Sudden Death and Heaven Has a New Angel
By Bernadette A. Moyer
It has been said that death is our final teacher. Yesterday on a long car ride home I would learn of the sudden and unexpected passing of a former colleague and friend. To say that he was respected and admired by many would be a huge understatement. Everyone loved Mark he made sure of that. I have my memories of him. Memories of overnight working retreats and memories of the interview process before he hired me to be part of his team with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I have so many memories of special events, memories of our lunches, drinks and dinners together and memories of his many attempts at mentoring me.
You don’t last as long as he did within the highly charged political arena like the Archdiocese without learning how to maneuver, he managed to get along with all sorts of people; a task that few in that same community manage to do and certainly unlike Mark who seemed to do it so effortlessly.
He never let his ego get in the way of his faith and his love for the Catholic Church, although he was tested. I remember meeting him for Mass and lunch downtown one day after he had been moved to another position within the Church. Many others might have left but not Mark as he made the best of it. It didn’t mean that he wasn’t human though, he felt it but his love for the Catholic Church and the work that he did was far greater than his ego. He made it work and he made it work well.
It was during the long 700 mile car ride that we learned of his death, that my husband and I would recall our own experiences with death and the sudden deaths of our own spouses so many years earlier. Our hearts are so sincerely with his wife and his daughter at this time; their lives are forever changed in his passing. Our faith teaches us many things and there is no more of a test of our faith as when our loved ones pass away.
When I woke up this morning I immediately went looking for all the photos I had taken through the years that I worked with Mark, I have some great ones! His spirit will live on long after his passing. I can’t imagine heaven receiving any better of an angel. The sadness I feel isn’t for Mark as I know that he has gone on to Glory but I am sad for all those left behind that are sure to miss him immensely.
Mark was one of the first to reach out to my husband when his mother died and he was one of the first to call me when he learned that my mother had passed away. He always knew what to send and what to do and what to say when death came. Now so many are lost with grief in his passing and sudden death. But I know Mark enough to know that he would want everyone to carry on and to be better for having known him. And we are all better for having known Mark. When I think of Mark, like most people, I smile. Here is to you Mark, Godspeed.
There is No Death
There is no death! The stars go down
To rise upon some other shore;
And bright in heaven’s jeweled crown
They shine forevermore.
There is no death! The dust we tread
Shall change beneath the summer showers
To golden grain, or mellow fruit,
Or rainbow tinted flowers.
There is no death! An angel form
Walks over the earth with silent tread;
He bears our best loved ones away,
And then we call them “dead”.
Born unto that undying life,
They leave us but to come again;
With joy we welcome them – the same.
Except in sin and pain.
And ever near us, though unseen,
The dear immortal spirits tread;
For all the boundless universe
In life – there are no dead.
John Luckey McCreery