Thursday was the 5th anniversary of our son Mike's death.It doesn't seem like five years ago. No, nor does it seem like yesterday or ever. When asked how many children we have I still answer 4, 3 daughters and a son who lives in Tampa. I can't always bring myself to clarify that he is deceased.
Mike did it all; from alcohol to cocaine.He could charm the skin off a snake.There were always girls earlier, women later who wanted to pickup the pieces for him. When he was in his cups he could be devilish. When sober little kids, puppy dogs and his many friends would follow him anywhere.
For the last twenty years of his life he was a paraplegic living in the Tampa area. In the community he lived in, he was known and loved by all the merchants and his neighbors. In a Persian restaurant they put up a memorial in the dining room with picture and memorabilia
Mike never met a stranger. Condo owners would let him use their pools for his daily swim. He worked part time in a mom and pop insurance agency. They treated him like a mom and a pop in our absence.
The last twenty years,wheelchair bound, were spent in and out of the emergency rooms (mend this)and long extended stays (replace that) in University Hospital. Despite damaged spine and seriously damage to liver, main artery, lungs, arm, shoulder Mike insisted in living independently and "to the hilt". Having survived the operations all the docs agreed Mike was a short timer.
In between hospital stays and morphine drips he would make attempts at getting clean. I can't recall how many treatment centers he went to. Over the years whenever I(we) would go down to help him recoup after the hospital stays we would go to AA meetings together. His pain never took an off day and the need for some relief.
Toward the end (last few years) we became really close. He and I pushed down any and all the walls(almost all alcohol and drug related) that had distorted our relationship. We embraced and loved each other as purely father and son.
The last time I particularly remember. Having spent over a month in the hospital, I help him home. Still too weak I stayed the week to relieve the home nurse from having to help into the tub and for his daily toilet ritual. On one of the days with him in my arms like a baby (fragile and underweight), his head on my shoulder he whispered, "dad I love you".
Yah.... I miss him but I am sustained by the gift of his breath of love in my ear.
Mike was 25 y/o when shot several times/paralyzed
The drunk jealous shooter was also 25 y/o. He was imprisoned 8 yrs.
Died after another imprisonment and
several attempts at sobriety.
All over a girl who later dumped both of them.
The Delicate Equilibrium
4 days ago