A chuckle bubbles up imagining the witty smartass reply you'd give to a scenario in my day. I live in the remembered warmth of your hugs--intuitive encouraging all-encompassing. Your friends still speak of your empathy: "Mikey would understand. Your inclusive entertaining attentive energetic ease made us feel heard and seen. While discussing in what surprising ways people fuel rather than drain us, you high-5ed me as if your hockey team won! In your own words, "again, so grateful for friends, family, strangers." Long before cancerous brain tumours grew, being allowed in, seeing your depth of awareness, introspection, ability to voice vulnerability—a privilege. You beasted through radiation, rang that bell, went back to school, became an ecstatic new uncle. Then gone. I'm not beasting through your death very well. Is it ok to not be ok? Yes, "Mikey would understand." XOXO Aunt Lisa
Published in Niagara Falls Review on Oct. 23, 2020.