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 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!



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