Robert's column

Robert Barron column: Tragic end to good realtor

It’s strange and scary just how fickle and fragile life can be

It will be 11 years ago this month that I bought the house that I am currently living in.

When I think of that day, it’s not the buying of the house that comes to mind as much as the realtor who spent so much time helping me find it.

I had figured I’d look at five houses in my price range and then pick one; quick and easy.

But that’s not what happened at all.

My realtor, whose name was Mark, showed me dozens of available homes over about a month period, and all I was seeing were homes that needed quite a lot of renovations or were situated in areas where I really didn’t want to live.

But Mark patiently stuck with me (along with my brother and sister-in-law who also helped me through the process) until, after viewing about 30, I stepped into a house that fitted my needs perfectly and I made an offer that was accepted.

Mark was delighted to have survived the endless ordeal of me picking apart every house he showed me for many weeks without coming close to a sale.

He said this was his last house sale before he and his wife took a trip to a resort in Mexico to get married.

I was surprised as I, along with my brother and sister-in-law, were heading to Mexico at the same time and, as it turned out, we were staying at a resort just a short distance from where Mark’s wedding was to take place.

Being the friendly sort of fellow he was, Mark insisted that we attend his wedding.

We said we would try, but we had our own vacation agenda and lost track of time, so we skipped the nuptials.

We were more than a little shocked when we learned a few days later that Mark had died on the morning after his wedding at the resort where he was staying.

Apparently, Mark’s new wife sent him to the hotel foyer to get her some coffee soon after they awoke that morning.

Mark walked to the foyer and when he was approaching the coffee pot, a gas line under the floor beneath his feet exploded, maiming and killing a bunch of people, including Mark.

I heard later that Mark’s wife knew something had happened when she saw people running in different directions to escape, what many of them must have felt was, a terrorist attack.

Needless to say, she was horrified when she finally learned that she would never see her new and beloved husband of just a few hours ever again.

And, to add to the tragedy, she discovered shortly after arriving back on Vancouver Island with her husband’s body that she was pregnant with his child.

Mark’s death was terrible and I can only imagine how devastated his wife must have been.

I had never met the woman but I often think of her alone and trying to raise a child who would never know their dad.

I followed the investigation into the explosion on the Internet and, after many months, it was determined that the gas lines corroded over time and were a disaster waiting to happen.

How unfortunate it was for Mark and his wife that the fates would align for the explosion to occur just when Mark, a guy from thousands of miles away and never at that resort before, was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I waited for someone to be held responsible and for Mark’s wife to get a substantial settlement for the unfortunate loss of her husband.

But, in the end, I believe no one was ultimately blamed for the tragedy and Mark’s wife was never adequately compensated.

I really hope she’s doing OK.

It’s strange and scary just how fickle and fragile life can be.

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