I opened up an “add new post” tab to start writing all that I want to say regarding where we are going from here. Before I began typing the content, I went to the right of the text block to set the time stamp and schedule the morning launch.
It. Stopped. Me. In. My. Tracks.
When I saw December 2, 2016 05:11 a.m., I suddenly realized the reverence of this moment.
My mind’s eye immediately flashed back to the horrific scene. I was looking through the glass of the I.C.U. room window, and the doctor stood to my left and called, “Time of death: 5:11.”
My brother was holding me up from behind, and nothing inside of me believed what I was watching.
It didn’t feel like I was experiencing it, though I was. No, I was watching this. I had to be. And in a second they’d go back to what they had promised me 20 minutes earlier, “Don’t worry if you see chest compressions. It can be standard procedure while we intubate. Don’t let it scare you, even though it may look bad.”
But that room cleared out so fast, and I was left alone with Michael’s empty body.
For the next three hours, I sat on his bed, trying to somehow settle the raging war inside of my chest. “This couldn’t be happening” was at war with “this is actually happening.”
I cried. I prayed. I talked to Michael in my thoughts — just too pummeled to even speak words out loud.
Something so bizarre happened.
Somehow, as his body temperature grew cold [and I now knew that death’s color is NOT like it is portrayed in a detective show] I understood that as much as I HATED THIS, he was not coming back. Mike would not live again in that lifeless shell — bruised and broken from the battle he fought like a champion to the death.
I was unable to walk; my entire body was trembling and jolting — especially my legs — like when you are really cold or extremely nervous (but times 1000!). Sounds that I didn’t know could possibly come from my frame flooded the Unit halls as my friend Jennifer wheeled me out of the hospital. To Mike and I, this place had become our sacred place with each other — where we shared fears, terror, alarm, joys, laughter, my birthday, our anniversary, sweet conversations, and intense prayer — a place where we fought for Mike’s healing for 11 days — night and day.
I will never forget that when Jennifer’s husband and another friend were gathering our cars, I started to say, “Mike will go and drive our car around.” But the words halted when I knew that I was speaking aloud the very first act that Mike had always naturally done — this first small thing needed to be filled by someone else, and it immediately became such a big thing.
The rest of the day consisted of telling my children, “He’s gone,” to posting on Facebook this shocking announcement through this brief quote from one of our favorite movies Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium:
I’ll spend my lifetime rising to the occasion, and make the most of Michael Shroyer’s life of wonder, well-lived.
After posting that on Facebook to announce this “end of Mike’s 5 acts,” I fell in and out of sleep.
Exhaustion and adrenaline were warring it out in my worn-out body, and I remained wrapped in a Superman blanket in the couch corner as the hours passed and as close friends and family found their way to Cre8Home to console one another, and to begin this shocking whatever-this-was.
So, I will post the things that I thought I’d share today… tomorrow. Today is a day to remember, and tomorrow will be a day to turn the page and look into the new story-in-the-making. One of our new Acts.
Yes, for today, I am taking my kids — who fell apart on my lap last year — on a hike to Hanging Rock to commemorate our year of rising.
Our first 365 days… closer.
Tonight, we are gathering with friends to share in an “Open Mike Night” and even if people choose to share stories of Mike that we’ve heard ten thousand times, I am totally and 100% okay with that!
I hope you will return tomorrow to read what I thought I’d share today; it feels wrong to talk of ourselves today, so I am putting those words on hold, so not to cloud our need to “see” and “hear” today’s view of needed consolation and healing. I don’t want to miss a thing.
Today, we huddle.
Today, again we rise.
We are thankful for every day together when we walked with Michael Shroyer, in fields of gold.
If you knew Mike, I know your grief today may be strong.
You all know that he would want for you to do something for someone with your love today.
So . . .
Live your life like every ONE matters.
Don’t put a period where God has a comma.
Your present circumstance does not define you.
Leverage your influence to help someone BE and BECOME.
Spend time on your knees.
Fight FOR each other, not against.
Play some basketball.
And always, ALWAYS…
Lead with Love.
~ some of the phrases spoken often by Michael Shroyer
Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.
Thank you for walking with us during these #11daysofgoodgrief.
Tomorrow… a new page will turn…