Remembering Michael on Memorial Day

My brother Michael died September 21, 2001.

 

On this Memorial Day, I will be placing a flag at the base of the one-winged angel where my brother’s ashes are buried.  He was an artist, but he was also a soldier, serving in the Army, the Air Force and the Marines during three terms in Vietnam, dying as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange.

Mike was a character, dropping his drawers to moon us just to see if we would be shocked.  My brother loved to make us laugh, filling his home with old fashioned pinball machines for us to play and connect with our inner kid.  He deeply loved his children: Jeff, Christine, Jessica and Stephen.

Michael started a business to share his love of art the year before he died.  It was called MIKO’s ART SPACE and it was located in Tehachapi, California.  It was a welcoming environment for people to gather, to laugh and learn, to explore their own creativity.

My earliest memory is Mike teaching me how to draw a face.  As an adult, I loved to watch him throw paint onto a canvas stretched across the floor of his studio.  He threw his joy and his pain into those paintings, some of which hang in my home alongside mine. His passion for painting lives on in me.

My art is a spiritual process, allowing the love in my deepest core to take flight.  It is a daily practice, even when my fingers don’t touch a brush for months.  Being an artist is more about a way of seeing and being in the world, a connection to Nature and all that is unseen.

Our One-wing Angel. She keeps watch over us all.