It is unsurprising that my thoughts keep going to Marc since his death (they went there when he was alive as well – Marc was that kind of important). In over two decades of having known him, there is a broad tapestry of many colors and leagues of yarn woven about him. Marc becomes impossible to describe trying to take in the scope of him. When I do attempt, I am overcome and the tears flow. Better to take him in parts, vignettes of memory and insight. Perhaps in pieces the whole can be seen through gentler tears.
I have said it often in recent weeks, that Marc loved so fully that there were those he didn’t just befriend, he adopted. My family and I were adopted, baptized, anointed, and given permanent lodging in his heart, and we reciprocated without hesitation.
Jean-Marie knew Marc before I did. Once introduced I went through the scrutiny of being “He’s nice, but I don’t see why you’re with him, Jean-Marie,” to being welcomed with hugs, to finally being immersed. As our lives intertwined, Marc’s embrace widened to take in our three children. He developed his own relationships with them and became their Uncle Marc. It was far from the typical “be kind to the kids of your friends.” Our children were quickly assimilated as individuals into Marc’s love.
I remember there was a time during our youngest daughter’s teenage years when she was having a problem with me. I think it had to do with a boy, but I am unsure and the exact issue does not matter anyway. She had talked to Uncle Marc and Uncle Den about it, and they listened, and they advised. They also took exception with me for whatever Louise had told them. We got into somewhat heated discussions on why I was wrong (particularly Dennis, but Marc was firm in his calmer style as well). You would think that I would have been offended by that. But I wasn’t, it in fact did not affect our friendship at all. I did not agree with their opinions, but I took it mainly to be a difference in parenting styles. I think “parenting styles” is accurate, Marc did not take being an uncle lightly, and we would have it no other way.
Over the years when we would be sitting around talking about the kids with Mark, he would work into each conversation a line I quickly came to love, “You know, Haley (or Michael or Louise) tell me things that they don’t tell you – and that I would never share – but I can say…” He relished his status with our children, and we felt blessed that they had Marc to turn to and talk with and get advice from. He became an implied safety net for them, and at times a welcome intermediary between our children and us.
When Dennis died, our son Michael was in Charleston visiting and was there for Dennis’s passing. His presence and strength for Marc in that time of the immediacy of Dennis’s death elevated their relationship to a level Jean-Marie and I were not privy to, but were thankful for. It was Marc clinging to something solid when his legs and heart could not bear himself up, and there may be no one more solid than our son Michael. During this time, we would see Marc and talk to Marc on the phone and he would say, “I know he’s your Michael, but he is also MY Michael.” And that spoke volumes, and that was as it should be.We have been blessed in so many ways over the years of being family with Marc. One of the largest blessings has been having him as Uncle Marc, by having him as our grandson’s God Father. This has brought Jean-Marie and I so many smiles over the years as he stole our children and grandson and made them his own.