In Memory Of Michael

From a very young age, Michael was bright, sensitive, independent, with a dry sense of humor. At five years old, he could carry on a full conversation with an adult, and I used to think, where in the world is this coming from? In elementary school, he was always falling off his chair because he liked to sit with one leg folded under the other. His teacher asked him if he would be more comfortable on the floor and for the entire year, he did his schoolwork on the floor with one leg folded under the other. He continued to work in this manner even as an adult.

Michael was a brilliant artist and he loved art. Our favorite place to go was the Gallery of Modern Art in Washington DC. We would walk all the way to the back of the building where there was a beautiful garden and fountain. The light would shine through from the roof, and we would just sit there and be in the moment. Michael could draw anything from memory and would draw pictures on our driveway with chalk. When I would ask to look at them, he would say, "these are just for me," and then he would erase them.

Michael suffered from Chron's disease and unfortunately was prescribed into addiction. As a coping mechanism, he loved to build model airplanes. He was very good at it, and he won many awards. We enjoyed going to the airshows every year and my favorite memory was from the airshow we went to at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas a year before he passed. As soon as we got there, Michael said he would be right back. He was gone for a while, and when he returned, he shared all the pictures he took. He looked at me and said "Dad, this is the best day of my life."

Michael wanted to be an architect. He was enrolled at the University of Buffalo, but unfortunately never got to finish. Michael had a love for history, especially World War II battles. He could tell you the names of all the Generals for every battle. Michael had a passion for the New York Yankees. He could tell you the stats for every player. On Sundays, we would spend the day together at Barnes & Noble. While I was looking at music, Michael would be picking out the latest Marvel comic book. I still have and cherish all of his comic books to this day.

If I had one more day with Michael, I would hug him and never let him go. I would give anything for one more hug, one more kiss, and one more "hi Pops." On August 9th, Michael would have turned 31 years old.

Michael's legacy lives on through the Save the Michaels of the World Foundation. Save the Michaels supports families during their loved one's journey through addiction and into recovery.

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