Monday, July 20, 2015

Honoring Mike's Legacy - A Big Hug

Thank you Nugget and all the Top Hats for a special remembrance of Mike
Click on any of the pictures to see them bigger :) 

On Saturday a bunch of Mike's brothers and friends got together to honor him by placing a stone at the Wisconsin Motorcycle Memorial in Sturgeon Bay.

The group left the clubhouse and headed to the cemetery to pay their respects. But before they all left Peggy gave me the most awesome t-shirt that says "I MISS YOU" on the front. On the back it says:

I think about you
I think about you still
You have never been
And you never will
I hold you close
within my heart
And there you will remain
To walk with me
throughout my life
. . . Until we meet again

Still chokes me up to read those words. It isn't just the gift of the t-shirt. It is that she thought of me, then asked Katie what size to get, got it in PURPLE, and had it there for me on such a special day. It takes someone truly awesome to do something like that. Thank you Peggy Gray! You bless me!

If that wasn't enough Peggy had purple bandannas for anyone who didn't already have one. Some of the Lady Top Hats wore purple shirts and other purple accessories. They knew I haven't been around a lot so they came up and gave me a big hug and told me how much Mikey meant to them and how happy they were to be going on this ride. Even though there had been severe thunderstorms just hours before, the turnout was fantastic.

Richie wanted to come along and meet Mike's friends. They were all so sweet to Mikey's little brother. Richie is getting over some of his shyness around them. Like Peggy says, "They don't bite! Unless you want them to! lol" Bear said the nicest prayer for everyone's safety and blessing. Nice to have an ordained minister in the group.

We left the club in a procession and started the over 2 hour trip. Several of us were in cars behind the motorcycles. We stopped a couple of times along the way. I said to Richie, "Do you think you'll ever ride on a motorcycle again?"
May 2013 - I chose this picture so you can see Mike's patch. It was one of the
first ones sewn onto his vest. I am my brothers keeper.
Click on the pic to see it bigger.

"YES . . . I want too!" came his quick reply. He had only gotten to ride with Mike one time. Mike made a point to pick Richie up on the last day of school and give him a ride home. Richie loved that short ride.

We stopped at a gas station about 15 minutes from the cemetery. I thought to myself that it would be cool if Richie could get a short ride (he's only 15 and his arm still hasn't healed so I didn't want him to go very far). I asked around and Jenni said she would give him a ride but we didn't have an extra helmet. I called Big Mike and Kay said she had one he could use once we got to the cemetery. Katie and her dad cleaned up Mikey's grave from the storm that had just blown through.

The brothers pulled Mikey's bike up to his grave. They silently all went up to pay their respects. I couldn't watch. I was last. It melted me down . . . Richie went with me . . .I told him - don't ever leave me . . .he shook his head. I gave Richie one of Mike's patches to keep. I was a puddle . . .and then one by one my other boys came and gave me big hugs. That helped a bunch.

Then I froze up . . . I kinda talked to Richie about getting a ride and he was excited but the next leg of the ride would be an hour. I wasn't really ready for that and he's so shy and his arm . . . I looked around at all the bikes and the ones with the wrap around seats with handles were full with pretty Lady Top Hats :)
Richie getting ready to ride :) 
Gitter said he would be honored to give Magik's brother a ride - what a sweetheart. I was a little concerned about my Richie being so shy and super nervous about his arm. Uncle Don said, "I have a grandpa bike if he wants a ride. I won't even feel him back there." I looked over and saw exactly what I was looking for - still a little nervous but I could see the excitement in Richie's face. Richie knew Derek's dad, Uncle Don, from Mike's parties and he seemed relaxed and anxious to go. I said yes and he got the biggest smile on his face. Yes, Mikey's cousin Derek was there too. He is the cousin who put Mikey to bed until we see him again.

More folks joined the group (including Big Mike and Kay) and it was off to Sturgeon Bay.

Unfortunately, a couple of bikes broke down on the way but brothers look out for brothers and they were prepared with the trailer.

It was a HOT day. It didn't matter to anyone. I didn't hear one complaint. Richard road in with the same big smile. Big M rode Mikey's bike into the Memorial park.

The Door Devils had the stone all ready. We were joined by some folks from Rite 'O' Ways and Outlaws too. Did I mention it was HOT? The group gathered and Radar spoke on behalf of the club.

He had ridden with Mike the 45 minute drive when Mike chose to come home to die. I'm so glad Mike got to spend that time with his brother rather than with a stranger. Shannon hadn't shared information about their time together until Saturday.

I was so touched. They were all there living out Mike's legacy of love. Joye shared how Magik wanted all of his brothers to have a patch like his. He had shared that with me also. One of his dreams that he wasn't able to fulfill but his brothers will for him and Joye will see that it gets on every vest.

Peggy placed a purple ribbon
under the stone.
Then it was time to place the stone. They let Mike's father Mike put it in place. He knelt down and placed it in the ground . . .and he couldn't get back up. And the boys came and gave him big hugs to help him. And they toasted their brother Magik and went over to visit Chopper Jim across the way. Becky came along to honor Mike. I am so touched.

Katie and Richie bonded in a new way that day. I can't put it into words but I think it helped both of them heal a little more. I am grateful for that opportunity.

Richie talked to me on the way home for the first time about losing his brother. I think watching all the other brothers express their love and grief helped him to know it was OK to share his. I will forever be grateful that this group of men and women shared this with us. And as I was saying thanks Nancy said, "You're family now!" Thank you for your kind words Nancy. And happy birthday to you and lil bit today :)

Mikey's girlfriend Amy helping to place the stone.
I know there will be other times for Richie. He is getting over his shyness and Gitter, Shine and others offered to give him another ride whenever his arm feels better. Thanks for being patient with him you guys.
Katie and Amy - and everyone went back to
the clubhouse to celebrate the July birthdays
including Mikey's :)

We had a lot of fun remembering our special son, brother and friend. No one may ever look at this post . . .but years from now a younger little brother will find it.
A little brother who was only 9 years old when his brother passed . . . who is hurting and confused.
A little boy who won't go past his brother's room without the door being closed.
But one day David will be stronger.
One day he will come here because he will want to remember and learn more about his brother Mike . . .
and his big brothers will still be around . . .
and they will tell him how much Magik meant to them . . .
and they will give him a ride . . .
just like they did for Richie.

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

And Mike is up in heaven saying to Cain: Dude
I AM my brothers keeper!
I am one blessed momma - love, love, love

Blessings to you!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Most Loving Thing

A long time ago, a woman who I respected very much said, “In all situations, I ask myself, “What is the most loving thing I can do here.”

I think about that all the time. Between stimulus and response we make a choice.

I also really like this passage:
Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34

Recently, I have been taken back by the violence and unrest on social media. Mike’s friend Paul articulated it very well this week as he too contemplated leaving social media behind.
I have a huge family and there are good things about social media that I enjoy so I will stay. But I don’t have a problem blocking things when necessary.

There is one thing that can bother me. That is when someone gets upset about something that has happened – verbalizes it vehemently and then turns around and does the very same thing to someone else. Hmmm. That one gets me every time. This is where my choice comes. This is where I hear the little voice in my ear saying, “What is the most loving thing you can do in this situation?” I usually seek to understand.

I ask lots of questions. I always have. I enjoy hearing the perspective of others. How will I ever truly understand if someone doesn’t tell me their side? When I ask it is because I seek to understand. Not because I necessarily disagree. Not because I want to be swayed to change how I may feel on the subject. Sometimes I want more information because I haven’t really formed an opinion. There are lots of reasons for my questions. I usually ask people I feel will have some insight that I can go from. Or I wonder if they have thought it completely through . . .

Unfortunately, often times my questions are met with pugnaciousness (sorry, it is still the best word – argumentative, anger . . .). That makes my heart sad. I can’t even ask to better understand without hearing things like, “Oh, I’ll go there . . .” How do you even start a conversation with that? I made a choice. I still wanted to understand – even from this person.

I appreciate hearing the perspective of others when spoken in love and I am thankful there are folks out there who are willing to do that. I’m sure it’s not the most comfortable thing, but I appreciate the genuine effort. How will we ever understand each other if we don’t know where people are coming from? Can we continue to speak – in love? (And please, don’t take my lack of response to mean that I agree – wanting to understand does not automatically mean I agree.)

What I do hope is that I will always have my right to be heard, have my right to voice an opinion, even if it isn’t popular, and have my right to disagree. I think many have fought for their right to be heard so I’m hoping they will understand me wanting to keep mine. We are a great big country and we are never going to agree on everything, but hopefully we will all agree that we each have the right to voice our opinion – spoken in love.

I don’t blog as much anymore. I am mocked for my blog by some. I am hailed by others. I don’t think I deserve either.

This world is getting to be a tougher and tougher place to live and I hope we can all find encouragement along the way. I have been told that my blog encourages others. I am humbled. That is why I continue to put myself out there.

If you are tempted to anger by reading anything I post on social media or if you don’t like my curious nature – feel free to unfriend, unfollow or delete what I share. We can agree to disagree. I will still think of you fondly.

If you meet someone who is not responding in love . . .what will your response be?

I choose love.

When you are tempted to anger think about your response - consider - What is the most loving thing I can do in this situation . . . 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13:13