danny murphy 120After a yearlong battle with lung Cancer, star of All My Children and a great actor, Mark LaMura passed away. .  Although expected it was devastating to me family and I. He had been part of my family and best friend for 48 years, I am an only child but he was my brother. There were long periods of time when he was on tour, shooting a movie or TV show, on Broadway, or TV ads, he would return and it was as if he was never gone. He is alive in my mind and heart and because of that it feels as if he will be returning soon as do most of his family, mine and his Wife Liz. 

Coming to terms with his passing and going to his funeral weighted heavily on all of us.  His wife Liz informed us of the time and place for his funeral at   in Manhattan with a repass at a local after the service. There was no wake and on a Saturday at 1 pm my family and I entered. St Paul the Apostle on Columbus Ave. I was visibly shaken by the realty of why I was in this large beautiful church. We sat in the front few rows where I could be close to Liz, his daughter Gabriel, her friends and the LaMura family.  There were a large number of actors and friends in attendance.    

I was trying to compose myself for Mark's coffin to be brought down to the Alter, knowing that would hammer me.  Mark's brother and sister came and placed a small table at the altar, then his picture, a vase of flowers and a small wooden box. I guess the look on my face made my son lean over to me “Marks brother told me he was cremated.”  It was a beautiful mass as a tribute to Mark.  His Daughter, Gabriel,  his brother and sister delivered heartfelt loving eulogies, no eyes were dry as we left the church

At the repass Liz told me that that Mark wanted to be cremated with a Mass at the church and a repass afterwards. That brought everything into focus, why there was no wake and only a repass.  It made everything so simple.  There were no days of greeting people at a wake and no funeral precession afterwards.  It was so much easier on the family and friends. Mark showed me and perhaps many others, with his passing, what direction we should take when we die. 

Recently Liz asked me if we could bring Mark’s ashes for a burial at sea.  Of course we will, either on my boat or on my friend Frank’s boat which is larger and can hold a large number of people. I want to be close to the Verrazano Bridge. The only question will be do we put his ashes on an incoming tide towards his beloved Manhattan or on an outgoing tide to the world he had traveled over many years.