A Message From Michael—November, 2012
Good morning. I’m…. I first met Michael’s father, Walt, back in 1993. I got to know his sons over the years as well. I decided to speak on behalf of Mike today because I believe he would like to have been able to say something to all of you who have come here to show support for him and his family.
I had been with Michael two times in the last two weeks before his passing to help him get some errands done. I was surprised at his attitude since being released from the facility he was in the last year and a half.
He was thankful, appreciative, forward looking, proud, and exhibited a deep curiosity for life.
He was more than thankful that I drove him to the DMV, the Social Security Office, the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the bank, his new place of employment at the Sublime Tattoo Shop where he could get online and order supplies for his tattoo business. At one point, he stopped between orders, turned to me and apologized for taking so long.
I told him I am retired now, so don’t rush, I’m in no hurry.
Mike expressed his appreciation for his father helping him out around every corner. He said he wanted so much to be financially independent and was looking forward to being able to that this time ‘round. When we stopped for breakfast, he said let’s just take our time and enjoy this meal because it was the first time in over a year he got to eat a fried egg instead of a boiled egg. “I want to savor every bite,” he said. He really appreciated that big breakfast.
He told me how much he was looking forward to seeing his son, Allen. When we were walking around in the stores for supplies and food, he kept an eye open for ideas for what he could buy Allen for Christmas. He also mentioned that he had left a voicemail for his brother, Will, and was looking forward for that call to be returned. He was especially looking forward to getting back to work. He said he had a couple customers lined up waiting to get their tattoos.
Our first day, which was a grueling eight hours, tired Michael out. I helped him carry his stuff up to the apartment where he was staying, and after a little more chatting, and before leaving, I gave him a great big hug. It probably was the first hug he had since entering & being released from the facility, so I wanted to make sure it was one to make up for all the hugs he had missed.
The following week when we went on more errands, Mike had mentioned he had heard how his daughter, Aubree, was doing. She studied all the time and was doing very well in school. He said to me, “I am so proud of Aubree.” You could see his chest puff up, and he had a big smile on his face.
One of the first things Michael told me was that he kept busy the last year and a half reading books and taking online college courses. He was almost done with his associate’s degree in Sociology. He had a final exam which he would take as soon as he could get his computer hooked up online. He was proud of his accomplishment. And he wanted to do more, to earn a Bachelor’s in Psychology.
He said he had read 216 books, most of them non-fiction–a lot of them on the religious faiths of the world. He wanted to learn as much as he could about God, the universe, what others taught and believed. He had some theories of his own. His curiosity about life ran deep.
In those two days with Michael, I may have given him a ride to many places; but he gave me on a ride to places of the heart, of the mind, and of the soul.
All who knew him, knew Michael has had his share of failings, of weaknesses, of short comings. And so do we. We can focus on our shortcomings, but where will that take us? Or we can focus on our strengths. If we think we have no strengths, focus anyway, and the strengths will come. Michael is here right now, spiritually and in our hearts. I strongly believe he would be happy to speak to all of you who took the time to come today to honor him and support his family. I believe this is what he would say from the lessons he learned in his short life:
Be thankful for all your blessings; the food on your plate; a sunny day.
Be appreciative for all that your friends and family do for you.
Look forward to life, to your future; make plans; focus on them. Don’t give up no matter how many times you fall.
Be proud. Be proud of your accomplishments, and the accomplishments of those around you.
Be curious. You might not find what you’re looking for, but even if you don’t find answers to your questions, you’ll learn a lot of things along the way.
Mike had a fall at the apartment where he lived, and he never got up here on earth. But he has gotten up now and has been received in the arms of our God and Creator. He is at peace. Let us all here be at peace, too. On behalf of Michael, I thank you for coming to celebrate Michael’s life.