Fight Like Mike FRIDAY
Friday April 1 , 2022
Dear Fight Like Mike Army.
Thank you for loving us through another 365 days of missing Mike.
Every single one of those days I have missed him .
Losing him and living with out him ,
has by far been the hardest thing I have ever done.
But each day
these past years and the years before he died,
We have been carried through each day
By your love
And this week I am allowing the love,
To be greater than the pain of death.
For this week at least.
I have written hundreds
of tear jerking , super sad,
full of self pity,
letters to Mike , God, and you.
About grief and all the emotions
I have been working through with Ginny
for the past two years.
I am not saint, I am human.
I have anger, regret , and self pity.
But at the core of each letter,
as I have said before, and my dad reminded me this week.
It is simple.
We just simply ....
flat out miss him.
And I thank God I always will.
But as I had a letter to you ready to send this week,
I received an email from someone in Augusta.
Asking me to write something about Dr. Kota.
Wednesday was Doctors Day.
And so I spent the next 24 hours reflecting
On the journey between him and Mike.
He believed in Mike ,
When no one else did.
And each of you seems to believe in me that way.
If you have been through pain and loss,
I am sure you would agree that believing in yourself
“ When faith is a whisper,
And the pain is a shout”
In order to write about him,
I was forced to think
of gratitude verse the pain of loss.
I had been encouraged by love ones to listen to a podcast
Where Kate Bowler interview Mitch Albom.
He is the author of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Stranger in the Life Boat.
At the end he says,
“If you focus on being grateful for being given something, you don’t have time to get angry over having lost it.
It’s the truth. And sometimes truths are simple like that”
And it helped.
This past week , You have given me even more to be grateful for.
My mom and Becky tied blue and orange Fight Like Mike balloons on the mailboxes of our street.
As I drove home from taking the kids to school
And drove past each one.
My eyes filled with tears.
But my heart was filled with an
enormous amount of gratitude.
As I thought of you all
Our Fight Like Mike Army.
It wasn’t just Mike fighting
It was each of you.
As I thought of each thing you all have done
Suddenly the pain
Eased even more.
Cards. Texts. Flowers.
An unexpected ring of the door bell after I had tucked myself back under the covers after getting the kids to school.
Fresh bread. Homemade Chex mix.
Food. Uber eats gift cards. Target runs.
Donuts delivered. T-shirts. Wine mailed.
Neighbors who line your driveway with lanterns.
FLM signs and bows made.
Balloons. Cookie cakes. Ginger cookies.
Flowers. Flowers. Flowers.
Automatic draft of bills set up.
Financing taking care of.
Cardinals in every way shape and form
Cars cleaned and detailed. Gutters cleaned.
Air filters changed. Christmas lights strung.
Driveways blown off. Saint Michael candles.
Kids taken for spend the night parties. To the movies.
Or shuttled them to birthday parties or sporting events.
Emails. Websites updated.
Texts just Simply remembering Mike
with an orange heart 🧡 emoji.
And on and on and on.
Loved. Loved. Loved.
It wasn’t just this week , it’s some act of love every day.
That has kept me
from drowning in the trenches
of my own tears.
you have kept me swimming through them .
You have allowed gratitude
To keep me afloat.
So today , on this FightLike Mike Friday..
Two Simple Truths:
I miss Mike with every cell of my being , every second, of every day.
But gratitude ,gratitude has not given me time to be angry.
I am thankful to have been given the gift of being asked to write about Mike and Dr. Kota.
It changes my perspective.
It was just what I needed.
Below is the poem I wrote about them.
Maybe my hope for the next 365 days of missing Mike is…
I pray that I could be a vessel for someone else ,
The way he was for us.
With soul deep gratitude,
One more simple thing.
We have some new Share Love Gear.
There is no person that shares his love more than his clone, Celia.
Thanks to Rob, she now has her own font.
And thanks to Rob, we made some new shirts with her love.
In her simple handwriting.
She is super proud .
I know her daddy is proud too.
We have mauve and blue.
There are also new colors in the original Share Love Shirt.
Share Love, That’s All.
“My main Man”
There are people
who walk in your life,
during the most painful days.
They carry you through .
They change you.
Mike once said to me,
“ If having cancer was the only way to have known Dr. Kota,
I would say yes to cancer every time. “
The suffering he went through was immeasurable .
What or who ,could be worth signing up for that.
Yet I think Cancer is the best
and worst thing that can happen to someone.
The suffering is immense .
The love is greater.
Mike was cured by the tireless care,
from the most humble doctor ,
who NEVER gave up.
Who embodied hope,
when the disease was hopeless.
Mike was cured by the doctor
who made you feel like you
were his favorite patient.
Until you walked out the room,
and ran into the next patient in the hall,
realizing they were his favorite too :)
Mike was cured by a very brilliant doctor.
Yet he cared more about the importance
of the present moment.
He is a doctor that practices deep listening,
as much as he practices medicine.
And in return makes just that single moment
easier for his patients.
We were at ease in his presence.
Peace and ease are rare,
on a journey this grueling.
The present moment is all we really have.
This truth is blinding.
When you receive a diagnosis that effects 1 in 10 million.
A diagnosis they tell you not to google.
A monstrous diagnosis with 8 heads.
Days are numbered in the cancer world.
Hour glasses are turned over for the final time.
Each day matters.
And the presence of doctors.
The individual care.
It matters .
More than anything.
Better known by Mike as “My main man “.
Is that doctor.
With all of this and more.
He makes each moment better.
He makes what feels like a hopeless fight
worth fighting for .
Mike’s monstrous cancer wasn’t cured,
here on earth.
Although they fought with all they had for him,
as they defeated one ugly head at a time,
another one reared from an unexpected hiding place.
They continued to fight with hope,
regardless of the relentless , unforgiving ,
way cancer fights back.
Mike WAS cured.
He was cured by the love from an empathetic doctor,
whose time spent answering questions
NEVER ran out.
Who went the extra step, extra mile.
To get oxygen tanks, medications,
As soon as possible
To minimize the days,
where we sat in “scanxiety”.
A term, they would have liked to coin together.
He went the extra step.
To minimize any amount of pain and suffering.
That was within his power.
Cured by love.
I am not sure there is much more
anyone could wish for.
Mike believed Dr. Kota,
will cure cancer one day.
But I believe he cures,
each human’s heart,
right in the middle of the fight.
Where it really counts.
In the present moment.
He brings peace.
So much hope.
In the waiting rooms,
he brings so much hope just by
his never anxious ,
and ever calm presence.
All the while,
quietly holding your
anxious minds and hearts ,
within his own.
He sits with you
In the deepest trenches
Of this worst internal war
You might fight
He did that.
Every single time.
And this truth,
gave Mike 3 extra years,
for our kids to make memories.
3 extra years.
He would have never been gifted.
He made the hopeless fight worth fighting.
And the fight.
Oh the fight, it is not one for the faint of heart.
Dr. Kota fought for Mike,
Regardless of his odds, how it might turn out.
regardless of all other doubtful opinions
Our lives were changed by him.
So after all, I must agree with Mike.
Truth be told, everyone needs a “main man”.
And if the only way to meet these angels on Earth ,
To meet Dr. Kota,
is through tragedy and heartbreak.
Then sign me up too.
“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well ,but the certainty that something is worth doing regardless of how it turns out.”