Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dance On, Brother

We received very sad news on Friday: one of our oldest and dearest friends passed away
on Thursday night.  A life taken too soon, no goodbyes, no final moments.  It just was.  And 
we were all left with our hearts on our sleeves wondering what?  Are you serious?  
He's gone?
It is very difficult to process such a tragedy.  Shawn and I felt denial at first, the words, "I
just can't believe it" passing between us over and over.  The phone calls started, words
of condolences, long time friends crying tears of sadness and all I could do was shake my
head in disbelief.  I started pouring through old photo albums, reliving the countless nights
and days we spent together, laughing at old stories and inside jokes only our group of
friends could understand.  And the more I looked, the more real it became.  He is gone.
We met Mike when we moved to New Orleans so many years ago: a charismatic rebel with
a true zest for life.  He had a laugh that was contagious, a mischievous grin, and a free spirit.
It was a time in our lives when no one had cell phones, there was no Facebook or
Instagram, most people only used their computers to illegally download music.  We
LIVED,  we lived so big and loud and free, a group of hippies with no responsibilities and
the Big Easy at our disposal.  We went to rock shows and drank Pabst Blue Ribbon, danced
at the Shim Sham and jumped up on stage at Rock'n'Bowl.  We had late night singalongs
with our mish mash of instruments on the back porch, Sunday afternoon BBQs and
hurricane parties.  And in all those memories, wrapped up in all those stories, was Mike.
Years later, we all started getting married and having babies and building careers, some of
us moving to different places while others stayed.  But, despite the distance and different
life stages, we remained in each other's lives.  Phone calls to check in, weekend trips back
to the city, reunions at Jazz Fest where we picked up right up where we left off.  Our band
of friends that was more like family, a group of individuals that felt empowered when we
were all together.  It is a special blessing in life to know such special souls, to find love
and comfort in a group of people who accept you and love you for who you are, who
find beauty in your flaws and love you in spite of them.  
And it was in remembering all those times that I came to realize that Mike is and never will
be gone.  He will forever live on in all of us, in the memories that we all hold so dear.  He
will forever be the brother who, instead of warning me not to jump a fence or climb on top
of the roof, offered me a helping hand and a shoulder to stand on and said, "Let's make this
shit happen!".  He lived life his own way, truly dancing to the beat of his own heavy
metal drum.  And we are all the better for having danced with him. 
Listening to this today, Mikey.  You are a very loved man.


Deanna Fike said...

oh liv, my heart goes out to you and your family. and mike's too. we know how hard it is over here to lose someone dear very unexpectedly. i will be thinking about you.

these pictures prove that you have some amazing memories to help keep mike alive!

Caitlin A. said...

So sorry to hear about your friend, what a horrible loss. My thoughts are with you guys and his family. <3

Vanessa said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Liv. You wrote such a moving tribute, I feel like I know Mike now, too. Never forget those good times.

Olivia said...

Thank you, friend. He was a blessing to each and every person who knew him.

Olivia said...

Thank you so much. He will be so missed.

Olivia said...

We definitely feel blessed to have shared so many amazing times with this guy! He's a rock star for sure.