Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Goodbye Mike

So, uh, my brother died.

I'm doing alright I guess, with a lot of people supporting me (and I appreciate all of the big and little things that people have done for me over the past few weeks). I guess, at the end of the day, one of the things that makes me not let myself get too low is the fact that I can think of 7 people who are going to have an even harder time than me. I can't imagine what it is to lose a child. Sometimes I can make my mind go the slightest little distance towards imagining, and literally start feeling nauceous. Or to lose a partner so out of the blue (this was one no one saw coming). Or to lose a father before you're out of high-school (or grade school).

Mike was 11 years older than me, which meant that I didn't truly get to know him when I was growing up. He was my idol and my role model. Literally my hero. Having lived in St. Louis a couple of times now since I got out of college, I treasure getting to know him as an adult.

He was the reason I aspired to go to Notre Dame. He was the reason I became an engineer. I was the reason I went to work at the airplane factory. He was the reason I indulge my silly side. He was the reason I was a cyclist. His passions were infectious in every way. He was also the reason that I believe I am a good husband and father. He is still my role model even now. If you ever met his kids, or saw how he loved and adored his wife, you know why.

There some very wonderful moments looking back on Mike's life trough pictures as Kathy and I worked with Mike's kids to put together a slide show for his after funeral party (he always said that if anything happened to him, he wanted a party where people remembered the good times instead of dwelling in loss). There were also some very startling moments. A couple of them I can talk about here.

Do you know that my lucky number is 29? Whenever I play on some goofy rec sports league, 29. It was my number in youth hockey. 29 is a "goalie number", meaning that hockey goalies often take that number (typically 1, 29, 30, or maybe 31). I always assumed that I got it from some Univeristy of Wisconsin goalie (maybe Marc Berend or someone like that). When we were going through the pictures I came upon Mike's individual shot from the Notre Dame varisty team. He had walked on to the team (meaning that he was playing for the love of it, with little to no hope of ever playing in a game). I looked on his shoulder. #29.

By the way, I still remember the day in 3rd grade when I got pulled out of school and we went bombing across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana to get to South Bend in time to see Mike warm up for a game. He was always the number 4 goalie, but that year one of the 3 scholarship goalies was hurt, and the backup smashed his stick against the boards in a practice pissing off the coach, so Mike got to dress that night (in hockey, 2 goalies dress each game). What a cool day.

I really thought I was kind of cried out and in control on Monday morning (the morning of the funeral) when we went to the funeral home. One last chance to say goodbye. But I was absolutely shattered when I saw my dad up front alone, and went to stand with him. The last thing he said, so matter of factly, was "bye Mike." For me, that 2 seconds will always always always be the definition of "loss".

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Blogger vbdizzydolphin said...


I am so sorry my friend. The thoughts and prayers of my family go out to yours.


8:32 AM  
Blogger Shocho said...

I don't think words work at a time like this. Just know that you're still in our thoughts, and give our best wishes to your parents and extended family as well.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

So I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what to write here before I realized there really wasn't anything I could say to relate. So I'll go with the standard "I'm sorry for your loss" and hope you realize I really mean it.

2:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home