A Promise to Michael……….
My dear nephew Michael………. I still have the voice mail from your mom I received at 4:52 AM that Saturday morning of March 29th. I did not answer the initial call since I was with the pups in the field for their daily run. The call went to voice mail. Notification of new voice mail popped up immediately……. I listened…. “Jeff; this is Kelly — Michael has been in a terrible car accident and is in critical condition.” She mentioned critical condition again and said you were going in for brain surgery. I rushed home and let your Aunt Jane know; then raced to the hospital. I got there just minutes before Dr. Stroink came out to explain to the family your injuries and condition. Heart breaking does not begin to describe it. As the long surgery went on, we found out more about the accident. Unlike you and your friends, a person chose to get behind the wheel after drinking –ran a red light at a high rate of speed – and in doing so changed many lives forever. You fought so hard to stay with us. Watching that; watching your mom, dad and brother go through gut-wrenching discussions with the doctors each day was agonizing. Thousands of close friends of yours, as well as close friends of the family fought with you and prayed each day we would see a miracle – and we would get our Michael back. But it was not meant to be. You left us on Wednesday, April 2nd to go to heaven. Before you left, you gave a final Gift of Hope to so many more. The days you fought gave us time to see you and to tell you how much we loved you. And for me, to make a promise to you I will never break. You see, I have never driven through a stop light at a high rate a speed and hit a car load of kids. Destroying and changing lives forever. But, I have driven plenty of times after a day or night of drinking. I rubbed your arm and looked at the MCStrong t-shirt next to you….. I promised to never have one drink and drive again –or get into a vehicle with someone else who has had even one drink. I had seen what that decision can do to families and loved ones. I am sorry it took this tragedy to fully understand and realize first-hand the consequences of wrong decisions people make way too often. I know some in my immediate family made the same or a very similar promise. My hope is many others; family, friends and or strangers alike have done or will do so as well. And keep that promise even as time disguises the pain of losing you. In death; you helped so many as an organ donor. And you forever have made me a better man………… Love you Michael — Uncle Jeff