Monday, January 28, 2008

Farewell Mark!

All photos are Mark Gurkin's...

Farewell to a Good Online Friend

Mark Gurkin aka “ggraph”

Elder's Mill Bridge

It’s always difficult to say “Farewell” to anyone when that friend reaches the end of life’s journey but when it’s a good friend, this is so much more difficult.

Mark Gurkin aka ggraph was a good online friend who I have never met but have spoken to on the telephone and have communicated with for almost a year. Mark was unwell. He was patiently waiting for a kidney-pancreas transplant which never came in time for our Mark. He had problems with his eyesight due to difficulty while on the dialysis machine. What a time he had! But he always sounded upbeat and happy in his situation—even though he was going through such difficulties.

Our last telephone conversation was on January 9, 2008 when I shared some good news of mine and he was elated to hear that news. He was looking forward to the time when I’d be able to go to Georgia and meet both Sue, his wonderful wife and caregiver, and himself.

My last email to him was on January 13 and I was telling him of a wonderful online church service I had watched on TV that morning and here’s a bit of what I said to Mark:

“This morning, Mark, as I was getting ready for church, Paul phoned me from Virginia. He had just finished listening to Charles Stanley's son speak on TV (from 7 am to 8 am). Usually, it's Charles Stanley from Atlanta but today his son, Andy, was there from a church called "North Point". Paul was so excited as he knows the area down there and he said, "Pat, Andy is so close to your friend, Mark! If Mark is at exit “xx”, Andy is just down at exit 10 off 400! Can you phone him and tell him that this was a wonderful program today?" I told him I would write to you, Mark. I'm listening to Andy Stanley as I type this Mark and he's just so wonderful today.

Here's the URL:

When you get to this URL, you can click on a wee icon on the screen to see it full screen, Mark. It's really good. Please let me know what you think. I wish I were closer to you and if I were, I'd drive you to his church. Apparently, it's massive and it's right off the highway near you.

I will call you later. I must go to my church service tonight as I'm playing the organ. I had an email from Natalya and she sends you her best wishes, Mark.”

And I added as well, Hi Sue! I look forward to meeting you one day. Maybe Paul will drive me to Georgia someday. God bless you both and remember that my thoughts and prayers (and Paul's in Virginia) are being offered for you both every day. Sue, it's such a wonderful job you're doing caring for Mark. I loved every minute of my time caring for Jack and I realize now how important a job it was and only a spouse of a dialysis patient can even begin to realize what you are going through. No one else can. And only Mark can begin to know what you're going through as you care for him as Jack used to remind me all the time.

We'll chat soon. I just wanted you to know about Andy Stanley quickly as the video doesn't stay on the web site all that long. I hope you listen and watch.”

Old Homestead

So, folks, this is where I was with my friend Mark Gurkin. We shared much about my Heavenly Father and I told him how much Jack, my late husband, loved the Saviour. How I wish I had been able to make the trip down to Georgia to see both him and Sue. Mark so often said that Sue was his life and his wonderful soulmate. He lived for Sue. Jack was also on dialysis for 3 ½ years before he was promoted to glory and so I realize just how difficult it is to be the caregiver like Sue was to dear Mark.

Even though Mark could hardly see, he was still out there taking photographs as often as he possibly could. He loved covered bridges, birds and all kinds of wildlife. He displayed many of these lovely photographs in his blog entitled, Photo Life and on his website entitled, North Georgia Images

If you would like to post a comment also on the Photography Café where he loved to spend time during the past year, please do. His family will appreciate it. Here’s a link to a topic where the members of the Café are posting and you can simply register on the site to post your message of condolence as well. Farewell Mark aka ggraph and you might like to see the photos that he uploaded in the site. Here’s his Gallery on the Café.

I think it’s fitting to end this little memorial to our dear blogging friend and fellow photographer by using one of his own photos from his website.

From Mark:

“I often pass by this huge American flag. It's so large it takes a very windy day to get a full flag shot. While out one evening I decided to go by and see how it looked. When I got there the sun was beginning to set and the clouds were really great. Hence this image. A great image for the end of the day on the 4th of July”


A great image, Mark for the end of the day on January 27th, 2008

Our deepest sympathy to you, dear Sue, and the whole family circle of our dear friend Mark Gurkin.


Natalya said...

{{{HUGS}}} to you Pat, thank you for keeping me posted xx

CG said...

Am sorry to hear your sad news, Pat.

photowannabe said...

Pat, I'm sorry to hear that news too. I know you were such a person of strong faith for them. this is a lovely tribute.

Patty said...

Dear Sue, family and Pat,
You have my deepest sympathy. So sorry to hear of your loss. What a lovely tribute.

Dustin said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It's always hard to lose a friend even when you know it's coming. But it's good to know that that friend will always be with us if you keep his memories alive in you. Take care and I wish you well during this difficult time.

Flagstaff Daily Photo

Lori Schmidt (LoriProPhoto) said...

I am so sorry that you never got to meet Mark but am glad that you shared so much common ground.

My sympathies to his family and you, this is a wonderful tribute that you have done for him.

I hate to use this opportunity to tell you that I nominated you for a Invisible Image MeMe yesterday on my blog before reading this post

I can see you have your hands full. It would be fun if you could participate but I understand perfectly if you can't. I had fun going through all my old scans from slides and negatives and bringing back memories so I used 5 of those for mine.

Keep smiling (((Hugs)))


Jane said...

Pat, I can tell how much Mark meant to you and I know Sue is so grateful for your friendship and love through this difficult time.

To Sue: I am so sorry for your loss, but you should never feel alone with friends such as you have come to know here.

I know your heart is heavy and there are many questions in your mind, but please know that Mark is no longer suffering but is with the one who loves him most ... He is in heaven with our Heavenly Father. You will see him again.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful tribute Pat. I am sorry about the loss of your friend.

Sue, please accept my sincere sympathy. I pray that God will comfort you and your family.