Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dear Mike...

Dear Mike,

When I found out you needed a kidney transplant, I was really scared. I didn't tell you that I was scared at the idea of your no longer being around. But that's the world I live in now. No Michael Hogan.

I wish so much that I had made the time to see you during my visits to the Bay Area this past summer. But with all the family obligations and the other now seemingly trivial plans, I told myself there would be an opportunity to catch you during my next visit. Well, lesson learned. I know that you would tell me not to feel bad. You would say there's no way I could have known what would happen.

I keep thinking about the last time we saw each other. I had just finished running Bay to Breakers in May. As soon as I showered and changed, I took a cab over to UCSF to see you. Mister, I cannot believe you actually thought we could go out to lunch while being hospitalized for post-transplant/kidney-rejection issues! Watching you sitting on your hospital bed, I was stunned by how much weight you had lost. As Eric said, we know you loved that but it was still off-putting. But what amazed me even more was how focused you were on others during your recovery. First off, I didn't bring you anything. But you thought to ask your roommate to go get me a cupcake and cake pop from a local bakery as well as that gift certificate to Baker & Banker Restaurant. I still have no idea why you thought I was the one who deserved gifts. I haven't used that certificate. I had been saving it because it felt only right to take you there for dinner. Sucks that isn't going to happen. Presents aside, I was even more touched when I asked you how Eric was doing after donating his kidney. While Eric had already been out of the hospital and back to daily living for some time, you said you wished everyone would lavish attention on him instead. You said he's the one who made the sacrifice. The best thing people could do for you was to send goodwill and gifts his way.

For all the times you drove me to new levels of exasperation, you never failed to impress me with your kindness, consideration and charm. I remember in 10th grade, we had a joint birthday party at my house for all our friends with November birthdays and I told you that my mom would cook separate food for you because while everyone was OK with pizza, you loved Chinese. So, you thought to show up with a bouquet of flowers for her. Not bad for 16 years old, Mr. Hogan. I also remember during our senior year, it bugged the hell out of you that I was still getting picked up after school by my mom because I had no car of my own. So you took it upon yourself to offer you and Dennis as my personal drivers. I still don't understand that, LOL, but that was one of your quirks that added to the Mike-ness of you.

I know you used to worry too much that if you didn't hear back from a friend -- old or new -- by phone, email, text, etc., it meant they might not want to hang out with you or didn't care about you. I'm not sure if you ever grew out of that completely. But if you saw all the lovely things people have written about you, you would know your concern was for nothing. You may be afraid that with your passing, everyone is going to just forget about you. But I can tell you, I've thought about you every day since your death. That will be true in 10 months and in 10 years.

While I mourn the loss of all the things you didn't get to do or be in your too-short time here, you'll be with me. I know I'll be somewhere and I'll ask "What would Mike think?" Your absence doesn't mean the end of our friendship. I hope you know that I love you very much.


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