September 11, 2009

Elke and Hinrich

Another dear friend has died from cancer. Hinrich died September 8, o9 at his home in the loving arms of Elke his wife, who greatly misses him. We celebrate his life and morn his passing. He was a wonderful person and friend. When Mark was very sick and he wanted to travel in case he died and never got to travel again, I took him to Amsterdam. All the rooms in Amsterdam were taken as it was the 25th anniversary of the queen on the throne. Hinrich gave us the information that allowed us to find the last two vacant rooms in Amsterdam. He contacted his cousin in Amsterdam who showed us around. Hinrich and Elke invited us to travel by train to Groningen in the Netherlands where they picked us up by car and took us to their home in Emden, Germany and fed us a delicious meal. Mark was so very cold in those days even in the hot Bangkok sun, but especially so in Northern Germany. Our friends Hinrich and Elke loaned Mark a coat, fed him, and let him rest before going to a small village to visit with distant relatives of ours. Hinrich had helped me with my genealogy sparing no effort to find the descendants of my great great grandfather who came from Ostfriesland Germany. What fun it was for Elke, Hinrich, Mark and I to enjoy an Ostfriesland tea ceremony with our Gerdes relatives in their home and to learn of their branch of the family. We were so lucky that Elke and Hinrich came into our lives. At that time Hinrich looked so healthy and Mark so sick. What a strange thing that Hinrich is gone and Mark continues on nearly five years beyond his three month prognosis.

I recall when mark got his three month or less prognosis and his saying something like: "Mom I am too young to die, dying before my mother and my older friends. I've just begun to get my life in order." I remember telling him not to count on death before me or others and that I might get run over by a garbage truck on one of the multi-lane streets in Bangkok where you take your life in your hands to cross the street. Ironically Mark has lost a number of close friends including young and old in the past nearly five years. It is inevitable that Mark too will eventually die but not before his time is up.

What is Mark doing now? Mark has been lying low or as he says: "I've been hunkered down: not going out and not spending any money." 10 days ago Mark discovered his debit card was expired and the ATM would not give him any money. I got a new debit card for him, mailed the card one day and mailed a package the next. The package arrived into his hands in Thailand in 5 days and the card in 10 days. Life is looking up as he now can withdraw some money and get out and about. Fortunately Mark has a number of good friends in Jomtien Beach and Pattaya and several would have loaned him a little money as they know he is good for it and they know Mark's mom and that she would never let him go without enough money to make a loan good. He just didn't want to borrow any money. Good for him. Mark says he feels good and life is good. He still has to pace himself to have enough energy and he still has pain.

Kind thoughts and prayers are still greatly appreciated.