Forever young. I want to be forever young. Forever young like my inspiration, my lost boy who has taken his place in Neverland. It was because of him that I found the courage to find my voice. To do tons of research into foster care, this campaign and project. And the theme continued; have you ever had to wake up to hear the news? I’m fairly certain it applies.

A few weeks ago, I’m not sure how long exactly, everything has the haze of shock atop of it, I woke at about 2:30 in the morning. I usually don’t but I decided to check my messages. There had been several phone attempts and a text left that said something like this is really bad. You need to call me.

So, half asleep I called Rachel. The phone was on speaker near my head, she answered and just said my name. Just Amy, that’s never good. I asked what was up.

“Amy, there was a car accident tonight. Mike’s dead.”

I’ve dealt with an unreasonable amount of death for a woman of my age, and I’ve been molded by it. I don’t shock easily. However; what this loss meant was so ghastly, I went into lucid shock. That’s when yes, you have yet to wrap your mind around the information, but you still need to function so you go on autopilot. You go through the motions, but your mind cannot yet process.

“Oh God Rach, I’m so sorry. I can’t believe it I just, it wasn’t time yet. This feels so wrong. I’ll see what I can do about getting there.” Suddenly, I realized what my first instinct would be if anything happened to my son. I’d want to join him. Rachel and I are very similar in that respect and we’ve been through too much together not to speak our fears. I told her I was worried and I made her repeat the words, “I promise not to kill myself.”

She needed to go as the police were being very cooperative and that she had to go see Michael’s body. I told her she doesn’t if it’s too much. She explained she did. The horrible images would be nothing compared to what her imagination could conjure up. I told her how much I love her and I’m waiting by the phone, so anything that I could do, please tell me.

Of course, there was nothing I could really do. Aside from writing a gofundme for Michael’s Memorial and Scholarship, I feel powerless. And lost. I mean what the fuck do we do now?

We have all of this footage, including great, intimate stuff with Mike, and the producer/assistant editor is Rachel. My back up is having issues of her own.

The loss of Michael at the tender age of 19, after only having been with his forever family for three years and change, has devastated and continues to baffle me. I’m usually all everything happens for a reason, some things are preordained, some is free will mixed with dumb luck. God help me I sound like Forrest Gump.

I’ve stated over and over in this blog that I promised the participants in KINDRED that their pain they went through and their courage to share intimate details with me on camera would not be for nothing. I believe that is what I have to hold to in order to honor his life.

He is still an inspiration, I just feel terribly guilty that between me being in and out of the hospital and Rachel losing both parents within months before Mike’s death, I didn’t move fast enough. And I didn’t want to push Rachel who was grieving. We didn’t have the resources to move fast enough and thought we had time on our side. After all, this is the most selfless thing I’ve ever given my heart and energy to, how could it not turn out splendid? My reward for changing my thoughts, behavior and goals, a successful, special project that actually rippled with positive change.

I’ve given myself a little time to get used to the idea of the new normal and it still hasn’t digested. How Rachel and Tyson are functioning is beyond me. I held it together until he was laid to rest, then the emotions flooded in. Once I knew his mom was okay, I let go. It felt sickening but I had to experience it to move through and past it. Previously, I’d numb that shit as fast as possible. Staying numb for as long as possible, but he deserved to be honored in lucidity.

I did claim that I would do whatever it took to get this story out, so on Monday, I’m going to Disney, Universal UCF, Full Sail and Rollins with a onesheet on the project and why they should find a way to volunteer. Plus I can post it on free entertainment based sites like greenroom(add your city).com. It brings up every production in the area, who is casting and who needs crew.

Rachel will need time and so do I, we haven’t even discussed what’s next. And I will not be pushing her, which I am sometimes guilty of. It’s unconscious but I’m present to it. She doesn’t mind it too much, a director is supposed to be one pushing the limits. If only there were an independent film fairy who could float in my window and spin my straw footage into a golden documentary. I have faith in the project and it being something special, leading to tangible changes in the foster care system.

I was involved in the day to day process with Rachel, the entire roller coaster. That’s how Mike came to call me his KINDRED, because I understood. The circumstances were completely different but the damage was similar. He trusted me with things most adults would need to be under hypnosis to admit to, Mike was brave. He was honest. He was one of the lights of my life and I loved him like a son.

I have pasted the link to the fund for Mike’s headstone and a scholarship through the agency that placed him to help other family’s be created in his loving memory.

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