I’ll never forget the day we lost you. Time stood still that day, and for many days after that. None of us could focus, it was hard to find a smile and confusion was running through our brains as we asked ourselves time after time, “Why?” We prayed, cried, talked, shouted, drove, ran, wrote, read, whatever we could do in order to try and make sense of it all. You were gone, yet we were still here.
For a long, long time, there was a deep sorrow within every member of our family. That sadness is and always will be here, but now we have been able to cope with it how you would have wanted us to -- with love, peace and growth.
I could tell you how sad we’ve been since you left us, and how you left a hole in each of our hearts that no one and nothing could ever fill again, but you already know that, and I know you don’t want us to keep renewing our own pain.
For this reason, I want to thank you for everything you’ve given to our family.
Michael, at just 14 years old, your life was ended far too early. But, your love has given life to each of us every day since then.
Just two years older than I, you were the one I always looked up to. I thought you were the coolest human on the planet, able to build, create, race and grow super cool things. You made your own bike, you were making contraptions with rebar, you could take care of farm tasks with no problem and you had an imagination like none other. I wanted to be just like you, which made losing you so early devastating for me. But, your spirit and energy was contagious even at such a young age, and you taught me things that I take with me every day of my life.
Thank you for showing us the power of creativity. Your mind had an amazing capacity to create scenarios and solve problems that forced us to look beyond the ways we were used to looking.
Thank you for teaching us humor. You sure knew how to make a room erupt in laughter and how to play the sneakiest pranks on other people. Your memory still brings smiles to each of us to this day.
Thank you for being a witness to the value of hard work and determination. You began huge projects that would have intimidated any other 14-year-old, but you completed them with no problem. You worked hard to accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Thank you for showing us the things that truly matter. When you were with us, you always seemed to have a very good sense of what was important and what was not, and you weren’t afraid to let us know when we were doing something “dumb” (I can still hear and see you say that while shaking your head at us).
Thank you for helping us all come together to grieve and bond after you left us. Your death left the biggest sting imaginable, but I know you were working with our loving God in Heaven to help us all make it through. I know it was you when we would suddenly find laughter again and I know it was you when we felt a few moments of peace. Our family will never be the same without you, but I know you’ve been working with God to keep an eye over us and to keep us surrounded by love, even during the hardest times.
Thank you for flooding my heart with joy and gratitude every time I think of you now. Memories of you used to bring me pain, but I know that’s not what you’d want. Now, I love to reminisce about playing cows in Grandma and Grandpa’s basement, playing in the snow, playing with tractors, watching you play baseball, seeing you open a present at Christmas and saying “It’s a box!," and all the other truly unique “Michael stories." You brought us all unforgettable memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
We’d do anything for just one more day with you, and to have you back in our lives would bring an unfathomable amount of joy to our hearts. We’ll love and miss you all the days of our lives until we meet again in Heaven. You left an incredible legacy and deserve to be remembered for your amazing, loving, adventurous spirit. Thank you for bringing the gift of you to our family and for the lessons we’re still learning today. It’s truly an incredible miracle when someone so young can make an impression that is so powerful.
2 Corinthians 4:18 "Because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal."