I got a text today from my husband that simply said "Mike passed away yesterday" while I was leaving my neighborhood Starbucks. I sat in the car and cried like a baby, or as I am sure the customers leaving Starbucks thought, I cried like a crazy lady. Well, my apologies to the fine people who happened to pass me at that time but sometimes these things really can not be helped.
Here are some things you should know about my friend. He was a really good guy. A devoted husband, father and musician. He had an amazing memory for the names of designers, strength beyond his size, and an uncanny (some might say slightly freaky) ability to look at a woman and not just guess, but KNOW their dress size. I don't know how the hell he did that but it was truly amazing. Mike also had the ability to make people feel welcome and I know there was a large group of the local community who loved going into his shop to spend time just talking to him. That's the kind of guy he was.
Here are some things, beyond what I wrote above, that I admired about Mike.
The way he looked at his wife. He was one of those guys who you knew by every thing he did, that he really loved his her.
The way he openly adored his son.
The way he talked to my kids like real people.
His energy and enthusiasm.
His excitement for, and knowledge of good design.
His ability and willingness to listen to people.
OK. So to be honest I know he was not perfect. None of us are.
The last time I saw Mike was a couple of months ago when we got together for breakfast. This was something we had come to do over the years, we would go to their house, they would come to ours or we would meet at a local restaurant or a museum. This last time was just after he had finished up some treatment or another and before he went in for surgery on his neck. He was in pain and had been sick for a while. If it were me I would have been just grumpy and totally miserable to be around. Not Mike. He was his normal affable self. Ill never forget some of the things Mike has said to me over the years.
No one lives forever. It may be a disappointment to some but I simply can't believe there is a magical after life we go to after this. I believe that it's what we do in this life that is so very important. It's who we love, who we help or learn from, what we do that counts. Perhaps this is too simplistic but I believe that as long as I remember those I have cared about who pass that they live through me. As long as I remember the lessons I have learned from them and share those lessons, they live through me.
I am a better person for having known Mike. Not because of his death, but because of his life. Honestly I don't have much more of a tribute to pay to anyone. I am thankful that I knew him.
My hope for all of us is that no matter how much time each of us has on this earth that we are able to love whole heartily, listen when children speak to us, find the time for our family and friends, and face each day no matter what it brings with an energy and enthusiasm like Mike would.