What we think happened to him still changes day to day. If you know Michael, you know the possibilities are limitless. He certainly had demons to battle but, his will is strong, and his wild eccentricities have no limits. I don’t think he intended to hurt us. But, it hurts.
It’s like other loss in many ways. There is grief with the loss of just not having Mikey in our lives. Missing his kind heart and his big smile. So many memories to reflect back on. There are ‘what-ifs’. There are milestones filled with bittersweet emotions. Everything that comes with not having someone you love in your life anymore.
But, because we don’t have answers, it’s very different from any other loss. We still search. We still hope. And we still worry. We look at every face, in every crowd. We go through every range of every emotion when someone thinks they may have seen him, or when we have to answer questions, or when a body needs to be identified. Even though it’s been 20 years, all of that still happens, and the possibility for essentially anything still exists. Each time there is any kind of news, we are almost forced to have to do the emotional work. Over, and over, again. Some other people might be able to shut that off and compartmentalize it until later. We are not those people. It’s a tremendous emotional burden to have to keep going through that.
Ironically, being a burden is exactly why Michael thought he should disappear.
Today, Michael is, or would be, 50 years old. We should be celebrating this milestone with him. He should be here with us, laughing over old memories, and awaiting the arrival of new ones, with his first grand-nephew. Instead, we will celebrate him at our Michael’s Run – Party With a Purpose on May 13th by helping to keep this conversation going and making a difference where we can.
Happy birthday, Mikey. Missing you big today, brother.