This blog is to honor and celebrate the life of an amazing individual. If you are reading this you know what a wonderful person Michael was.
I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and kindness from our community. I can hear Michael saying when the media wanted to share his story “Why do they want to do a story on me?”
Michael was a wonderful husband, father, friend, brother and uncle. He was my rock and my biggest fan. He never met a stranger and was the first one to say “SURE” when he was asked to help anyone with anything.
He could figure anything out. He was a brilliant man. He would always laugh when Seth and I would ask him questions about the most obscure things and he would always have the answer for us, and then his response would be “I’m glad that you guys think I am so smart!”
He had such a way a looking at the good in things. He was 1st diagnosed with his liver disease in 1996 3 years after we got married. He was grateful every day for his disease. He would often say “I wouldn’t change a thing.” He would explain to me how he had the opportunity to look at the world differently than most people because of his diagnosis. Through our countless trips down to Indianapolis for treatment he never complained or got mad because all of this was happening to him. He would tell me how lucky he was.
Most people that were diagnosed with his disease have the larger lobe of their liver affected Michael’s started in the smaller lobe and he counted that as a win.
As we looked through pictures and reliving memories, I noticed that in almost every picture of Michael he was smiling. He would tell you that he had a great life. In one of our many conversations this last couple of weeks he had looked at me and said “I am so fulfilled.” He would tell you “I don’t need much. I’m a simple guy” And it was true. All he ever wanted was to be happily married and to have a family. Michael always said that Seth the greatest toy he ever received. His infectious smile and endless optimism was inspirational. I would say at the end of productive day “Today was a good day!” Michael’s response to me was “EVERYDAY IS A GOOD DAY!” and he meant it.
I’m sure many of you have heard the story of Hello Gorgeous! It was Michael that came of up the name only he didn’t know it. And for about 6 months after I pitched the idea to him he wouldn’t talk to me about it. He would just change the subject. He couldn’t wrap his brain around how we were going to take care of all of these women for free, but he knew that this was my dream and he would find a way to make it come true. He lived eat and breathed for these women with cancer. He worked tirelessly for Hello Gorgeous! Many people don’t know that Michael would be sitting in his hospital bed with IV’s and tubes coming out of his body and would happily answer the phone “Hello Gorgeous! This is Michael how can I help you?” He never quit. We had often talked that we would never retire, we would do this forever.
A friend sent me a text and shared with me that she believed that when Michael arrived in heaven he was greeted with a great big Hello Gorgeous! By all of the women that he had helped that had gone before him.
Right before Michael was airlifted to Indianapolis one of his doctors called me. He told me that for the many years that he had taken care of Michael, his medical record never matched his physical body. He said I would look at his medical record and then look at him and say he looks too good for this to be the same person. The doctor said that day “I think that his physical body and his medical record finally met up.”
It was then that I was reminded of what Michael had always said his dream was. He said “When my time comes, I want to use up every ounce of everything that I have. I want to go sliding into home plate with absolutely nothing left and say “ THAT WAS AWESOME!” I feel that he achieved that. He used up every ounce of everything he had literally until he had nothing left. Even in the end.
Michael was a registered organ donor. When I received the call for IOPA they explained that Michael was eligible for organ donation but that the only thing that they could use were his eyes. By donating his eyes Michael was able to give 2 people the gift of sight. My hope is that the recipients of his gift are blessed to see the world as he did.
I would like to invite each of you to remember Michael in whatever special way you choose and always remember that.