Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Home Home

It is with a very heavy heart that I let you all know that Mark went "home home" last night (when he was in the hospital, he referred to Heaven as "home home"). I'm not really sure what to write here, because I feel like I've already shared it all.

Before Mark got sick, I only saw him a couple of times a year, when my dad would pick him up to go fishing or when we celebrated his birthday on Halloween. When I learned he had Stage 4 lung cancer, I was shocked. I went to the hospital for a visit, and after spending that afternoon with Mark, I was hooked on him!


All of my stupid little problems and worries of day-to-day life seemed to disappear when I was chatting with Mark. I always left feeling excited to see him again, because he had this way of making me feel so happy! With each visit, I really started to know Mark more and more. I wished that I'd visited him in the group home the way that I was visiting him in the hospital (and then nursing home). I wished that I'd have more time to spend with him.

Mark's attitude could reel anybody in. The nursing staff and doctors all fell in love with him from the first day he was admitted. How could they not, when he actually thanked them for giving him another injection or gross-tasting hospital food? He was so grateful to everyone that popped into his room, and he made sure to let them know it. He loved to share his candy with anyone that came in to see him.



Mark really wanted to fight this cancer, but he also knew that he may be going "home home" soon. He made it his mission to go home, back to his group home that he's known for over 35 years, and he did everything the nursing staff and therapists asked of him in order to get his wish. He did radiation treatments, chemo treatments, and physical and occupational therapy day after day in order to get well enough to go home.

And he did it! First, we brought him home for a day in order to let Mark throw a party for the other residents in the group home. He had gotten some money from his cards, and he wanted to spend it on a pizza and cake party for his friends. He had a great time, and I'm so happy that we were able to make that happen for him.


And after his treatments were done, he was finally discharged to go home. Once he got there, he was very content and happy to see his friends (who were like family to him), and to sleep in his own bed (he hated the hospital beds). I am grateful and happy that I got to spend a few minutes alone with him to say anything I'd like to say, knowing that his cancer had taken a turn for the worse.


Even though I've only truly gotten to know Mark over the last four months, his death is devastating to me. I wish that I had done more with him, and I wish that I could have done more for him in the end. But I think that Mark felt very loved over the last few months. He told everyone he came in contact with, "I have SO MANY people that care about me!" as he pointed to all of his cards.

I want to say a very heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who sent him a card, gift, well-wish, prayer, or positive thought. The one positive thing to come out of Mark's illness and passing away is that he touched literally thousands of lives in one way or another. He was the most selfless person I've ever known, and he loved to do things for others.


In honor of Mark, and his loving and generous attitude, I want to ask all of you to do one last thing for him: Do a random act of kindness for somebody else. It doesn't have to cost any money (Mark didn't have any money, but he was always looking for ways to help people), or be anything extravagant; but I ask that you actively seek out a way to do something kind for someone else today (or whenever you can).

If you are unsure of what to do, I'd like to suggest visiting a nursing home. Mark spent a couple of months at a nursing home, and I was so sad for all of the people there who didn't get any visitors. Mark's room was decorated with cards, but most of the people there didn't have anything to show they are being thought about. You can really brighten someone's day by bringing them flowers, or a card, or to go and chat for a little while. Or bring them a strawberry milkshake--that's what Mark would probably suggest :)

If you care to, I'd love for you to post a comment here to share the random act of kindness that you did. Let's see just how many lives Mark can touch, even now that he is Home Home!

111 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about Mark going home home but I honestly believe that where he is, he is at peace and loved and so happy.

    I'm sorry for your loss - and so grateful and happy for Mark that he had your family in his life! You loved him as if he was your own family and it is clear he loved you all back just as much. I'll be thinking of and praying for you all.

    Lots of love! I will try and do a random act of kindness and post back asap!

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  2. I have been following your blog for a while. It's hard to know what to say in this post. I have tears in my eyes reading this and I am so sorry for your loss. Mark sounds like an extraordinary person. I will do a random act of kindness today. I do not know what yet, but I will. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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  3. Tears and love from San Diego. Thank you for the challenge to give service. Rest in peace Mark, and thank you for your life. Well done.

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  4. (crying), Katie, I'm so glad you go to be a major part of Mark's life, especially at the end. As much as you looked forward to your visits, can you imagine HOW MUCH Mark enjoyed having you with him? You made such an impact in his life, with the cards, the visits, the party in his honor, the McDonald's food. When I hear the cancer doctors tell Duane that he needs to lose some weight (he's just slightly obese), I think WHY? His cancer is terminal, did anybody ever die from cancer still being overweight? No! The disease just wastes a person away. I'm glad Mark got to enjoy the milk shakes and other fattening food you brought him while he could. God Bless you and your family for taking this wonderful man into your lives and making a difference in his life.

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  5. My thoughts are with you at this sad time. I am so sorry Katie.

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  6. I'm new to your blog but still sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It sounds like he had a wonderful, grateful, loving spirit.

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  7. Oh Katie, I am so sorry for your and your family's loss. Mark was a true angel and I am not a religious person but some people are just amazing and this world is a better place because of them and through your words I think we all know that this world was better because of Mark.

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  8. I'm so sad to hear of Mark's passing. You can take comfort in what you and your family did to make his last days the best they could be - filled with family & love. We all know he is in a better place, with no pain or suffering. In time I know your heart will heal and you can rest assured Mark will find his perfect fishing spot. I too thank you for sharing Mark's story with us.

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  9. I'm very sorry for the loss of Mark. It's amazing how one life can touch so many people!

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  10. Oh, Katie, thank you for sharing Mark's story with us--he made such an impact on so many people through your blog, and that means you have had a profound impact too.

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  11. Your post literally brought me to tears. I know how much he meant (from your blog) to you and your family. It's also wonderful to know that someone who seemingly had so little truly had so much to share with the world.

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  12. Katie, and family - I'm so sorry for your loss. You did so much for him, and brought such joy to his life that I'm absolutely certain he is telling anyone who will listen at home-home how wonderful you've been to him. He loves you, and he knows you love him. And that's what matters. He felt your love every day, his life was better for having you in it. No one can really know how you feel, because it's different for everyone, but know you'll be in a lot of thoughts and prayers as you grieve your sweet friend.

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  13. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I am happy your were able to connect with him over the past four months. I know he helped you with your outlook on life and I hope those feelings remain. From everything I read, Mark seemed like an incredible person. I'm honored I got to know him through your blog. thank you for sharing him with the world.
    Virtual hugs to you and your family!

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  14. Katie, I'm so sorry. Thank you so much for sharing Mark with us. I am smiling thinking of Mark in Heaven right now. You will see him again someday!! xoxo

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  15. I'm so sorry for your loss. Praying for you and your family during this time. Cancer sucks! I'm so glad that you were able to get closer to Mark these last couple months

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  16. Oh Katie I am so sorry to read this, but I am glad that Mark did not suffer. Hugs to you and your family.

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  17. Katie and Family, I am so sorry for your loss. I know how much Mark meant to you all; how he became your family. He was beyond blessed to have you all in his life, to have you visit him, watch over him, advocate for him. The love that you showed him was an inspiration and while you certainly didn't do it for accolades, you definitely deserve to be proud of yourself. For the rock that you were for Mark, and for the amazing example you are to your boys. I believe in karma, so I believe that because Mark was such a genuine and humble person, you were brought into his life :) You have taught each other so much, and in the process, you have taught us all. Thank you so much for sharing Mark's story; for sharing your story of Mark. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time.

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  18. Oh Katie, my heart goes out for you and your family. What a bright sunbeam you all have been for Mark throughout these years. I'm sure he's "home" sitting with his milkshake in one hand and fishing pole in the other smiling ear-to-ear.

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  19. Very sorry for the loss of Mark. Prayers to you and your family.

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  20. You are an amazing friend...and don't forget that although Mark changed your lives, you and your family made an impact on Mark's life - and a great one. I'm very sorry for the sadness, but I'm grateful that you have given us an insight into Mark's life and how grateful we should be on a daily basis. He's a wonderful example of happiness for me :)

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  21. I'm so sorry Katie - like I said in my email last week, I know how hard it is to lose a loved one! Just know that you are being surrounded by so much love and positivity right now!

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  22. I'm so sorry Katie! Thinking of you, your family, Mark, and Mark's family during this time of sorrow. May he rest in peace.

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  23. So sorry to hear this Katie! Thank you for sharing his story and your experiences. My condolences to your family and all those who knew and loved him!

    Cora

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  24. Oh Katie. From the bottom of my heart, I am deeply sorry for you and your family's loss. Mark was clearly a very special, wonderful person who has had such an impact on all of us. Your call for an act of kindness from is beautiful, and is such a great way to honor Mark.

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  25. I have tears in my eyes reading this. Who am I kidding? They are actually streaming down my face. Thank you for everything you did for Mark these last few months. I know that you touched his life just as much as he touched yours. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  26. I never comment, but have been reading throughout his journey. Hugs. What you were able to do for him in his last months was very special.

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  27. To Katie and family- saying prayers for you to have strength and comfort while you grieve knowing that Mark is at his "home home" where no pain or limitations are felt and he is enjoying fishing. What a blessing you and your family were to him for many years making his earthly life fun and fulfilling. I believe I can speak for other readers too when I say Mark's attitude is a great lesson in how to live and treat others. He certainly did leave the world a better place.

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  28. So sorry to hear of Mark's passing. Very glad you were able to go see him on Monday and spend some time with him. It is very humbling going in to nursing homes and seeing the residents that are "forgot" about by family and friends. I frequent them quite a bit as an EMT and its heart breaking. We always make time to say hello to each resident we pass as we are going in to pick up the person needing to go to the hosptial.
    I am glad that Mark didn't end up having to have a long drawn out suffering and went peacefully and even though he wasn't home it was better than passing in a hospital.
    I will continue to do random acts of kindnes for others and aim for something small each day.

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  29. "The one positive thing to come out of Mark's illness and passing away is that he touched literally thousands of lives in one way or another. "

    Truer words have never been written. I will try to be a better person and do something random for Mark. Thanks Katie for letting us know Mark a little bit more while you could.

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  30. It is amazing that 4 months can completely change your life. God brings us the people we need as blessin's or lessons. Mark was definitely a blessing. The world needs more kindness and Mark was the best example of hope, kindness and joy. This will be on my heart today. It only takes one person to make a difference. Sending you all so much love and prayer in this time.

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  31. Sorry for your loss. I've been following your journey with Mark and he was lucky to have you as much as you were lucky to have him. RIP "home home" and I will do something random for someone today. Hugs to you and your family.

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  32. What a beautiful tribute for your friend. I am sure he is 'home home' and looking out for you and all his friends down here. I will do something random for someone today and sending you thoughts and prayers at this sad time.

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  33. I am so sorry for you and your family's loss Katie. I know how hard it is, and how you think you should have spent more time with Mark. But you DID take the time to get to know him. You DID make him smile. You DID brighten his day. You MADE a difference. YOU DID SOMETHING!

    You helped him make it home to where he was happiest and he good die happy. He was surrounded by his family (blood and adopted) and so much LOVE. He died knowing he was cared for and loved. We should all be so blessed.

    Grieve as you need, but hold his life lessons dear to your heart. And remember, you did something!!! Now I need to go do something too! I love your challenge for us!

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  34. I have followed this story the whole time and reading this brings tears to my eyes. It's those that have the least that seems to touch peoples hearts the most. Knowing that Mark is home home brings peace.

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  35. I am so sorry. When someone dies, it's really hard to know the right things to say. Nothing you say can make it better, but I do know how it feels to lose someone, and I know how you're feeling right now. Losing someone you care about changes you forever. It does make you think about everything in your life, and what we're really here for--to love and care for others and be loved in return. You did that for him, and it doesn't matter that it was only for a few months. You made a difference in his life. Remember, and take comfort in that. (((HUGS)))

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  36. Mark really touched me---and Katie you deserve many thanks for sharing his story with so many people. Mark showed me the inner goodness in people. He is a living testament to God's presence in the world----in a world where people with so little can be so truly good, and where doing service for others can make us so happy (as Katie learned), there just has to be a God. I did not send a card but I did send many thoughts and prayers his way. Today I send gratitude to Mark and Katie for letting their lives be living testaments to good, and reminding me to serve others and be compassionate. I haven't decided my random act of kindness yet---probably buying a sandwich for a homeless person or buying flowers for the office. xoxo

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  37. I'm so sorry to hear about Mark going home home. When you are struggling remember that home home is a place of peace and happiness. You focus a lot on what Mark did for you, but don't downplay to yourself how much brighter you and your family made his life. When things got especially tough, you all showered him with love and were there for him. Picture how different his last four months would have been without you and your parents and family. He would have certainly felt loved by his nephew, doctors, nurses, and other friends, but it would have paled in comparison to the enormous love and support he found in your family.

    I will definitely do something in the next day or two in his memory and will report back.

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  38. Even though I only know you through your blog, I feel we're (you and your readers) a close family. My heart is heavy this morning, having read the news about Mark. He was so special and taught us a thing or two about joy and life. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you celebrate his joyful life. God Bless.

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  39. Katie - I am so very, very sorry for your loss. I know you, Jerry, the boys, your parents, that all of you are heartbroken. You write about regrets of not doing more sooner.....please know that the important thing is you DID do things....in God's timing....you made Mark smile, feel loved, brought him candy and food and milkshakes, gave him the gift of your time and conversation, helped him fulfill a dream of the pizza party for the family he loved at his group home, the cards, the other surprises....you made all of these last months and his transition to "home home" one of joy and peace and love for Mark. He is now free of suffering. He has touched so many lives through the ministry of your writing....your blog has brought Mark's story to all of us. It has helped me reach out to others, it has helped your readers to do a little something more for others. Mark's legacy is spreading that joy of life...that pure, loving spirit he had. I plan to buy some McDonald's strawberry milkshakes this week and randomly share them with those who live at my mother-in-law's assisted living facility. In Mark's honor. Bless you Katie and family for being Mark's family.....for being there for him.....I am so glad you all went on Monday. There is a reason your Dad decided to go with you and your mom ..... there is always a bigger plan. Sending love your way. The loss of a loved one is deep and intense and different for everyone. It is something one has to walk through. It is a journey and it is a challenge. Hug your family tighter and continue to find the positive things, as Mark would want you to do. And, your blog family is here to uplift you as well. Hugs and prayers to you.

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  40. I'm so sorry, Katie. You were such a great friend.

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  41. My condolences, Katie. Always treasure the time you spent with Mark and remember how fortunate both of you were to know each other.

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  42. I'm so sorry, Katie. Mark was an extraordinary man, and he was lucky to have you and your family in his life. Thank you so much for sharing him with us. It touched me when you posted about him, and I'm glad I got to know him through you.

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  43. Katie,

    Thanks so much for sharing Mark's journey with us all. Reading this has reminded me very much of losing my grandmother to cancer in 1997. I can only imagine how helpful this will be for people who are faced with losing a loved one to cancer and having read your account of Mark's battle first.

    Mark was a wonderful person, and I'm glad so many helped care for him during his last days. May he be at peace.

    Condolences to you and all that lost him.

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  44. So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Mark with us, your readers.

    I think about the example this experience has been for your boys. They saw how mom's 'simple' blog opened up the world for Mark and I bet they will be paying it forward all of their lives after seeing your actions.

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  45. Katie, I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I have anxiously awaited updates on Mark every day since you began posting about him. Keep your head high- what you did for Mark was a wonderful thing! I'm sure he is happy to be "home home". Thinking about you and your family.

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  46. Katie - I am so sorry for your loss. Mark was truly inspirational in the way he lived his life and I am so appreciative that you were able to share his story with us. Your blogs about Mark always put things in perspective in my life; Mark seems to be the definition of grateful. You were both so blessed to have such a special relationship. I know the feeling of wishing that you had done more and I hope you can find peace in knowing that you did so much more than you probably realize by sharing Mark's story so he could reach people that he would have never been able to otherwise. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers as well as my random act of kindess I'll do in Mark's honor.

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  47. Along with all your other readers, I'm sorry to hear of Mark's passing, although I also believe he is home, home and nothing can compare with what he is experiencing now! It's those that are left behind that have to go through the grieving and loss.

    I love your idea of having everyone do a random act of kindness in honor of Mark! Count me in! I will let you know once I've figured out what it will be.

    Thank you for sharing this very personal and sincere journey with your readers! It's one reason you are such a hit in the blogging world...you are genuine and we love you for it!

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  48. I'm sorry to hear this news. :( I loved reading your posts about Mark, and he seemed like a really amazing man. I know how you and all who knew and loved him must be feeling. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

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  49. Like so many others here, tears are rolling down my face as I type this. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Mark's story with all of us and showing us that there is so much that many of us take for granted. We could all take a page from Mark's book. Your request to do one random act of kindness today is an endearing tribute to a great man. I plan to send Thank You cards to all of my friends and family just to tell them that they are loved and appreciated.

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  50. I'm sorry for your loss Katie. My sympathies to you and your family at this sad time. Thank you for sharing Mark's story and your feelings as you've walked this journey with him. I felt I was always reading a true testimony of unconditional love any time you wrote about being with Mark and all that you learned from each other. Peace.

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  51. I'm so sorry for your loss Katie. You did such a lovely thing, making friends with Mark over the recent months. You were there for him in his time of need and I think you brought him a lot of joy and love in that time. Please don't regret what you wished you had done, and just remember the smiles you gave him with the gift of your love!
    Today, I will do as many random acts of kindness that I can think of -a tribute to the kindness you showed Mark. First one: going to Costco today to pick up a couple of big bags of my mom's favourite trail mix. She gets so excited when I bring it to her (she's got alzheimer's disease)

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  52. Katie, I am so sorry about Mark. You made the last months so happy for him and I'm sure he appreciated everything you did for him - the cards, treats or even just visiting him. Isn't it amazing that special people make such a huge impact on our life? My sister was born mentally handicapped and just talking to her lifts my mood. She's so carefree and happy all the time. She sounds just like Mark :)
    Thinking of you and your family.
    Jessica

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  53. Katie

    There are lots of sad hearts today .... sad that all of the wonderful days with Mark here on earth are done. But just as many happy and grateful hearts .... through you, we were able to be a part of Mark's amazing life.

    I'll never be able to express how grateful I am to you that you shared him with me, my family and all of your readers. What an incredible gift....

    I'll also never be able to erase your sadness or grief, but with time .... I'm certain your love and memories for Mark will once again consume a larger part of your heart...

    Prayers for you, your parents .... your entire family as well as those lucky enough... even in the smallest of ways to know Mark.

    In honor of Mark ... I just dropped off 4 bags of supplies for ice cream sundaes(ice cream, chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, etc...) at our closest nursing home for an afternoon treat ! The thank you's from the staff was nice .... but the hugs from the residents .... priceless!

    XOXO

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  54. I'm so sorry for your loss. Following the impact you have had on each other's lives has certainly improved the quality of mine.

    Challenge accepted.

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  55. I am so so sorry, Katie. I recently started reading your blog (from the beginning, b/c I am weird) and have been so touched by your kind spirit. I work in a children's hospital, so I will make sure I do something to brighten someone's day today, in honor of Mark.

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  56. I think Mark made an impact on more than just you. My heart breaks knowing that he is gone and I never even met him. Yet there is the reassurance that he is now made whole in heaven. No more pain. No more cancer. It lessens the sting, but it certainly doesn't take it away. I'll be praying for you.

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  57. My heart hurts for you and your family. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you realize how happy you made Mark. :-) Thank you for sharing him with your readers. He truly was a very special man.

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  58. I'm so sorry for your loss. You did a lot for Mark, and for all of us by sharing him with us.

    Mark went home home on a very special day. Yesterday was a day of remembrance for me, and I bet he was met in heaven by my friend Dayle. In life, Dayle was pure love. I can only imagine she, and many others, would have met Mark - who was also pure love - with open arms in heaven.

    You gave Mark more than love, you gave him loyalty, be proud of yourself for all that you and your family did for him.

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  59. I'm so sorry for your loss Katie. Thank you for sharing these moments with us over the past few months, it has been a joy to read about Mark's winning personality despite his illness.

    I guess my RAK isn't really random, but this weekend I'll be visiting my Grandma. We have a very close relationship but as I am studying at vet school it can be hard to get time to visit her. & my family, who live in the same town as her, don't visit her often. But I know how happy it makes her, & am going to make the trip & visit her Sat evening. Can't wait :)

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  60. I'm so very sorry!! I know this is a hard time for you and I love that you are trying to pay it forward for Mark by having all of us do a random act of kindness. I will definitely be in on this - hopefully the opportunity will be today or tomorrow!!!
    Mark was very blessed to have you and your family play such a huge role in his life these past few months!!!

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  61. I was sorry to read the sad news, Katie. Your other readers have said it all with their comments: he touched so many people's lives, and reading about your relationship was really heart warming. Thinking of you. I found the following poem vaguely consoling when my father and beloved grandfather died. Know that Mark will always be in your heart.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning's hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.


    Mary Elizabeth Frye

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  62. From the sounds of it, Mark had so much love from you and your parents and your family. Mark is in a better place now and he is watching over you probably thanking the Lord that you came into his life! Whether it was 4 months or 4 years that you spent with him , it is obvious that he was a very special man in yours and your family's life. What a blessing he was indeed!! Thank you for sharing his story - much sympathy.

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  63. Thinking of you Katie and hoping all the kind words lessen your sadness a bit. I love the idea for remembering him with random acts of kindness. My mom is a florist. I am going to order flowers to be delivered to the local nursing home - to a resident that never gets them...just because.

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  64. My heart hurts for you, Katie. I will do my acts of kindness with Mark in mind.
    Thank you for sharing him with us. He has really touched my heart and will not be forgotten. (((hugs)))

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  65. I am so sorry to hear of Mark's passing. You were a blessing to him in his last few months simply with your presence and frequent visits, but YOU arranged the cards that brought him so much joy. He really did touch many lives, and I looked forward to reading your updates of him each day. Prayers for peace and understanding for your family.

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  66. I'm so sorry to read this. I am glad that you and your family got to spend time with him and help him spend his last few months accomplishing what he wanted to do.

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  67. My heart goes out to you and your family. Through you I was touched by Mark's story. He is one great guy. I think that what you did for him and because of him is amazing. Of course I will do an act of kindess in Mark's memory.

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  68. So sorry for you loss Katie. One random act of kindness coming up.

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  69. So sorry for your loss Katie. I am praying for you.

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  70. Katie,
    I am so sorry for your loss. It is obvious that your family was Mark's family. Your love and care made his last days comfortable with many, many smiles. Thank you for sharing him with us. Praying for your family.

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  71. I'm so sorry to hear that he went so quickly. He sounds like an amazing person. And that he has brought out the best in you. I've been so touched by your journey alongside him.

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  72. I was not expecting to read this today. Crying, sending prayers to you and your family. God Bless you, Mark - Heaven is a little brighter today!

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  73. So sorry to hear. Mark sounded like a good man and he was a blessing to all
    that knew him. Hugs and sorry!

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  74. He has touched so many lives. I have never met him or you but I'm crying.

    I fully intend to do an act of kindness. I'm going to make sure I try at least once daily. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  75. Katie,

    I've been following your updates on Mark, and I am so very sorry that you will no longer get to visit him. Thank you for sharing your story of Mark. He definitely touch my heart.

    Thinking of you and your family.

    Kay

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  76. Katie, I'm so sorry to hear about Mark, but at least he is "home home" with his biological family now. So sad that so many in his family died from lung cancer. You and your family made his last months so wonderful. I will definitely do a random act of kindness in Mark's memory over the next few days, and hope to keep it up. Thank you for being so open and sharing your story of Mark.

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  77. I'm so sorry to see this news today. Thank you for sharing Mark with us, Katie. Thinking of you and your family.

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  78. I'm so sorry Katie! You guys were such a wonderful pseudo family to him and I'm sure he appreciated every moment he got to spend with you. I'm glad you got to spend his last months growing closer and creating memories. I am so sorry for your loss.

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  79. Katie, I am so sorry, unbelievable that it happened so quickly. But rest assured about how much happiness you added to Mark's life. My houghts are with you!

    Dede

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  80. I'm sorry to hear about Mark. Although I didn't comment, I read your updates about him with interest and I was so happy he got to go back to his group home in the end. It sounds like he held on for that and you were such a big part of getting him there, I'm sure he was so grateful. Thinking of you and your family.

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  81. After getting to know Mark from all your posts, I am so saddened to hear about his passing. He was an extraordinary man, and he was lucky to have you and your family be a part of his life. I actually want to thank you for celebrating Mark with all your lovely posts about him. It helped get to know a terrific person. May God give you and your family, and his, strength during this sad time. My random act of kindness:

    Enjoying life as best as I can.

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  82. I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad Mark got to go "Home Home" and did not have to suffer long. Love and Hugs to your family.

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  83. I am so sorry for yours and your family's loss. Thank you for having shared Mark's story-he was truly an inspiration.

    Rebekah

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  85. I'm sorry for your loss ~ I truly enjoyed your blogs about him and I'm grateful to have gotten to know him through your words. He seemed like an amazing person and for having such a great attitude for the cards he was dealt. Hugs and Prayers, Taffi

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  86. Today I gave a pencil to a student outside of school who was waiting for his mom. He was sad that she was late and could not do his homework.
    My wish for you is that Mark's memory is always a blessing~~~~

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  87. Hi Katie, I've read your blog for a long time and never commented. I really appreciate your honesty through this process and I'm sorry to hear about Mark's passing. He has impacted many more lives than I'm sure he has ever imagined! I'm going to miss updates about Mark, but just know that you were there for him when he needed you most!

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  88. Sending you a great big hug! I really feel like I've gotten to know Mark through you and I am so sad to hear of his passing, but I know that thanks to you and your family, he felt loved and at peace, and what else can a person really ask for? Every act of kindness will come with the knowledge that Mark is looking down and smiling. We are all blessed to have been impacted by him!

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  89. After work I went to McDonald's (I don't even remember the last time I went there) and bought dinner for a young couple that obviously didn't have a lot monetarily. I explained that the world lost a very special person last night and that he loved McDonald's. They thanked me and I asked them to thank Mark. I also bought (3) double cheeseburgers and a large fry for my husband which I would NEVER do!!! I told him that he needed to thank Mark as well. I'm sure Mark is enjoying all the junk food he could ever want in heaven. We love you Katie!

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  90. Thank you for sharing your stories of Mark he was blessed to have you and your family in his life. Take care of yourself and your family.

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  91. Katie I am so sorry to hear this! My heart is breaking for you. Mark was so very blessed to have you and your family in his life, and you couldnt have done more. You made him so happy! Thank you most of all, for sharing Mark with all of us. Sending love and prayers.... Tammy

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  92. Oh, Katie... I'm so sorry. I've been following your blog for about a year now and have been reading about Mark from the beginning. I actually have a card ready for the mail sitting on my counter since he got to go home. *sniff* I'll not send it now, but please know you and your family will be in my prayers. I recently lost my mother and can imagine the grief you're going through. Take care. *hug* -Leah

    p.s. I'm going to think up an act and do it on behalf of Mark. I used to visit nursing homes years ago. Maybe I'll start it up again. It is always touching to visit those who don't have friends or family near. Mark was blessed to have you and your parents in his life.

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  93. Katie, I'm so sorry for your loss. May Mark rest in peace.

    My random act of kindness was a small donation to an 8 year old boy who suffers from ichthyosis.

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  94. Katie, I am so sorry for your (our) loss. I am down for the count due to a dentist's appointment yesterday but as soon as I can I will be doing an RAK in Mark's memory.
    ((hugs))
    -Kim

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  95. I am so sorry to hear this. I know it's not exactly a shock but that doesn't make it any easier. Sending my heartfelt condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. Wrap yourself in memories of him to comfort you and know that you made these last months so much better for him.

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  96. I am so sorry to hear that he has passed away. Your right, death is always devastating. A friend of my husband recently passed away only 45 days after receiving a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. So quick and so devastating. The funeral is tomorrow and I am so sad for his wonderful family. Praying for those that loved your friend, Mark. He's whole again in Heaven...Praise God for that!

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  97. Katie, I'm so sorry, I have tears in my eyes reading your post. (((Hugs))) to you and your family. I'll post again with my RAK in Mark's memory.

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  98. wow i'm so sorry to hear about this. i've lost so many in the past few years to cancer and i truly feel like i got to know mark as well reading your posts. you and your family are angels. i'll be thinking of yours and marks families. <3

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  99. So sorry to hear Mark has gone Home home. Thank you for sharing him with us. He was a blessing to this world. You are lovely! I'm glad he found peace and love.

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  100. My son's grandmother (on his father's side) went home home the day after Mark did. Mark will have someone to dote on him, and she will be blessed to meet him.

    I have a brother who is much like Mark and I have been reminded of the blessing he is to me by reading your stories of Mark. Thank you for that.
    I am very sorry to hear that Mark's life ended so quickly. Be comforted by the love you showed him and the example you were to your sons during his illness. You were a blessing to Mark and are an inspiration to your readers. Thank you.
    Pat

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  101. Dear Katie, I am SO sorry to hear of Marks' passing. I will definitely do something in honor of him. There are no right or wrong things to say, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and Mark during this time. As you know, I just lost my wife, so I try and find hope that she's no longer in pain...so if mark was in any pain during his fight with cancer, his has ended now, too. Let me know if you need anything, ok?

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  102. Katie, having experienced a family death very recently, I know there are no words that really work here. I'm very sorry for you loss. I know how much it just plan sucks to have to say goodbye.

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  103. Oh, I'm so sorry, Katie. I have really enjoyed reading what you've written about Mark over these months, and feel like I've gotten to know him myself. He has touched so many lives through you, and focusing on truly "enjoying life" like Mark is making an impact on me, as well. You and your family made his last few months as comfortable as could be, and he surely felt very loved. Thanks for sharing him with us.

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  104. My sincerest condolences for your loss. Mark was a man that every one of your readers was blessed to read about. His kindness will be inspiring us, encouraging us and blessing us for more time to come than I believe even you know.

    Today I went to my local starbucks in Pasadena, CA and I purchased the coffees of the person behind me. They didn't know what to do, and I told them that I was sharing kindness in honor of a friend of a friend who had past away. The women looked at me with a small tear in her eye, and she thanked me. She turned around, and said to the next gentleman in line, "Sir, can I buy your coffee?"

    I was only in the starbucks for another fifteen minutes, but not one person paid for their drinks the whole time I was inside. It was small, it was a blessing, and it went beyond just me.

    Today, Mark is inspiring Pasadena'ns to show kindness to one another. Thank you for sharing and challenging us as your readership Katie.

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  105. My heart hurts....... You made a difference in Marks life Katie...and by doing that you made a difference in (I don't even know many) of our lives. I did indeed do a random act of kindness in Marks name. We were at a restaurant yesterday for lunch and when we left we paid for an older couples meal. So whenever they went to pay for their meal they found out it had been satisfied...inclosing the tip. Thanks Katie and thanks Mark. Ill never forget this particular journey.

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  106. I work in a nursing home and all of them may not have a lot of visitors but please know that we love each and everyone one of them!!!!!! It has been my favorite job ever, each and every day I am honored to be there. I love your idea to visit them and bring treats. YUMMY!!!!!

    Best wishes Bonnie

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  107. That´s so very sad, I´m glad he had so much love around him during his hard time. :-(

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  108. I'm just catching up on your posts and I wanted to say I'm so sorry to hear about Mark. Thank you for sharing his story with us, he sounds like a really special person.

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)