Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | September 30, 2012

Hug someone you love

Appreciating Bulgaria’s gifts.

A friend and former colleague lost her dad this morning and I wanted to share something she wrote on her Facebook page. Here’s what my friend Pam Schmid said about her dad’s passing (warning: she writes beautifully):

On Friday, just before evening fell, my father passed away quietly at home. He had struggled with cancer for the past nine months, and he was tired. My mother and I were with him when he finally let go — peaceful, comfortable and free of pain.

His bed in the living room looked out on the patio, with the grill he’d fired up countless times over the years, and on the garden he’d tended with such diligence and care. The rosebush beside the birdbath was still full of blooms, and one giant, pink bloom still clung to the hibiscus bush.

Dad was my guidepost. He was my rock. I already miss his wry humor, his twinkling smile. I miss our intellectual skirmishes over politics, religion, you name it. I’m sad he’s not here to watch his beloved Nationals march through the playoffs (though I’m sure he’s still watching from some higher place). But I’m so relieved he’s no longer suffering, and so grateful that I could be with him at the end.


So when I went for my bike ride this morning, I thought: How lucky am I? I get to share this incredible journey with Melody, whose boundless energy, grace and beauty inspire me to be better every day. Our beautiful daughter is healthy and carving out a life of her own. My parents are more active and vibrant than most people half their ages. And I am riding a bike high above Blagoevgrad, heart pumping, lungs and legs burning and eyes soaking in the visual feast that is the Struma River Valley and early autumn Bulgaria.

Yes, barkeep, I think I’ll have another.



  1. Life teaches us. Thanks for sharing this nourishment, Ava Da

  2. Thanks Mark …

  3. We ARE so lucky ! I’m going for a bike ride and will think of you and Melody and Jenna with warm thoughts.
    Just gave Kevin a Hug……:-)

  4. 🙂

  5. You are lucky indeed that you get to share your incredible voyage with Melody, and that your daughter is carving out a path of her own. But you are truly blessed because you *realize* that you’re lucky. Thanks for a wonderful reminder to not take the people I love — or the many small miracles in my life — for granted.

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