The only time I ever attempted to give blood at a blood drive, I had a grand mal seizure. The last thing I remember is staring at the blood going down the line and looking up at the technician to, you know, warn him, and then I was coming to, with the technician red-faced and angry as I’d pretty much cleared the place out, save those terrified souls already hooked up to a line. One of the volunteers from the fraternity running the drive, however, stood by, resolute with kindness and resurances. He made me stay put, brought me juice and crackers, and gently teased me out of my mortification (“Oh, I’ve seen worse. Much, much worse.”) Once I was cleared to go, he picked me up and carried me back to my dorm, and up three flights to my room.
That was Mike: loyal to the core. He had a particular gift for inclusiveness;. he made you feel like you belonged. He was the type of person who championed causes. Successful himself in life, happily married with two lovely daughters who did him proud, he cast his net far and wide, connecting people, sharing knowledge, and supporting other people’s dreams. If you needed a job, Mike knew someone in your field you could contact. If you were starting a business, Mike would tell all his friends. If you were running a marathon, Mike would cheer you on. And if you started up a little blog, never mind it was far, far from his ordinary interest and area of expertise, well, count on Mike to subscribe and post the most wonderfully kind and incisive comments.
Today Mike was laid to rest. If there is something to come out of such sorrow, perhaps it is the reminder to re-evaluate the choices we make to ensure that they align with our values. Mike, I think, scored pretty darn high along those lines. The reassurance that it is indeed possible to live a life of integrity is immensely comforting, something Mike was always good at.
Rest in peace, dear friend.