Two years... so many days, so many minutes since Michael died. How did this time pass - so very quickly and yet....?
Despite the time...or even in the midst of this time...Michael is still very much a part of me. While he is not here physically in the same way, I feel his presence, hear his voice and see the ongoing spirit that infuses my life.
From a practical viewpoint, I still have so much of his stuff throughout the house - from motorcycles to cameras, from tools to various other items - so many hobbies and interests that he was always trying out and exploring, wanting to learn everything about it so that he could do it right
Doing things “right” (aka as the “Michael way”) was very much a part of how he approached life. Sometimes, it could be frustrating as he didn’t often appreciate the “Jennifer way” which is a bit looser. I hear his voice still when I do things, particularly if it was something that he tried to teach me. Mostly, it was helpful (not that I always admitted that to him). I know how to use a power saw, understand a bit more about car maintenance as well as some home maintenance
This sense of looking at things in a particular way found its creative expression, especially in his photography. He saw beauty in things that most of us would miss. His eye would be drawn into the intricacies of a flower, a piece of wood, or an insect. He would look below the surface to find the wonder of God’s creation in ways particular to his vision
This kind of particular vision found its expression in his views of justice amidst the chaos of the world. While much of his health would consume many of his days, Michael saw his experience as a calling to work for justice for others who struggled in their own lives. He did not let his health limit his concern or his voice for all who were in need.
In fact, his voice seemed to increase in intensity as his health got worse. He desired the world to be restored to what God intended for all people. While he was unable to formally serve as a pastor in a church, Michael lived his faith as he spoke out against injustice and with concern with those whose voices weren’t heard. This intensity pissed many people off - even among some who agreed with him - numerous people “unfriended” him on social media (some temporarily, even family). His sense of rightness wasn’t subtle or always tactful, but you did know where he stood
Part of what amazed and comforted me after his death was the number of people that were impacted by his presence in their life. There were even some friends that he hadn’t even spent much if any time in person that spoke of his influence in their lives
Michael supported and challenged me, pushing me to look beyond my own worldview and seeing life in different ways. He loved me when I wasn’t particularly lovable some days. He taught me and encouraged me to try new things. And he made me laugh when I got too serious.
While Michael could be pretty intense, there ways also a very silly side to him, when a kind of juvenile humor would surface. His smile was huge and could elicit a smile in return. Even in childhood pictures, you can see that mischievous twinkle in his eye, making you wonder what he was thinking. There was a joy to him that liked to play. And while one of my favorite pictures of him was one that I had to take numerous times to get it just right - he was still able to make it seem spontaneous
While I wish that Michael had never died. Yet, only if it would be that he was healed fully. I wouldn’t want him to have to suffer again, especially as he did in the year before he died. I knew when we got married that our time would be limited. And as “Mr worse-case-scenario”, he continually “prepared” me for the inevitable.
As much as I grieve his death, I am also very thankful for the blessing of having him in my life, 10 years & 10 days as husband and wife.
My life moves on in a different way, still discovering what God had in mind for me. Michael’s presence in my life continues, just in a different way - with his voice echoing in my thoughts, his vision shaping how I see the world around me, and his life as a reminder that life is precious and each breath counts!