My ordinary world was knocked on it's side last week with the unexpected passing of my dad's lifelong best friend Mike. Mike lived an ordinary life as a husband, dad, grandfather, friend, teacher in a small town. And he lived that life so beautifully, so extraordinarily.
Mike and my dad in high school
Mike was quite simply one of the very best people I have ever known. Truly and deeply kind, caring, generous, smart, funny (silly!), wise, happy, principled, passionate. Mike loved his family, his friends, his community and life itself. He was always there for my family, always ready with a smile and a hug.
Mike with my cousins Sandi and Debbie
The photo above of Mike with my cousins conveys a little bit of what it was like to be with Mike. It was always a pleasure just to be in his presence. His love of life was infectious.
My words feel so inadequate. Mike touched so many people and there have been so many wonderful tributes, including here and here.
Mike with his son Patrick at a Husky football tailgate.
It's been a challenging week. My grief has been so strong, at times I've wanted to throw the covers over my head and hide from the world. And at the same time, my own ordinary life has been tugging at me. I hosted my own beloved family in my happy little home for the first time, a new friend had her first baby on Thursday, I was asked to be one of three featured artists at Sew Uniquely You next month. A brief glimpse at Facebook last night showed friends enjoying dinner with their families, a co-worker's baby taking her first steps, a friend leaving on a teaching trip, another friend watching her daughter play with a baby doll and a shopping cart. All of us living our beautiful ordinary lives. And I know that Mike will always be in my heart, just like he was in life, gently reminding me to live and love my ordinary life in an extraordinary way.