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Friday, August 13, 2004

Smiling Through Tears

I wish I was capable of expressing in words, just how wonderful Mark was and how much he blessed my life just by being in it. But I am afraid that no such grouping of words exists. His legacy is one of kindness, gentility, and genuine affection and empathy for everyone with whom he came in contact. He had a way about him that made you want to bare your soul to him. If I could choose my father, I would have chosen him. He was my friend, and I loved him. And even as much as I am going to miss him, and as heartbroken as I am, I cannot, even now, think about him without smiling.

The last time I spoke with Mark, he was on his way home from two wonderful weeks in the Canadian wilderness. He had called me because on his way up North, I had kept him company for a couple of hours, via cellphone, until his phone died. So as soon as he got back into range, two weeks later, he called me back, laughing. He said, "Hey Babe, where were we? My phone died before we got to finish our conversation." It was just like him...he always brought a smile to my face. And trust me, there were days that was a pretty tough job. But he always succeeded.

I asked him about his adventure. He told me that he still hadn't figured out how he could translate everything he was feeling into words but that he was working on it. He was jubilously happy. He was insouciant. I couldn't get over it. I had heard him laugh and cry; I had heard him cover the range of emotions. But I had never heard him like this. He was downright giddy. There was a childlike exuberance about him that day.

When he couldn't really give me an overview of his trip, I asked him what has been his favorite part. He didn't hesitate for a moment. You see, the Retreat he had been on, was one that his son, Burke, had been involved with before his murder. Mark was familiar with the people there because Burke and a couple of his other children volunteered there during the summers. In memory of Burke, 'the kids' there had gone into the woods and built a stone monument in his honor. Mark got a little choked up just talking about it. It meant so much to him.

Mark had this way about him...I don't know how to describe it to you. Those of you who knew him on a personal level, know exactly what I am talking about. When he talked to you, he had complete tunnel one else on Earth existed. When you had something to tell him, he listened to every word as if it were the most important thing ever spoken. And when he loved knew it.

A little after 11AM on Wednesday morning, I said goodbye to my friend. We told each other we loved one another. Then he said, "I'll call you tonight when I get home, doll." Unfortunately, that call never came.

I'll carry a piece of him with me always.

The intention of this blog to begin with, was to help draw attention to his son's website, in hopes of solving a murder. You never know where that one piece of vital information will surface and Mark didn't want to leave any stone unturned. So, in honor of my friend, I will continue to write, in the hope that one day, Burke's murderer will be found. I think it's what my friend would have wanted.
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The Cast


Marlon Brando * Joan Crawford


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In Our Hearts

Find Burke's Killer!

"The Courage to Act...By Rod Napier "Dedicated to Burke O'Brien, A Hero Forever" ... please visit

Mark O'Brien- Loving Father, Compassionate Friend, and Ceaseless Seeker of Justice

"I hope to not just laugh, but to laugh uncontrollably. I hope to not just cry, but to wail deeply. I hope to not just find the elusive "alone together" place within, but to hold, and be held in it. I hope my refection on the lake dissipates and I can see into the waters."
~~Mark O'Brien


June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
April 2005

The Best of Brando
The Chauffeur
Swearengen Sense
Accidents or Messages
The Recalcitrant Buffalo
Nature Speaks, I Listen
The Rapture of the Ride
Smiling Through Tears*
(*by Joan, about Brando's death)

Favorite Links

Mama Let 'Em Be Cowboys


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