Family Tribute:Someone once asked me how I would describe Mike. My answer was one I didn't have to think long about it was:
Beloved HusbandDevoted FatherFaithful Child of God
The only thing I ever wanted to be was someone's wife and mother. I think the only thing Mike ever wanted to be was someone's husband and father. The fact we found each other was my great miracle of life.
Mike was successful, kind, honest and moral. The fact he was so smart was the reason that he was able to figure out how to be such a wonderful husband, father and person. He was the kind of father who would fly to Florida or Missouri and back for a meeting in one day so he would not have to spend a night away from his home, me or the boys.
Mike and I met on a blind date. Set up by mutual friends. Our first date alone was dinner and the movie War of the Roses. This tells you something of his sense of humor. I remember at the first date Mike told me he was looking to be in a serious and committed relationship and I was so impressed by that. We dated for about 15 months and were married 3 months after that. Mike taught me what it was to be loved unconditionally.
Our marriage survived a lot those first few years. We married, I got pregnant, had Daniel all the while Mike commuted to New York - 2 hours and ¾ each way. Mike changed jobs, we moved, I got pregnant again, we moved again, I quit my job and had a premature baby all in 2 ½ years. Through it all Mike was the rock I leaned on. He never doubted for a moment that David would be just fine. He was always the person who gave me confidence and believed in me. Mike taught me how to trust but never succeeded in teaching me not to worry.
Family day was Sunday. Full of games, barbeques and gardening or rented movies. His boys came first in everything. He always left work at the door - which was frustrating for me at times because I felt somewhat shut out of that part of his life but it was interesting to me that everyone at work knew about the boys and me. I do know that he was hard working and well respected at what he did at Marsh.
There was nothing Mike liked more than a good joke. Someone described him accurately as an 11 year old boy stuck in the body of a 42 year old man. He was known everywhere for his dry wit and practical jokes. He was known to change peoples' screen savers at work to things with special messages and was also know to change passwords as well. When Mike worked for Sedgwick it took one good friend weeks to get rid of the screen saver that said 'Charlie is the reason Sedgwick is so successful'. He and the boys were always looking for a good joke to play on mom who always fell hook, line and sinker for the joke. Mike taught me how to laugh.
Mike was very active in our church. He was chair of the deacons, served on the church council, ran the confirmation program, mentored confirmands, was on two pastoral search committees and filled in for the pastor on occasssion with sermons he wrote and researched. He took his commitment to God as the most important in his life. He was very good at juggling many responsibilities and always served with joy in his heart. Mike taught me how to serve with joy.
I never heard him complain that his plate was too full or that he didn't have time to help someone or couldn't do something for our family. Very rarely did we ever feel as a family that we were not his first priority. Mike taught me what it was to be part of a family and juggle many responsibilities at once.
Mike had an incredible gift of speaking the truth in love even when it was the most difficult situation. He was never one to run from conflict but could see the big picture. Mike taught me to face conflict, forgive and move on.
Mike had his faults and he was very aware of all but one. His driving would take your breath away as you went through Boston. He was the typical Boston driver.
Many people thought that Mike would find a second calling as a pastor. He said he might make a good teaching pastor but he always said he didn't have enough empathy for all people. As he put it he was sure God loved him but he wasn't sure God loved the person driving 40 in the express lane on the highway. This was always said with that mischievous smile of his.
There are so many sad things about his whole thing that are just too numerous to even begin to describe, children growing up without fathers and mothers, loss of spouses and good, productive members of our world., lives cut so short, words left unsaid.
Two sad things in all of this for me personally include that Mike and I were supposed to renew our wedding vows in June. I had to have major surgery and we put it off until this fall and fall never came for us.
The other sad thing for me in all of this is that Mike was in New York that day because we didn't want to move. Rather than move there he went in for meetings and to work most Mondays and Tuesdays. He hadn't been on that schedule for very long.
In all of this I received two of the greatest gifts. On Sunday night before Mike left for New York we had one of those really great 'marriage' conversations where you are both on the same page, everything clicks and you talk about the important stuff. We felt so close.
The other was getting Mike home. Anyone who knew him knew the last place he would want to be was and work and the very last thing he would want was to be in New York. Mike would want to be home with his boys. We are one of the lucky ones - we have Mike home with us. I miss him more than ever.