Tomorrow is July 8th, and 6 years ago (has it really been 6 years?), this day took on a special meaning for our family. My cousin Michael Armstrong passed away. I'm not sure why, but I wanted to mention this on the blog. I felt it needed/deserved to be mentioned... because we will never forget Michael.
My heart goes out to Aunt Leslie, Uncle Scott, Christina, Brian, Amy, David and Mark at this time of year. I've learned that loss and grieving is a process that never truly ends. As time goes on, it takes on different shapes and effects us in different ways, but it is always there.
Michael is the same age as Layne. They are only two weeks apart, and I often think about the fact that they would have gotten along so well. They both share a passion for music... Layne loves Michael's friends. He's in Manhattan having dinner with Christina tonight, and I find great comfort in that.
I don't know what the Armstrong's find comfort in, but I do know that they have all been an inspiration to me. They have helped me to look inside of myself and find courage and strength when I've needed it, they've shown me that love can help to mend pain. They've shown me that while life isn't easy, it is always worth fighting for. And because of our loss, I've learned to value and appreciate life for everything each day can bring.
So when my heart is heavy, because I miss Michael, and I hurt for my family and oldest friend, I'm going to think of the good memories that bring a smile to my face. I'll never forget the countless hours watching Michael play original Nintendo, and when he took the time to teach me to play my first video game. (I tried to succeed at Zelda. I ended up being much better at Concentration.) I'll never forget when he babysat all the Orkus' and Armstrongs, and scared the sh*t out of me chanting "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary" in the bathroom with the door locked and the lights off. I'll remember when Amy and I snuck into his room and read the notes his high school girlfriend Kendra wrote him, with dolphins doodled all over the margins, and the first time I saw him perform with the Golden Band from Tigerland.
Michael will always be missed... and I know he will always be remembered. And tomorrow, when I wake up, I will remind myself that life is good. Not because life is easy, but because we will always have each other. And at the end of the day, that's really what life is all about.