Michael – gentle, sweet, wise Michael

By Emma Pearson

July 16, 2024

Photo taken by Jane del Pozo. Almost seven years ago to the day – 29 December 2016.

You had just over three months to live.

Writing posted on the Refuge in Grief website on 25 December 2017, and reposted here on 28 December 2023.

It showed up in my Facebook feed. I love-hate how that happens. Love, because I realise just how much I have otherwise forgotten. Forgotten you – no – but forgotten that this piece of writing went up on Refuge in Grief. Forgotten the loving comments people wrote afterwards. Forgotten much of the detail of my life back then. And hate, because it’s shocking – still. A kick in the teeth and belly simultaneously when I am not ready. And hate, because back then I was writing from the perspective of still having three breathing children. It was already hard. Too hard. I so didn’t know what I didn’t know…if that makes any sense. I doubt it does.

When I first met you, you were 24 and I was 20. You were Mick to almost everyone. Mike to a few. I noticed that those people you had met most recently called you Mike. I asked which you preferred and you said, “Mike, but Mick is fine too”. You were so easy about everything, so accommodating, patient, tolerant. I learned some of these life skills, traits and gifts from you but not enough. I wanted more of you, for so much longer. “Almost 30 years” was not nearly enough. Not nearly enough for our three beautiful creations who had you for just 13, not quite 16 and not quite 18 years.

Big, deep blue, kind eyes. Gorgeous legs and bum. Fit, wiry build. A perfect fit for my body, my personality, my needs. We fit.

You were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November 2016, just 10 months after my youngest brother Edward died of a brain tumour. I was still in numb shock. Your death on 8th April 2017 left me bare and anaesthetised. I reeled. I functioned. I got on. I did.

I chanced across Refuge in Grief. And I wrote. Words, stories, experiences, feelings, emotions, fantasies, dreams. I touched in gently to what was happening. I experienced my loss, allowed myself to. Scared, but held by community. Seen. Reaffirmed. Validated.

Fuck, I miss you so much. More and more. The chasm still unfolding, growing, gaping. All we want for Christmas, for any day, is you. What better gift than to see your crooked smile, hear your voice and laughter, watch you shimmy in the kitchen in your apron, smacking your lips and keeping the fizz flowing.

I love you sweetheart. Always will. And yet, I know I will survive, and perhaps one day thrive again.

About Emma Pearson

4 thoughts on “Michael – gentle, sweet, wise Michael

  1. There’s nothing I can say to do justice to the quiet strength of your writing, Emma. I just want to acknowledge it. And the power of it. And for you to know that it matters. Thank you.

  2. So so beautiful ❤️❤️❤️ beautiful words for a beautiful soul. And I absolutely love this photo of you two.

  3. Wow Emma- I was so sorry to read this. My husband died a little over a year ago from pancreatic cancer….

    Sending an enormous hug filled with warmth and strength

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