Monday, July 13, 2009


Remember back in April when I posted the picture of our friend who had a brain tumor dancing with his daughter at prom? Well, he died on Thursday, which prompted our early return from Florida. Yesterday was the visitation at the funeral home, and today was the memorial, followed by mass and a ceremony at the cemetery.

Everything was lovely as far as those things go. The memorial was especially moving, a joyous celebration of Mark's life, just as he wanted. His family put together a wonderful slideshow of pictures, and somebody read aloud beautiful letters written by his wife and kids. One of the speakers told a story about Mark that I had also read about in a note that a friend posted to their online guestbook:

He loved his family more than anything else, and he talked about you and the kids nonstop. I remember I noticed a sticky note on his desk one day. It said in all caps, "CALL HOME NOW!" Months passed, and that sticky note remained there. One day I asked him what that was all about. He said that is was a permanent reminder to call the family because in the middle of the workday, it's important to have a reminder for what matters the most.

I didn't know Mark very well, but Mike is close friends with his sons and considers their family to be his home away from home. He always comes home laughing about something funny that Mark said or did. Last Monday, Mike left the following note on their guestbook:

Hello Eastman family!

Hello from Florida! Just signing in to wish you all the best, and I hope that everything is going okay. I have a somewhat random story that you all may appreciate.

I bought a new acoustic guitar the other day, and one of my friends asked me what I was going to name it. I thought it was kind of silly to name a guitar, but I started thinking on it. As I was driving home from Orlando this evening, I started humming the tune to "Sherri" by Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons and knew that I had found my name.

That song reminds me of Mr. Eastman every time that I hear it. I remember when he would drive Mark and I to a show, we would always listen to his iPod, and would sing along to the Jersey Boys soundtrack (of course Mr. Eastman was the loudest;).

I remember he would always talk to Mark and I about how to make it big into the music business; writing a thousand songs using the same three chords like the Four Seasons and the Beatles did. These pep speeches were always really inspiring to me and left me feeling ready to conquer the world.

Essentially, these talks were all about following our dreams and living every day to the fullest, something that Mr. Eastman was always a pro at. So I am hereby naming the guitar Sherri, and I hope to use it to follow my dreams and use for what I love, just as he would.

I just want to say thank you to Mr. Eastman and his wonderful family for teaching me to live for what I love. This message was probably super awkward and long, but I just want you all to know that you have made an impact on me.

I love my second family and I can't wait to see you all again:)!

Mike Taylor

I think that follow your dreams, live for what you love, and call home now are excellent words to live by.

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