Monday, January 9, 2012

Saying good-bye to Mikey

1997: Mikey and Me
I flew home to Minnesota this weekend, solo, to attend Mikey's memorial service and reminiscence with friends.  Being there without my current family made it so easy to transport myself to high school again.  Those friendships made then will always mean so much.  It's still hard to believe that there's this Mikey-sized hole in the middle of all that, though, that will never be replaced.

I spent all that time on the plane without my Kindle coming back, as I forgot to bring the charger.  At first, I was annoyed -  but then I settled in with my thoughts and what Mikey's life and death means to me.  His life, there's no question there.  I want to make people feel the way Mike did.  I want to make laughter and side-splitting joy more at the forefront. 

But his death, too, changed me.  I want to say things to people before it's too late.  Those friendships that created the core of me, I want to cherish those and keep them current in my life.  There is always time if you want there to be.

At about 3:30 in the morning, I had to get out of bed to write to Mike's mom.  Part of it was my own sorting, part of it to reach out to her in her grief, and part of it because I want to say things to people NOW...not assuming they already know or it goes without saying.

Dear, Cindy - 

I know you heard this about 100 times today, but I wanted to share it again, as it's that important to me. 

Your son was one of the MOST incredible persons I have ever met. So filled with kindness and love for other people. So brilliant - with his wit, his insight. The way he could make any situation more colorful, more memorable just because he was in it.

Now that I have my own children, I see how important it is to know that their lives - whatever length - means something to others. That they leave this world a brighter, better place because they existed.

That is not a question at all with your Mike. No matter what his struggles and personal sadness, he never let it poison the way he treated others. The joy he brought to the rest of the world.

I cannot believe my last conversations with him were about bleaching hair and wearing SPF every day - and yet, in some ways, those are such typical Mikey moments that maybe they are the ones I want captured.

The world will never be the same without Mikey...but I think it's also important that the world will never be the same BECAUSE of Mike. That he came here and spread *that* much joy and love around in his 30+ years. He accomplished more in that category than most people do in much longer lives.
He had that gift that so few persons have - how to really make others feel valued and appreciated.

Thank you for the way you mothered that kindness and love into him...what he brought out into the world...and that you shared him with us all those years. I am a better person for having known your son. He will always be missed, and always be remembered.