Mark | CaringBridge

Mark’s Story
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Journal entry by Gretchen Herrmann

Here we are again. 


What a strange sensation tonight to sit down and write here.

Like visiting with an old friend. 



Hello there!
: )




Mark’s still gone. . . somewhere else. I have often wished it was maybe some crazy dream and I would wake up and have to steal my covers back. Or maybe some type of sci-fi experience and we’d warped into some alternative reality temporarily. (The daily news makes me think that could be what happened.)


We all miss the ole boy, but we’re all okay. 


Izaak graduated from college and just started his first “real” job. Mitchell recently left his first career job and is currently on a little trip to Europe. I have been very busy doing the same old, same old. 


I’m still going to be pulling Mark’s story together in written form, because he wanted me to do that. I have the StoryCorps recording we did and will edit that someday and share it. It’s nice to hear Mark’s thoughts in his voice, and his words. And this week I am working on my first presentation of his story. I will be doing a TEDx Talk in November, entitled “Make it a Beautiful Day: A reflection on living and dying…  (Mark closed many phone calls with “Make it a great day!” and his company had shirts made with that sentiment on them.)


I think it’s important to include YOUR stories in all of this. If you could see the impact Mark made on people this past year you’d be amazed and inspired. 


Either for the upcoming talk, or the written story I’ll be pulling together, I’d love to include snippets of what YOU have felt were important lessons that you learned from Mark this past year. People have made big life changes because of the inspiration they felt from him. Big lessons - small lessons - all are important. Personally I have been working through my grief like I think Mark went through his illness. I’m acknowledging emotions as they come along, I’m expressing them, and am bidding them farewell when it’s time. And every day I am looking for the blessings all around, and noting them, as a way to help me move from a sad spot into a healthier place. As Helen Keller said, “Keep your face to the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind you.” I believe that since the only thing we can control is how we deal with the hand we’ve been dealt, we may as well make the most of each day.

What have you learned from Mark’s story? Have you made any life changes motivated by his example?

Would you be willing to share those stories? I will keep each confidential, only relaying the message, without names or anything that would indentify you. I think the reach he made is an important part of the lesson. We don’t realize the ripples we make as we go through life and I’d love to help others learn that what each of us do and say is important and we often have no idea the impact.


If you want to leave your comment here publicly, feel free. If you’d rather email me privately that is fine too! My email is

I’m sharing a picture of Mark taken one day ago today. The great solar eclipse. It brings back fun, fun memories. And, I recall him commenting that before long he’d be seeing the universe from a different perspective.

I can only imagine. 


Make it a great day . . . or a beautiful day. Create the world you want to live in.

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