Today, before brushing my teeth I checked my email and read some of the worst news a person can receive via email. Stunned, I wandered out of my room, still in my night clothes, into the living room and stood their shaking with grief as my eyes blurred with tears …
Michael is gone. Our beautiful Michael … gone.
Gone by his own hand.
::: deep soul-stirring grief :::
This punch in the gut has lasted all day. The tears come strong, easily. The 23 years of memories flood in and all I can do is pray and remember.
23 years ago, Michael was affectionately dubbed our Group Guru. He was my sponsor’s sponsor in the 12 step program I joined to overcome substance abuse. Eventually we became romantically involved but we quickly determined we were much better as friends and not partners. This proved true since we remained friends all these years.
I first learned about unconditional love in our little recovery group. One person I also love dearly and I consider my “Sister” (who I grieved with on the phone today) mentioned the unconditional love principle one night and they all showed sincere compassion when I sat there confused. Unconditional love seemed like a brand new concept for me and at the time I doubted it actually existed.
It was Michael who literally wiped my tears away later as I received the truth that unconditional love might actually exist.
It was Michael who became the first man who could look me straight in the eyes, hold my attention, and I would feel safe. It was Michael who I called after having my third step epiphany. It was Michael, and our group, who tried to speak into my life in those early days and beyond, often, saying that I did not have to live in shame or remain shut down.
It was Michael who was the first friend to ever send me flowers. A dozen yellow roses. I love flowers.
Of course 23 years means we had plenty of disagreements, laughter, lots of coffee, laughing, late night Denny’s, his wedding, laughing, singing in worship, praying, debating, laughing, exhorting … I always believed that if I ever needed him he would come quickly in whatever way necessary.
::: deep sorrow :::
How I wish I had known what he was going through, I would have run to him without hesitation.
One night I remember being with him, Sister, Paul & John and we were talking spiritual stuff. He said:
You know many people think we only exist in the space right behind our eyes and don’t inhabit the whole of their being. Furthermore, they believe they are human beings having a spiritual experience, but I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
That always stuck with me and I believe the Lord used that simple truth to eventually bring me Home to Him.
And now our beautiful Michael has gone Home to Him, face to face. Our Heavenly Father is now lovingly holding Michael’s gaze, wiping his tears away, without fear or condemnation.
I love you Michael, always.
Please pray for everyone who love Michael. His family, friends, and community. Of course I am grieving but I am and will be ok. My heart is heavy for his family and friends.