A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire. ~Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Markelle has been a very dear friend of mine for so many years, I almost can’t even count that far back. The first question I get asked when talking about my mon ami is, “How did she get her name?” Good question, which I’ve asked her too.
I was told this story is two fold. Markelle’s mom had a friend in high school who named her little girl Marquel. The word on the street, literally, was she saw a street with that name somewhere and got the idea. (The girl’s maiden name is Marquel Province from Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania.) About a year prior to Markelle’s birth, her poor mom had a still born, named Mark. Once they had a beautiful baby girl, (they thought was a boy, like my parents thought about me before I was born) they wanted to honor him. So Markelle arrived! I always knew that lady was born with special significance!
Believe it or not, we met working at a local bar called Mr. Toads, waitressing and bartending. She was a great person back then and she’s remained the same to this day.
Many, many giggles and good times always accompanied working with Markelle. Way back when, she was going to the University of Pittsburgh and I was at the community college before I transferred to Seton Hill University. If one of us was working and the other was hanging out, we would help the other clean up and such, without asking! I’ve always admired Markelle’s strong work ethic. She was and still is a hard worker, paving her own way in the world. I respect that big time!
Yes, we had a blast! Looking back on it now, Markelle instantly become a big part of my life, almost like a sister. Heck, there were many a night we would sit with a beer in hand, and shoot the breeze for hours. What a great gal!
Sincerely, I can’t speak highly enough about Markelle. Truly, she is one of the most caring and considerate and encouraging friends I have. She will help you with anything, but will never ever judge and will always stand by your side. The best part? Markelle tells you how it is, no sugarcoating, no lying, no fuss, no muss. A straight up good soul.
We’ve stayed in touch over the years, even when she moved to Phoenix, Arizona. I visited her a couple times, once when my sister lived in Tucson. After hanging with Nicole, I went to stay with Markelle for a few days, killing two birds with one stone. That was the trip we hiked Camelback Ridge Trail in Scottsdale. For some reason I remember that day very fondly, it was a fun simple day hanging with Markelle. (Except it was really, really hot!)
Trying to convince my friend to move home, Markelle did eventually head for the east coast, but not as close as I suggested, my backyard. She moved to North Carolina. Ok, I’ll take that! Again, to stay in touch we would take mini vacations to visit one another, meeting in the middle whenever we could. Although, the best trip was the Hilton Head weekend with the girls. Markelle was gracious enough to invite me with her friends from the south. It was perfect weather in October and we hung out, relaxed, read, walked the beach, danced, all with a bunch of fun good-hearted ladies. At the time it was exactly what I needed. Markelle always knows what’s best.
Now don’t get me wrong, Markelle and I would talk on the phone, email and naturally Facebook to keep in touch through the long pauses between vacations. Periodically, she would make it back to Pennsylvania. Although I know it gets hard to see everyone on short trips, but whenever she wasn’t wrapped up with the family, we would get together to catch up. Sometimes I would have Kyle, and Markelle had her daughter Olivia. It’s funny how we went from hanging out in a smoke filled bar (yuck) to going to restaurants with the kids like responsible adults. Notice I didn’t say mature, neither one us hit that milestone in our life yet.
We’ve been friends for so long, I often wonder how this happened. The only sound explanation that I could possibly muster is simply our values. Besides being a hard worker, Markelle shares a lot of the same conservative views I do. We both try to walk in the way of the Lord and live a good strong morally sound life, relying on each other for advice and guidance. Yep are basically alike in many way, just a couple of average chicks.
For some odd reason, out of all the nice things Markelle’s done for me, and let’s face it I could fill a book, the most memorable was the support I received after my brother died. Typically, everyone is supportive, so what was so different about Markelle? First let me say, Ryan’s death came as surprise to everyone, he was in a car accident, taken from us immediately and suddenly. During this time, Markelle lived in Phoenix, so she was miles and miles away. Naturally because of family, time, money, work, you know the drill we’ve all been through it, she wasn’t able to be at the funeral. After Ryan passed, Markelle graced me with her presence in the simplest yet most heart felt way. What did this creative young lady do? She sent me a Vermont Teddy Bear! Yes, she sent me a hug!
The weeks during the funeral were very hard and the weeks that followed weren’t that great either. But for one day, the sun seemed to shine on me, telling me everything was going to alright. That was the day I arrived home and received a box on my doorstep. In it was this Teddy Bear with a card attached, simply saying she was sending a big hug my way. It was a random day that brought with it a moment I really needed. It was that moment that helped me start to heal. She couldn’t be there, yet she was. Markelle always knows what’s best for me!
When her dad passed away, I don’t think I even came close to helping her out like she did me. I wanted to be a rock for her, but instead I was more like a pebble. My heart bled for her and her family and I tried to send prayers their way.
So why am I talking about Markelle like I’ve just lost my best friend? I am very happy to say that is NOT the case! Nope, or this blog would be seriously taking a dangerous turn for the worse! No worries, I expect Markelle to be around for at least a hundred years or so. I simply wanted to take this time to show my appreciation for my friend before our inevitable end, whenever God chooses.
On a side note, personally I’m putting my dibs in to go first. Not because I know Markelle will make sure the funeral runs smoothly and everything is organized, because she will, but loosing a jewel like Markelle would be truly heart breaking.
Why am I thinking about life and death? Recently, Markelle had a brain aneurysm. Yikes, is all I could say. Then my next question, what the heck is a brain aneurysm? Believe it or not I’ve heard of them, mostly associated with old people, but I never really knew what one was. Thankfully, my other dear friend Holly happens to be my residential nurse, answering all of medical questions.
Apparently, it’s not a good thing! Holly explained it to me in layman’s terms, emphasizing the severity of the situation. Holy crap! Then I heard she was going into brain surgery! BRAIN SURGERY? Seriously? O my Markelle! That’s when it really hit me!
Immediately I thought of getting on a plane and flying down to stay with her and help out with the family. Why didn’t I? Unfortunately at the time, I got really sick! Bad timing! My dad and I both had this sinus bronchitis thing that was really bad for a week and a half. So heading to North Carolina to hang out with someone who was fresh out of brain surgery, would be very irresponsible and selfish of me.
Eric, her husband was the best at keeping all of her friends and family updated on her progress and her procedures. I mean he did an outstanding job! Even explaining the procedures and her symptoms so they could be understood by all. What a trooper!
The result? Markelle has been home for over a week now and she seems to be doing very well! She is improving everyday from what I understand. We’ve been Facebooking each other through private messages. Good sign!
See, I’m convinced Markelle is no ordinary woman. O no! Besides being pretty and youthful in appearance and attitude, she is mighty in her will. I hope that doctor took a good long look in her head, putting aside the stubbornness, to see her intelligence with a strong emphasis on common sense, to see a one of a kind gal. I know in my heart God has even bigger plans for my friend.
Personally, I can’t wait till we’re both little old ladies. My guess, we’ll both be feisty and fun!
I couldn’t image a world without Markelle. She is proof that prayers do get answered! God Speed to Markelle, her husband, her daughter, her family and all of her friends!
Markelle when you’re ready for a Piper visit, let me know. I miss you terribly and I pray for you often.
Below are a few screen shots I took from the Facebook posts with respect to Markelle’s surgery. Some were written by Eric and some Markelle.