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I call out to you in the night
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My nephew was 42 years old when he skied into a crevasse on Mt. Rainier. The loss was devastating. My brother in law called when I was in the airport and I thought he was kidding – a very bad joke, but he was hysterical. He lived on a boat and I feared he would fall or throw himself in the water. His only child and no wife or close friends nearby as his son had moved him to Seattle from Albuquerque when he became disabled. It turned out his introversion was a blessing and our entire family loved Mike so he always has an open invitation to any of our homes and my daughter (Mikes best friend) visits him with the kids. It was such a loss. He was actually incredible and not just what you say when someone dies. I had a “friend”, not a good one, but he was part of a community when he died, so of course we had his funeral. Everyone sat around and talked about how great he was and I just couldn’t stand it. He was an asshole and I started bringing up incidents when he was so awful and everyone agreed and it turned into a laughing, honest funeral. No one is all good or all bad, but it is healing to be honest. Mike was a single man, having not been able to fit his extreme sports love into the two long term relationships that wanted a stable family. He had great friends. He lived in Thailand a while and volunteered for the Tsunami victims there. He would go out of his way to visit with every single one of his 25 relatives in Seattle. He brought my mom flowers regularly. He was godfather to my daughter’s children. He dated my son-in-law’s sister. He went fishing with his uncle/my brother and his wife and with his half brother. He made a point to be with his other half-brother often, even when he was drinking and so hard to be with. He went to Cambodia to rescue him when he had a breakdown and needed a visa renewal and money to return. He stayed with me when he had fractures and surgeries. For my 60th birthday, he and my daughter filled my house with balloons that had cards attached – having my family write wonderful things about me – 60 of them. It was incredible. He volunteered at my hospital when he wanted to get into US school. We talked medicine. He loved my gory stories. He played practical jokes. He had a garden in an old dingy tied to his houseboat. I loved him more like a son, having helped his father raise him as a small child, when my sister could not. The memorial was incredible. All were there. I grieved and grieved. But in the end, realized that it is a gift to love someone so much to have that much pain over the loss. My daughter still says, “Hi Mike” when the wind blows open the door.

I brought your mom for your birth
She was so pregnant
Utah sleeping in the car
Arches in our dreams

She dreamed of New Mexico
For your coming birth
Your dad was soon to follow
But I was there with you

When my daughter was birthing
You were there watching
Crying out “Its hurting her”
You, a part of me

Holidays when growing up
Your dad was Jewish
But we spent them together
Family always

Seattle had more water
You loved extreme sports
Climbing Mount Rainier, a goal
You climbed and you skied

You and friends with the sharks
Fishing was a joy
Always you got us involved
You were a beacon

My sixty second birthday hike
Was to Mount Rainier
You were my inspiration
My senior card day

2 weeks later, you hiked up
And tried to ski down
This was an ultimate goal
You did not finish

Instead you slid into ice
Two hundred and fifty feet
Your friends tried to rescue you
Snow anchors and fear

Two days later they came down
Without you it seems
But where you really so gone?
I feel you here still

Your blood is in my garden
A bond that we shared
Your clothes on your fathers back
A broken man still

I call out to you
I wake up sobbing at night
Two years to abate my grief
But now I know truth

I was gifted to love you-
So much to cause pain
I will always hear your sigh
On your night of joy

When I am on Mount Rainier
I turn my sight down
And feel what you have felt
When last you skied down

You have left a legacy
To all you have touched
Pushing ourselves to nature
We say “Be like Mike”

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