Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One Year.

I can't believe it's been a year. I really can't get my mind around that.

I could go on forever about how busy we’ve been the past few weeks but I think my absence from the blog speaks for itself. And that’s not what I want to be posting about anyway. As a lot of you already know (as evidenced by the thoughtful emails and phone calls I’ve been getting), today is the one year anniversary of Mike’s death.

I thought it would be like any other day we’ve had this past year. Some good, some bad. I’ve had plenty of distractions lately to keep me from dwelling on it too much. Appropriately, we had a house full of people this morning including my parents and several guests from the land of Mike’s birth. I think Mike would have liked that. (Especially since they weren’t staying in HIS house. :) )My parents are dropping them off at the airport in D.C. today and though they’re physically and mentally exhausted from the last three weeks, I’m glad they aren’t spending the day alone. Mom’s taking today especially hard.

I’d already had my cry with Mom today, so I thought that was that. But although I don’t usually believe in this sort of thing, I really felt like Mike was with me this morning as I got ready for work. I turned on the radio in the bathroom and almost immediately The Fray’s “How To Save a Life”, a song that I associate with Mike, came on. It was one of the few songs he had on his iTunes and, judging by how many times he’d played it, it was a favorite. We played it at his service in Durham and it sends me over the edge every time I hear it. I stopped what I was doing and just listened to the song and let the tears come. Afterward, I showered and when I came out, “Feel Good, Inc.” by Gorillaz, another of Mike’s favorites, was on. It was too much of a coincidence. I just know Mike was telling me something. Reminding me he was still looking out for me.

Tonight, Christian and I, along with some other friends of mine that knew Mike, will be going to a local brewery to have a few drinks in Mike’s memory. Mike wasn’t a big drinker so I don’t know how appropriate that is but I know I could sure use a few.

A year ago today, it was Sunday and Mike was sitting down at his drawing board, working on the layout for what would be his final page for his WHAT IF...? book. I was up on the roof of my gazebo, putting on shingles. It was a lovely day and I was finishing a project that I’d been dreading for a while. Life was good. A cool breeze blew in and I remember closing my eyes and thinking, “This has been one of the best weekends EVER.”

Your life can change completely, or even end, in a single moment. You probably won’t see it coming. I keep thinking about all the phone calls and visits I put off because I didn’t want to keep Mike from his work. I know life kept getting in the way and he wasn’t able to be as fast as he wanted to be and that it frustrated him greatly. I didn’t want to contribute to that. So I always tried to pick just the right time to call. It was a real juggling act. I wish I could do it all over again. I’d call him every day, deadlines be damned. I’d visit every weekend. I’d say all the things I never got to tell him.

Damn, I miss my brother.

18 comments:

rhombus said...

Matt,

Just wanted to let you and your family know that we're thinking of you guys today.

Mike may not have been much of a drinker, but he never deterred others from partaking to have a good beverage, so let's toast to Mike. I'll be joining you long-distance like... :)

-Rich

Christian D. Leaf said...

Angie and I were just talking about "Has it really been a year?" Still hard to believe.

I don't think Mike would mind us raising a few in his honor either. We're not there to tie one on, but to celebrate to his memory. I'm sure he'd appreciate a smile and laugh over moping about.

Also feel free to call and bug anytime you need to, brother.

Jamar said...

Matt -

thinking about you and suze and the family.

I'm sure you're all bogged down with phone calls and the like, but feel free to reach out if the mood strikes.

I miss Mike every day.

JN

Cully Hamner said...

Couldn't let the day go by without... you know.

Anyway, I'm thinking of you, dude.

Adam Hutch said...

Matt,
Thinking of you guys. I wish I had gotten a chance to meet him.

Heywood Jablomie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heywood Jablomie said...

Matt,

I saw what the date was earlier(i tend to live in the dark on the dates and realized it's the 12th), and wanted to let you know i was thinking of you and yours.

I can't believe it's been a year already either...

Casey Jones said...

When's that "it gets easier with time" stuff gonna kick in? Still waiting.

I just tried to keep myself pretty distracted all day. I hope you and and Suzanne made it through okay. Was gonna email you guys, but didn't wanna bug you. Have some fun tonight!

Paul Rogers said...

Hiya Matt & Suzanne. I'm here with a glass of Keystone Light ('You got any real beer?', Mike would say and then give that really good belly laugh that he always had when he wisecracked on you!) and I,m remembering all the good times shared with a good friend that I will always Love. We talked endlessly about comics in the late 1980,s & beyond, went to our first big convention (Heroes Con) in 1985, celebrated conventions, comics & more as the years went by. I remember when he found his sea legs in comics, he got the assignment for 'Justice League Quarterly', it wasn't long before he got the 'Flash' and he was off and running. He never looked back and we are all blessed with his work from then on. I know that 'Tellos' was always his favorite, but, as I told him, my favorite issue that he ever did (with Mark Waid's scripts) was 'Flash #0', one particular page has always stood out for me, Page 11, 'Sorry Wally!' 'It Was A Fluke-- A Billion-To-One Chance', then the act of creation as lightning crashes through the window, 'Yeah.', Right.'. That always reminds me of Mike, a Billion-To-One person that you, if you are lucky, meet & befriend in your life. I will always love and remember my good friend, Mike! This Keystone Light is for you! Your buddy, Paul.

kurtz said...

Thought about Mike all day. We all went to dinner tonight and my brother asked if I had a tough day because I looked pretty worn out.

My brother and I got really scared about lost time after Mike died. I think we've spent more time together this year than we have all of our lives.

We love you guys. We lifted our drinks up to big and little brothers at dinner and hugged and thought of you guys.

We miss you.

Squeeze said...

Um....guys....you're emails and your calls AREN'T bothering us. PLEASE email, PLEASE call.

I can't thank you all enough for helping us through this last year. It's been the emails and the calls that has made it just a little easier. Thanks to you guys that have kept us moving when we felt like dropping to the ground and never getting up...thanks to those who've been there for us in person or on the blog.

We miss Mike terribly. I think the shock may not be as intense but the hole in our hearts seem to get bigger. What I'd give to hear his huge laugh one more time.

emilio said...

no words can describe accurately.

Parker said...

I was hit unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago in San Diego when they did the Creators We Lost section of the Eisners. Somehow I completely blocked out that that part was coming and then seeing Mike's picture on the enormous screen was wrenching.

Thinking of you all today, appreciating that you're still here.
JP

Brian said...

I wish you peace.

Suzanne said...

Losing your sibling can only be agonizing.

My sister and I talk almost daily, even though we are so very different. Plus, I rely on her for her no-slack attitude. I would be devastated to lose that breath of sanity in my life. It is losing the key to all of our childhood memories.

I'll raise 12 ounces in his honor.

Scott said...

Matt, I want to get ahold of you but I lost your phone number. Funny story behind that too.

Do you still have mine? Give me a call.

Thomas said...

It's never too late to believe in what can't be seen. My Grandmother used to say that she believed in coincidences. That they tend to coincide with the truth.

Tim Perkins said...

Hi Matt,

It's not much, I know, but all the guys here, including me, have been thinking about you and your family, these last few days especially.

I was looking at some of Mike's work again this last week or two and although it's so sad to know there is no more, the work he has left us is so full of optimism and fun!!!

He is still making us all smile!

Be well.

Best Wishes,
Tim...
;))