who almost spoiled the surprise when he inquired, “Are you here for the party?” However, since you actually believed that you had just days earlier, casually put together the party of the decade, you pronounced without skipping a beat, “Dude, I AM the party.”
While it has been seven years, it’s sometimes still shocking to recall that just two short months after celebrating your 40th birthday, I laid on your chest in the hospital listening to your heart beat as the ventilator helped you take your final breaths. I will never forget the fiercely devastating yet intensely meaningful moments I had alone with you before saying goodbye when you were wheeled away to give the gift of life to others who were fighting for their own. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and wish you could still be here. My heart aches thinking of all the milestones you’ve missed, although deep inside my soul I know you’ve somehow actually been right here with us for all of them. What I wouldn’t do to feel your hug one last time. Oh Mark, I’ve got so much left to say to you.
While our lives have moved forward without you, we’ll never move on from loving you, honoring you, and sharing your light with the world. I miss you every day and I’ll miss you forever. Until we meet again, I carry you in my heart.