Riding on Coattails
How can there be so much to say about one person? There was always "so much" with Michael. He made life bigger and bolder than anyone I know. He loved roller coasters – the thrill and excitement. With roller coasters the ride is timed long enough to give you the thrills but short enough to keep you wanting to come back for more, again and again, and short enough to disappoint you that the ride is done. Funny that something he loved so much describes him so aptly.
What was so incredible about Mike was that he made you believe in yourself. He made you believe you were more than you ever thought you could be, that your possibilities were endless. He could place you on top of the world. This was an incredible gift and talent he had mastered. So often in life we feel ruled by destiny or by others and his message was always the same, that we are the masters of our own destiny if we should only choose.
Michael had a life of incredible joys and sorrows, of successes and failures. Michael was an intense person from start to finish. He often seemed without middle ground. That intensity mostly attracted others to him but at times could frighten or repel as well. Mike was a generous kid who loved to share. In childhood it started with candy. It was safe to finish your treats first because he was there with extra to spare (that remained the same to the end). In adulthood it was laughs, ideas, and plans. He was always willing to take someone aboard the Michael train (some would say bus). He was at times the safety net at the bottom of a deep fall. He didn't just catch you but would build you right back up and have you on your feet running.
Michael has lived in many places and known many people. Along that trail he enriched many lives. There were those who grabbed hold of his coattails wanting a share of his successes but who jumped ship at the first signs of failure. His friends were those who clung to his coattails either way. Throughout the maze of his life the one thing that remained consistent was that no one who met him could ever forget him.
Mike didn't run with the bulls in Pamplona but he ran with the bulls as a way of life. He was sometimes oblivious to life's dangers and sometimes blatantly disregarded them. Sometimes his plans made sense and sometimes they didn't but they were his plans. Mike lived his life on his terms. In this way he followed his own advice. Unfortunately the gift he shared with so many, believing in oneself was something he wasn't always able to do for himself. Michael needed a Michael in his own life.
With Michael you always wondered "What's next?" and unmercifully that question took on a different context February 17, 2013.
Beloved Twin the winds don't billow my sails today and you have left me wondering if the sun will in fact come out again tomorrow.
While I wait this is what I will remember:
Pictures of you when you were small, eyes alight with promise and excitement
A time when your energy knew no bounds
When fear had no meaning and despair had never been contemplated
A little boy who ate his ice cream slower than paint could dry
Who held my hand walking to the store
Who stood by me and shared the long walk home when I decided his best friend's mom was a serial killer and refused her offer of a ride home
A boy who had a candy stash with which to share
Who took long drives to nowhere but had a scenic route
Had a list of dreams longer than any Santa's Wish List
Someone who could get away with saying the most outrageous things and never feel foolish, but relished in his ability to shock
Who could always fill his mouth with more crackers than I could
Who's enjoyment of new people and fun made being late for dinner worthwhile
Who laughed himself right out of his chair at the dinner table whenever his brothers would look at him and say "ketchup"
Little or big could earn the attachments most only yearn for
Riding on handlebars and skateboard jumps
Was caller #9 so many times on radio contests that he was banned from calling in
Practicing "Let Me Be There" a thousand times over for the telethon and then deciding not to do it
Actually made a woman believe he was a spy by talking into his shoe
The ability to make something out of nothing
Who had the ability to make one believe in oneself and make a person want to be more because "more" was better
Someone who believed you could always go one step further
In your honor may we all take a step forward when it is next required of us.