A Season of Living and Grieving

It’s a process unlike any I’ve ever experienced. My window into the world of losing a child, the worst case scenario imaginable. For anyone; much less if you only had the pleasure of your kid’s company for only three years and change. Mike’s death was the night before the Pulse shooting, so it was a fun weeekend here in sunny Orlando.

The loss has intrinsically changed Rachel and Tyson, how could it not? But they have pulled it together, been there for eachother and been the best partner possible. They are blessed to have found that kind of love, doubly blessed for having Mike as their son. He always will be. So I will let them be my guiding light and do my best to release my personal feelings about his death and focus on how he would me to be living my life.

He wouldn’t want me to allow myself to be consumed by rage, resentment or revenge. We had both suffered enough of that in this life. He would want me to be happy, always be there for his mom and properly memorialize his time in front of the camera and the time I spent pouring over his medical files, increasingly shocked by what I read. The depths so called professionals sank to try to break this chid’s spirit or sedate him almost to death are criminal.

This is nothing like I could have imagined and that’s an important lesson for me to take away from this entire experience. You never know. Nothing is assured. Do it while you can but don’t rush life. There are times to get in the current and swim faster, I ask for the wisdom to know the difference. Regardless of how I feel, it’s about how Rachel and Ty feel and what Mike would want. He wouldn’t want more self inflicted torture by judgement or self sabotage.

It’s been 90 days, three months, one season of time since he departed this life. I have no idea what to do with that. I’ve told his mom everything that I need to; mostly how proud of her I am. She is doing better than I would be in her position. When it comes to losing your baby, no matter how old, the fetal position is tempting not to leave. Crawling into a ball won’t help anyone heal and there is a tremendous amount of healing that needs to happen.

I’ve let capricious Amy out a few times to play over the past few months. It felt like being good and doing good count for nothing, so indulge. But they do, they really do. Mike helped teach me that. Knowing him made me a better person and want to be an even better person. I’ll never be perfect and have no intention of being called a saint; but I’m going to be an outspoken advocate for the cause whenever possible. Not give into the anger but use it as fuel to keep me moving forward, living each day like I’ve learned it should be…like anything can happen. It’s hard to be present to it as you are going about your routine, but it’s important to be mindful to. I find meditating at least once a day makes a huge difference.

That and I need to commit, in witness of Mike’s spirit, I need to be writing daily. There are so many stories I have going on concurrently. And I get frozen. I tend to over-react to my anxiety so, that’s another area I’ve done great work with but have a ways to go. It’s hard to overcome artistic self-doubt. Nobody ever said that art is easy. And I demand nothing less for Mike’s story and the other’s in KINDRED than to be in a piece of art that moves people beyond expected. Idealy moves them to get involved with foster care on local and national levels.

So, as I write, seated on my porch in the Florida night, being consumed by insects, I choose to let go of the resentment. I choose to hold onto the love that he inspired in me, brought into his family and the lives of almost everyone who met him. He is a ray of pure light and that is how I picture him. And the best homage is living my life well, finding my true happy and doing it with the style he would want me to have.

We love you Mike. You changed so many lives. I am thankful for you having intersected with mine. You were my prince charming. You broke the spell of the story of abandonment by my parents I told myself. Then broke the curse and brought me to gratitude. The best I can do is spend everyday trying to live in that gratitude and my gratitude for you, kiddo.



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