I’m not even sure how to start this week’s on the Road. Or if I even can. Just last week I sat here eager to tell you about all of my adventures, smiling as I typed and tripped over my own words trying to hurry to tell you everything. Just a week later, I’m not sure if I can type to you. Suddenly hearts are broken and many of us believe the world will never be the same.
Last Sunday morning very early, one of the dearest people in the world, a true one in a zillion was taken from us all. Even if you didn’t know him, after reading this you’ll feel that you did and I can promise you, if he had more time with us he would have found a way to help you along the road, too.
Mark William Baldwin was taken from us all at the age of 53. One minute he was here, taking care of everyone, and the next he was gone. No warnings, no signs; talking to a friend, and then gone. As I typed, “He would have helped you,” I’m probably wrong. In some way, he did help you or someone you care about, so far behind the scenes, hidden, you would have never known he was there, but I bet he was. Now that I’ve told you his name I know you will think of something or hear of something and say, “Oh my goodness; that was Mark!”
Many people are good, or helpful even kind, but then there was Mark. I can feel him now saying to me, “Sherry stop, you know I didn’t want all that stuff out there,” but I know he’ll be ok with me posting this because maybe after reading about Mark, it will inspire you to live each day with a little piece of Mark in your heart.
Mark Baldwin made everyone smile – yes everyone. I know you think, “Oh Sherry is exaggerating, no one can do that,” but you are wrong. Mark never looked for the negative in anyone, only the positive. He helped everyone, never asking, as Father Bob said a couple weeks ago, “Well how did you get into this mess?” He just helped and he truly did leave everything he touched better.
Mark’s life went from celebrating life with many of his friends Saturday night to those same peoplem and so many others that he loved, standing in line at the funeral home for hours so that they could say their goodbyes. Over 400 friends and family waited, trying to hold onto a small piece of our beloved Mark. What a tribute. I just wish that he could have seen it, and I pray he did.
This morning my daughter had me proof read a paper for her and as I read these words I thought they were meant for Mark. Meredith wrote, “It is not often in our lives that we are able to witness someone or something that will forever be remembered.” Yes, that was Mark.
So many people during the last 4 days have shared one story after another of how he helped them or someone they knew. Other friends said more than once, “With Mark there were never strangers, just new friends to meet.” No matter how tired or stressed he was, he would not even think of not checking on you, seeing if you need anything, or this one, if you remember I wrote about it a few weeks back, on walking you to not just the door, but to your car to say, “Hey, thanks for coming.” And then he would always, without fail, stand there, wind or cold, to wave and watch you drive away. He usually added a, “Hey, Love you guys,” too. He didn’t let one second of his life go to waste; not one darn second. And now I’m getting teary because I wanted to type da__, but I know that’s not me and it wasn’t him.
Something else that was said so many times about Mark was, “He never had a bad word to say about anyone.” Now I know this might seem like a cliché, you’re probably thinking, “Oh Sherry, you’re so naïve, so sad, maybe you’d believe anything,” but ask anyone and they’ll tell you with this one man Mark Baldwin, he never had a bad word to say about anyone and if he did he would, “think it in his head,” and try not to taint a person’s reputation by spreading nasty thoughts around. It was just him. He could find something positive in everyone, and that’s what we need to do too.
Why am I going on and on? Because I guess my wish for all of us is that we follow his lead, smile as often as you can, laugh and more importantly find a way to make others giggle a little or feel happy, complain and expect less, but give more and tell everyone you love how you feel. Walk your family and friends, not only to the door, but out the door, wave, smile and say I LOVE YOU every time. Don’t hold back, ask, “How can I help?” and jump in with both feet, and your Tractor too, if you have one like Mark did. Leave the world such a better place that when it’s your time to leave, that not just your close family but everyone you touched continues to miss you for evermore because they experienced your beauty and goodness.
I just asked Johnny after reading this to him, “How do I end?” Johnny said, “I think you just end here,” and then he said, “No I guess you could say ‘Thank you Mark, for letting us all be part of your adventure.’”
With A Grateful Heart, Sherry
***Remember at Christmas I typed send a gift card to someone who may need a smile, knock at a door, make a meal for a friend, pay for the person in line at DD who looks like they’ve had a tough day? Well stop thinking about it and do it, no excuses. Go get started; a little piece of Mark will be in your heart, too.
The amazing thing about being part of Visit Londonderry is that I never know exactly where a week will lead. Even though I have lived here since the 60′s, grew up at Kendalwood Condos, taught at the High School, and raised my family here, each day I learn something special about our community. One thing is for sure, Londonderry is the best place to Live, Work and Play! Each week I will share with you some of the amazing businesses and things I have learned about Londonderry.
Sherry is an account manager for the Londonderry Commerce and Visitors Center. You can follow her at Twitter.com/Sherry_CVC
You can visit the Londonderry Commerce and Visitors Center, where “Business is Good. Life is Better!”