After a nine-year battle against ALS, Randy Pipkin passed away on March 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm ET. His last blog post went up approximately an hour before he passed. He left this world quickly and peacefully, but not before he left his mark. Randy was a fighter and what he wanted more than anything was to beat ALS.
I met Randy on Memorial Day 2003. I was supposed to go away with friends for the weekend, but I ended up staying in New York. We met at a restaurant on the Upper West Side. I can honestly say it was love at first sight. We had a great first date and made plans to see each other a few days later. The next day I was randomly on the Upper East Side -- a place I never really visited -- for a friend's going away party. As I walked down the street, I was listening to my home voicemail (we still did that back then). The message was from Randy saying how much he was looking forward to our next date. At the same time as I was listening to the message, a strikingly handsome man turned the corner. He literally took my breath away... it was Randy. From that moment on, I knew we were destined to spend our life together.
In the first few years, we traveled and lived in the moment. Italy, Mexico and Puerto Rico were just some of the places we visited. The thing about Randy was, when he traveled, he did not want to go to the touristy areas. He wanted to see how the people lived in those places. He wanted to see the reality of things -- good and bad.
We were true soul mates and partners in life. Randy taught me how to be a better person. He taught me to be kind to people, present, open, honest, to laugh, to let my guard down, and most importantly, how to love.
I have never loved and will never love another human being as much as Randy. He knew my faults and he loved me for them. My nickname was "Kathy" -- as in "Chatty Kathy." If we were at a dinner party or socializing and I ended up talking too much (which I guess happened a lot), he would mouth the name "Kathy" to me from across the room. It was my cue to end the story, stop talking and to let other people talk. When he did this, he did it with love and a knowing smile. He was looking out for me. He loved me...
In the later years of our ALS fight, Randy became an advocate. I was lucky to be by his side during this epic battle. He touched people from all over the world and helped to motivate them to fight. He did not believe in giving up. Randy was a fighter.
This was evident during his last visit to the hospital. We were in an ER room when a hospital volunteer came to the doorway crying. She said that her mother had recently passed from ALS and that Randy was an inspiration to her. He just smiled. Randy helped and inspired so many people. He wasn't just this woman's hero -- he was a hero to thousands.
Towards the end of Randy's time on this earth, he just wanted to be with me, his parents, Gail and Jim, and our cats, Max and Molly. He loved us all so much. And he missed his first kitty, Zoe. Even during this time we tried to enjoy life. We watched movies. We drove around our town, Hingham, and took in the beautiful sites on the South Shore of Boston. We tried, until the very end, to keep our life together going.
In the near future, I will be going back to work with colleagues who have supported us both through the years. The big difference will be that I won't have my partner physically by my side. During the day, I won't receive text messages just saying "Hi," "I love you" and my favorite -- "Come home."
But now, he is literally part of me and that love and bond will never be broken. During the last few weeks of his life, Randy was having a harder and harder time speaking. When we finally got ready for bed and turned off the light, he would always try to say something to me. Every time he did this, I thought he needed something and I would put my ear to his mouth. When I did this, I would hear the words "I love you."He was on my on my side like no other human being had been.... or will ever be.
"I love you Randy." Thank you for helping me to be a better person. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving so much and sharing your story with others. You're a hero. And, you did not lose your fight against ALS -- you just started it and will continue to help and inspire me and others to fight this disease from a much more powerful place.
My love, thank you for being all of the beautiful things that were and are Randy Pipkin.
Mark Malinowski is a cause-marketing executive and will continue the fight against ALS begun by his partner Randy Pipkin. He has formed "Team Randy" for the ALS Association's Worcester "Walk to Defeat ALS."
Follow Mark Malinowski on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rmboston