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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.

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