Eulogy from Mark's Mother
I feel very sad over the loss of my son, Mark Graves Junior. However, I always remember the feeling of joy he brought to me, and I am filled with peace that I believe only Jesus can bring. I believe this peace is a sign that Mark is in God's heavenly kingdom, and that I will see him again someday. I think bringing joy to others and inspiring joy in others was Mark’s special gift to the world. Mark gave me great joy just by being in the same room as I was, and there have been other people who have expressed this same thought and feeling about him. Although he was always busy and we maintained clear boundaries, I could not get enough of him. It was very comforting to feel that joy and peace whenever he was nearby. To me each of my sons inspires joy, and is a joy in their own way, but I believe this gift was Mark’s special gift to the world; he inspired and gave great joy.
Mark was always adventurous and friendly, even at a very young age. When Mark was a little boy, I was very involved in his life, and took him many places. I even engaged as a cub scout leader for his sake. It was challenging keeping up with his energy and enthusiasm. Thank goodness Mark had an older brother Chris, who cared for him, and included him a lot in his life. Mark seemed to thrive on the competition and camaraderie of having an older brother.
In high school at Memorial, Mark especially enjoyed sports, and group activities. He had a strenuous schedule because he maintained high standards for himself as a straight A student, good friend, and high performing athlete. I could not get him to slow down, and maybe I was not meant to. When Mark graduated from high school and went on to college, he became deeply engaged in his quest to advance his life goal of making the world a better place.
Please read the following excerpt from one of his employment applications and you will get a sense of the excitement and joy he seems to have felt in his achievements. He was certainly able to bring that joy and enthusiasm to others. Perhaps some of you were influenced by Mark’s gift of bringing and inspiring joy. Perhaps he contributed to your ability to be a more joyful person in the world. If so, Mark continues to succeed today to make the world a better place through you and me.
Excerpt from One of Mark's Employment Applications
My first day as an interpreter at the free Community Health Clinic in
downtown Chicago reiterated a lesson about importance of communication. My
first assignment as a translator was performing telephone checkups. My
responsibilities were to call the non-English speaking people before their
appointments and to insure they were aware of the clinic location and the time of
their appointment. Every ounce of me wanted to run straight out of the room
when I picked up the phone and dialed that first number. Adrenaline pumped
through my body as I heard “Hola” on the other end for the first time in my life. I
quickly and easily performed my administrative duties and heard a sincere
“Gracias Senor, Buenos Dias”. Elated, I couldn’t help but jump up and perform a
little dance. The secretaries looking at me as if I was crazy, I sat down and looked
down a long list of fifty or so names. At the end of that day, I knew why
communication was so valuable. Because of me, there were fifty uninsured
Chicago residents who would be receiving medical care. I had changed people’s
lives only because I could communicate with them.
I want to teach English in Italy because I know that by engendering
improved communication skills, I will empower change in their lives in a personal
and a tangible manner. I believe that I will be opening innumerable opportunities
and avenues for personal growth for them. Italy was a simple choice for me. My
major is cognitive neuroscience, and Italy is a leading neuroscience in the world.
Italy is also the land of my forebears. I know that in order to truly learn about a
people, you must immerse yourself in its culture. I expect to work hard in my
teaching, and I expect to learn a lot about the culture of the Italy and its people.