|Dearest Bruce and Shirley,
Thank you for the card. I wish you both could have been here. It was a remarkable experience. I thought I would try and capture some of what happened. Not only for those that could not be here but for those that were here and may want to remember. There was so much. I can only record moments. Ollie and Joshua will be returning to the East Coast in a day or so. The memories are starting to muddle together. What follows is as close as I can remember. It is not all that happened, it may not be quite as it happened but this is the best I could remember.
I got to work Friday morning, the 5th. I had not sat down when my phone rang. It was Candi, crying. "Call Terry. Its about Michael." I suspected and Terry confirmed. Michael had a massive heart attack on the 1st or 2nd. There was no pain. It was sudden. He lived alone so his body was not found until the evening of Thursday, the 4th. Terry found out late that evening.
I had taken the bus in so I had a friend drive me to the ferry so I could get my car on the island. I met Terry and Georgia about 9:30 at Michael's apartment on lower Queen Anne. The property manager didn't have the right key and a locksmith had to break in. The apartment was as Michael always had it. Very neat. Very organized. His cigarettes on the bed. The only thing missing was Michael. We searched for a will. There was none. He had saved all his other papers. Coast Guard papers. Insurance papers. Papers on a storage room he no longer had. But no will.
Terry had told Roger and we swung by his place in Kirkland. Tearful hugs of loss. Roger went to tell Madelane while Terry and I went to tell Mom. I held my Mom for about 10 minutes to keep her from flying apart. Roger coming in crying "Mama, Mama". All of us holding on to each other or just holding on.
The day spent figuring what to do. Telling others.
Starting to make arrangements. Michael wanted to be
cremated and his ashes spread at sea. His best friend,
Ted Pike, lived in Port Townsend. He had a wooden
sailboat that we wanted to take Michael's ashes out on.
Called Ted but his wife Kathy said Ted had already found
out from Diane and had gone for a sail to have a heart to
heart talk with Michael. She said to call Ted back but
was pleased we wanted to use their boat. Trying to find
phone numbers to call. Calling for cremation
arrangements. Called Ollie to tell her. The change in her
voice as she realized what I was telling her. An aside to
Joshua "Something bad has happened to
The next morning back at Mom's to meet Terry and the Funeral Director. The finality of Mom signing the papers to cremate my little brother. I signed as witness. News that Joshua and Ollie would be in tomorrow. Back to Michael's, with Terry, to pick up some stuff and to talk to the property manager. Found photo albums with pictures from his infant pictures up through the early 70's. I am going to scan these pictures into my computer so we will all be able to have them. As we were going through Michael's stuff Terry got a funny look on his face. He remembered he had borrowed a .22 rifle from me. It was a rifle my dad had given me when I was 13. He had borrowed in 1971. Did I want it back? Drove down to the airport to pick up Mark coming in from San Jose. Terry keeping in touch with everyone with his cell phone. Back to Mom's. People buying food. Everyone being together. Stopped by Diane's on the way home. Mike and Diane no longer lived together but were still close. Diane had been at her daughter Sheila's. Michael had spent a lot of time with Sheila and her husband Jeff and Sheila was taking this hard. A long talk with Diane about Michael. About life. About death.