It was likely that over a six week period not all of the experinces would be good. Prior to my departure from New York on May 30th, I went to visit my friend Mark Monsky for the last time. He had just been moved from the New York Medical Center of Cornell University, where he had been receiving chemo-therapy and platelet transfusions, to the Calvary Hospital, a hospice in the Bronx where you check-in but don't check-out.
I must admit that I was very anxious about visiting Mark in a hospice. However, I did find a true care facility where their special staff and equipment were adept at dealing with their patients whose power to do for themselves was long since sapped by the combination of disease and treatment. I was joined on the trip by Mark's long time friend Michael Hershman and when we got to the room, Mark's sons, who had flown in from California, and his wife Beverly were there with him. Mark was still able tell jokes and wanted to confide secrets that no one else should know. The build up of toxins in his blood was clear and the deterioration over the prior week since I had seen him at NY Hospital was a sure sign that we would not find him alive when the World Cup was over.
It doesn't matter how well you prepare for the loss of a loved one. The finality of the notion that there would be no more dinners with him at Elaine's, where you quickly came to the realization how much of the current news departments of major U.S. broadcasters were hired by Mark or who owed their careers to his guidance and sage advice. Mark, the godson of William Randolph Hearst, whose father was the managing editor for Hearst newspapers in the formative days of Mark's youth, was a natural to end up in the news business. He loved adventure just as much, so it is not strange that he blended both of these in his illustrious career of broadcast news. He created the video magazine Hard Copy and even here in Germany did his turn at creating investigative programming as well.
For me, Mark provided the right balance of foil and friend. He had the intellect to challenge and test and at the same time was generous in teaching you the things he knew. Much of the input for the creation of the new TV studios in the CONCACAF offices came from Mark de-mystifying what we could accomplish in limited space.
The news came in the middle of a night with a call from Beverly to my New York cell. We will miss you. Sleep well, my friend.