The wife of our late friend Mark Halaway, Ira, – I just can’t bring myself to call her “widow” – came to Kiev with their 3-month-old son Iggy, and yesterday a little get-together party was thrown on the occasion. I was looking forward to meeting Mark’s little boy and dreading it at the same time: for some reason I expected some uncanny resemblance in this unaware tiny new human being. It didn’t happen: Iggy appeared to be his own person. He came across as a very calm, very relaxed and rather happy baby. Actually he’s been soothing everyone around him – until that bored him and he serenely snoozed off among cacophony of the festivities.
Opposite from me across the table sat an elegant lady whom I hadn’t met before. I didn’t know her name, yet it took me but a moment to recognize her. For striking, otherworldly likeness it was indeed. The woman had Mark’s face – so surreal, yet so familiar. I was studying her and seeing him…
She was wearing tasteful yet elaborate make up in shades of pearl and brown; a large but subdued black-and-brown necklace; her open-toed black patent leather mules displayed well-groomed feet with bronze-lacquered nails… She had an air of elderly Princess Diana about her: graceful and polished, but approachable. I was admiring her and marveling at her ability to keep up the looks, to go on with living her life – after losing one of her children. There was no way to imagine what it cost her – to sit at this table, looking lovely and well kept, and partake in small talk. But I couldn’t help noticing that every time the conversation halted, unthinkable sadness surfaced in her beautiful hazel eyes…
An hour or so later we were officially introduced to each other. I confessed that I knew who she was the second I saw her – it was impossible to mistaken. She soon placed me too: after I brought up sharing an office with Mark during my first months at Radioaktive, a smile of recognition beamed on her face… And about broke my heart: the way she nodded – swiftly shaking back her hair, her eyelids sealed, a faint, kind grin stretching her lips – was the exact copy of a gesture I’d seen a hundred of times!
There is undoubtedly no greater pain on this little blue-and-green planet of ours than that of a mother losing her child. Yet there is nothing – not even such a shrieking pain – that a mother would not overcome to fulfill her dying child’s will. Mark left her somebody to care for – and so she does. It is little Iggy Mark Halaway she now lives for. Selflessly. Motherly.