On May 9th, I said good bye to the love of my life. I was by his side when Mike died.
In August of 1980, Mike was a student worker at the Land Management Information Center of the State Planning Agency. I had worked in the same office as a student worker the previous summer, and accepted a full-time position to begin in August. When friends told me right before starting my first real job “maybe you’ll meet someone,” I replied that I had worked there the summer before and no one of interest worked there. But in my first staff meeting, there was a guy sitting across the table who had beautiful eyes and the nicest smile. Two weeks after we met, we started dating. Ten weeks after we met, we were engaged. Ten months after we met, we were married. When you know you’ve met the love of your life, why wait?
I was lucky enough to know Mike almost 40 years and be married to him just shy of 39. Together we had 3 wonderful daughters and watched them become caring, confident, beautiful women. Each found a special man and we were happy to welcome them to the family - we finally had sons! Then 4 grandchildren arrived and brought us so much joy. Mike and I talked often about how blessed we were, not just by our immediate family but by all of the extended family and friends who surrounded us and supported us in so many ways during our entire time together.
When Mike was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2013, it was formal confirmation of what the family had suspected for a few years. While not an easy diagnosis to get, Mike was determined to make each day the best it could be. As his condition advanced, he wanted others to know he had the disease, and educated many restaurant servers, store clerks and people he just started a conversation with by wearing a pin that said "Please be kind. I have Alzheimer's." He wanted to contribute to work for a treatment and cure, participating in an Alzheimer's drug trial for over 3 years and donating his brain to the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic.
Mike appreciated simple things, getting excited when seeing an eagle flying above, a beautiful sunset on the horizon, or hearing a loon call. The next time you see an eagle or the setting sun or hear a loon, think of him and smile. He'd be doing the same.
Please help me in the fight to find a cure for Alzheimer's and make a donation today. Mike and I both appreciate it.
Mike's obituary is available online.
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