THANKS FOR LETTING ME GROW UP

WHO WAS MARK EDWARD VILLANUEVA?

Well, he was loved as a son, a brother, uncle and grandson. His absence has left an unbearable void hard to endure.

Since early childhood, Mark showed an unusual interest in human relations. At age 10, he told his mother that many lives have been lost in the name of religion.  He started his own library of more than 500 books on religion, philosophy, archaeology, astronomy, race relations and history. He was curious about primitive and indigenous people from every continent and enjoyed listening to all music genres from all corners of the globe.

He was particularly interested in religion and how it influence society and shape our history.  He was a self-motivated scholar and being a man of few words, he used the internet and television broadcasts as his window to humanity. He loved sports and played night basketball.

Rarely seen in public, few of Mark’s neighbors knew he even existed. He appreciated very much those special relatives and friends he met and incredibly, even as a child, he left a lasting impression on those whose lives intersected his brief life. Mark wanted to start his own business and was pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Mark had a small carbon footprint. He did not drive a car. He rode a bike. He slept on his small bedroom floor without a mattress. He had no need for air-conditioning. He recycled water bottles and turned off lights whenever he left a room.

Yes, he did attend Head Start.

BECAUSE LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL

I had a dream a few weeks after Peachie passed away.

In my dream, I saw him pruning plants in a neighbor’s garden.

I thought this was odd. I’ve never seen him as an adult engaged in any form of outdoor activity besides playing basketball. I asked him what he was up to.  He responded that whenever the neighbors go to work he would help out with their gardening.

Seems logical.

I could not imagine this reserved young man walking over to the neighbor’s front door to discuss this hair-brain idea. So, it did seem plausible that he would pitch in anonymously. This was the real Peachie I knew. So, it felt real. So real that I touched him just to confirm how real he was.  To my amazement he was rock solid. Wow! He had crossed over but I still had a connection with him.

I was elated.

I woke up with a smile.  Then, that same day my daughter Nicole, who resides in Los Angeles, called “out of the blues” with a question about Peachie.  Her church was about to dedicate a section of their garden in his honor and wanted to feature his favorite veggies.

Later in the spring of 2014, Yvonne began planting a garden at his resting place at Memorial Park in Niles. She revealed something that I had no inkling of. That Peachie was blessed with a green thumb.

“Who do you think was watering the house plants you ignored?”

Just one small miracle among many others we overlook in our daily shuffle.