Posted by: Jack Savage | January 28, 2012

What I Learned from Michael

Watching someone else battle a nemesis like ocular melanoma is not only about death, but can be a life-changing experience. I thought I would share the comments I offered at my brother-in-law’s funeral:

When Cheryl and I invited Michael to move into our home in Middleton earlier this year, we did so knowing that it would involve some energy on our part to take care of him. And we were pleased when he accepted our invitation. We wanted to be able to do something for him.

 We learned quickly that such caretaking is difficult. Emotionally and physically. Those of you who have been involved in caretaking a loved one understand this, I’m sure. Michael understood—he was a private man, an independent man, and it was hard for him to accept the help he needed. Still, we were pleased to be able to help him in any way we could. I enjoyed coming to know him better– You help another man change his underwear a few times and you can’t help but develop a bit of a bond.

And he was immensely grateful. He thanked us constantly, for every little kindness. He never complained—not once. Even though his body was a battleground, Michael versus The Melanoma, he exhibited extraordinary good humor, dignity, and just plain humanity until the end. I have to say that I was in awe of a man who could put up with so much with such grace.

 Michael also had a lot of help from his kids—Brad, Lauren, Lyndsey, Patrick, and Stephen. Watching their Dad over the last few weeks had to be almost impossibly hard—and yet, they were always there, doing what needed to be done. I found their courage, their obvious love for their father, and their constant support of one another immensely inspiring. I was proud of them, I know Michael was proud of them—their actions were a testament to the job done by their father and mother, Ron and other adults in their lives. They should be proud of themselves.

 But it wasn’t until after Michael died that I realized what really happened during that time. I went into it thinking that WE were helping HIM. But in fact it was Michael, who showed us the awesome power of humanity. It was he who gave us a gift, showing us how to be. Thank you, Michael, we will cherish that gift forever.



  1. i hope i can do this one day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: