I’ve been trying to come up with the right name for this piece, but the truth is – there’s only one option. Today I have learned that Mark Halaway, the sunny guy, the Marko of Marko-and-Darko, the one and only Kiev-based Diaspora expat who has been speaking perfect Ukrainian language, uncontaminated with “Russianisms” or “Americanisms”, the person who has been rarely seen without a smile, who loved to party and loved his life – has died.
I have met Mark on my first day in Radioaktive, almost seven years ago. He was sweet, outgoing and funny. He made me feel I can tell him anything – and he will understand. And won’t judge. He was a small good-looking skinny guy and he walked through life with his head up and his eyes sparkling. I remember the beginning of his relationship with his wife Ira – whom he called “Fistashka” – they have always been such a pretty, happy couple! I’ve been trying to recall if I ever heard Mark yell at anyone – and I couldn’t. I don’t know maybe it just never happened in front of me, but it is still pretty amazing considering that for several months we’ve been sharing an office…
Those first few months I have been occupying receptionist seat and consequentially performed secretary chores: kept stationary supply, answered calls, cleaned the kitchen. For my guys and for Mark’s. Right by reception was our designated smoking area. Mark was a smoker and we’d often chat. Frequently he made me laugh, sometimes he made me think, but he never made me angry or upset. I know – everybody always says only good stuff about dead people, especially those who have died recently – but Mark WAS special. He was specially kind.
A friend of ours said today that Mark loved life and people. I don’t know if I can think of a better description. He loved life so much that he made a part of him stay with us. We’ll be honored to meet this part – his little son – in a few months.
This is the latest photo of Mark that I’ve got – Lera Filshina posted it on her Facebook. It makes me think: there is only one truly important thing in life, and Mark – he had it! He’s holding it right there in his arms!