Remembering Mike

mike-102816I started this post by talking about moving to Florida. I wrote about how Mike was my very first friend in Florida (aside from Joe, of course!), how he would come to keep me company when Joe worked, that he introduced us to all of his friends, how he taught me how to drive a stick shift and he is the reason why the three of us found our first house to rent.

Truth is, it’s hard to write about him. He would be 32 today – my age now. He would be an amazing uncle and Jacob would ask to see him constantly. He would be over for dinner regularly and filling up our weekends with impromptu beach trips (oh, how rough that would be!). We would have petty arguments over whether or not he drove on the grass and we would later laugh about the silly things that we fought about. Mike would be one of my biggest supporters in this journey and would be by our side every step of the way.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how we all remember things differently. Something that I recall, clear as day, would be a reminder to someone else that the event even occurred. Or someone may have a distinct memory of me and I don’t recall that event and yet I love to hear the memory. We all have different perspectives and the fun is in sharing those perspectives and memories. That is something that I have been struggling with…ensuring that I share everything that I possibly can with those that I love. Big or small, it’s so important to share the memories that we have with each other. Passing on the traditions, reminiscing about the experiences and sharing your recollection allows each and every one of us to live on. Through those memories, each of us is allowed to live again even if we have passed.

One very late night when I first moved to Florida, Joe & I were playing cards at the kitchen table with Mike. He and I were having a very deep conversation about religion and God. I was passionately expressing my faith and he was trying to understand how and why there was purpose that was driven by God.

“Red, I don’t understand how something small and insignificant that I do has a bigger purpose. How is that driven by God’s will?”

“That’s just the point. Yes, you have free will – as we all do. But even the small things that you do impact those around you. They matter because whether you see the outcome or not, you are touching lives.”

He looked at me, put down the cards, stood up from the table and looked me in the eye.

“That’s it. That’s what I needed to hear. Thank you, Red.” And he went to bed.

I’ll never forget that night. It was just the three of us. And yet the intensity and simplicity of the night and the conversation is not lost on me. It’s a memory that deserves to be shared broadly…and an opportunity for Mike to continue living on through each of us.

In memory of Michael. We love you, always.

10.28.84 – 6.11.05

Advertisements

Memory Lane

This past week, I was asked by two separate people if I could send pictures for a scrapbook / slideshow that they are putting together. Since I wasn’t feeling too awesome yesterday, I plopped myself on the couch with my external hard drive and started skimming through old pictures. Oh my, talk about a trip down memory lane! I had a surprisingly fun time reminiscing on the life that I have experienced in my decades here – bad haircuts, weird clothing choices and embarrassing faces had me laughing out loud. What started as a quick scan turned into hours of looking through pictures and sharing them with people. A nap or two in between made the day a bit more bearable. This was a helpful distraction from the way my body felt yesterday.

Scanning through all of these pictures had me thinking about the memories that I have of people that I have shared my life with – family, friends, and acquaintances. I have dozens of pictures that I may or may not have shared with the people that are in them. They are hidden away on this hard drive that I access periodically to find a certain picture or backup more pictures. And what about all of the pictures that I have stored in a box somewhere, before digital pictures were around? I can just imagine the tote I have tucked away in New York, filled with childhood memories.

When writing blog posts, I often search through old pictures or reach out to a friend or family member to see if they have the picture that I know exists somewhere. A trip down memory lane is always nice. It often brings me happy tears and a big smile, especially when it is a picture that I haven’t seen before!

I’m wondering, how do you all share pictures amongst family and friends so that everyone can enjoy that moment in time (aside from Facebook)? Is there an easy and secure way to share digital and print pictures with a large group of people?

I will continue to share pictures as I come across them. If you happen to dig out the old albums or dust off the hard drive and find pictures that you’d like to share, please send them my way! I’d love to see them!