He was the kind of guy who leaned down and hugged you a little longer than you were comfortable with. He had big puppy brown eyes with lashes that every girl in high school was jealous of. He was younger than my brother and I and one of my brother’s nicest friends. He was kind and generous. And he was passionate.
His wife, also a childhood friend was beaming and beautiful today. The picture of a woman at peace with what life has delivered. When she spoke, she honored him for exactly who he was to her, their family, and to the world. My favorite story she shared was of when he wandered off one day as they were at the gas station after she’d gone into the store for a soda. She looked and looked for him and finally found him, back behind the filling station sitting on the curb with a homeless man. He already had his shoes off and was putting them on the homeless man’s feet. Next, he took off his jacket and put it around the man’s shoulders. Then he handed him twenty dollars and said, “God loves you.”
Michael lived out loud. He shouted his passionate beliefs from his Facebook page and everywhere he went.
Today he brought us back together again. People who knew us before we became us. We searched each others’ faces looking for familiarity that after decades tends to fade. But the connection, the knowledge of one another remains, even after such a long time. Hugs were exchanged, words of affinity and remembering. People who knew you growing up are part and fiber of your being forever.
What a gift you were to all who knew you, Michael. God speed my brother, my childhood friend.