Today I was both overjoyed and heartbroken within an hour.
I saw a clip of my good friend Mark Allen Sims on TV. Due to a nasty divorce he had been made homeless. When I saw him, singing on TV I paused it immediately and jumped up, telling my boyfriend what a kind soul he was. I made it my mission to watch the show he was on before I went to bed. ( Shelter from the Storm)
While he was on TV, I thought I’d check his Facebook, he had taken it down a few times, but I figured that was to hide from his crazy ex. Little did I know, the reason I hadn’t heard from him was because he passed away during heart surgery on September 28,2015.
Mark and I met at the opening of Denny’s in Okotoks. He was the line cook and I was a waitress. Within a few days he christened me “Lady C,” and since then it stuck. I had been working as an amateur photographer for sometime, and he asked me to come down and take some photos of a local event called “The Jam,” a jazz collaboration with several local, talented artists. What he didn’t know was I could sing too. I got up to the microphone, one of the few white girls in the room, and spat out a jazz rendition of “rocking around the Christmas Tree. ” I can still hear him yelling from the top floor, “oh snap! lady C can sing!!!!”
After that we would get together and sing and chat, he was like an uncle, a kind soul who only wanted your company and an ear to listen. Anytime he had a job on his food truck he’d ask me to come waitress. He couldn’t pay much at all, but we always worked well together and it was nice to get out and find new ways to battle my PTSD.
After his last marriage ruined him, he requested to visit more, and I am ashamed to admit that I was so busy modelling that I put him off more often than not. He had told me about his heart surgery, and I had every intention of going to visit, but I was so caught up in life that I simply forgot. Mark passed away 6 months ago and I had no idea.
So my lesson to all of you, pay attention to those who ask for your help, for your company. Many people love you if you’d just look up from your life and acknowledge it. I’m sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye big guy. But I will always be Lady C, to you, and to anyone who asks. May you light up the heavens with your beautiful voice, rest in peace sweet soul.
Here are some photos I took of mark, doing what lit his soul up. In loving memory of Mark Sims