Sunday, December 27, 2009

Michael: In Memoriam

My brother Michael died at age 57 in a nursing home in Houston TX on Wednesday, December 9, 2009, of complications from a stroke suffered in 2001.

Here are some facts about Michael, most of which appeared in his obituary. He was a native of New Orleans LA, a former resident of Atlanta GA, and since Hurricane Katrina a resident of Houston TX. He graduated from Archbishop Rummel High School and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He served in the U.S. Navy. He loved music and was passionate about his work as a disc jockey at WTUL radio station in New Orleans and WRFG in Atlanta. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Sandra. He will be missed by his brother Danny; by his sisters Karen (me), Maria, and Janet; by his brothers-in-law John and Richard; by his sister-in-law Tamarin; by his nephew Patrick; by his nieces Ananda, Kristin, Lindsay, Zia, Allison, and Lauren; and by his many friends.

Michael truly loved music. He amassed an extensive collection of over a thousand LP vinyl records. He worked as a radio disc jockey, knew contemporary popular music inside and out, frequently interviewed musicians for the radio, and was passionate about his work. Michael was also quite versatile. At various times, he took additional work as a record store salesperson, a surveyor, a chef, and a doorman at a bar. He was well loved and had many friends.

Michael suffered a stroke in 2001 that left him physically and mentally impaired. After the stroke, Michael lived in a nursing home in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina. At the time of the hurricane, Michael was unable to evacuate with his nursing home because he had just been hospitalized with a seizure. Thus, he became part of the chaotic hospital evacuations and ended up in a nursing home in Houston, where he remained until his death earlier this month. The state of Texas was wonderful in providing care for Michael after the hurricane.

We had a beautiful memorial for Michael at the Balcony Music Club in New Orleans last Sunday, organized by my brother Danny. My sister Maria created a lovely altar with candles, sculpture, flowers, and photos of Michael. Our friend Rae provided a tossed green salad, a pasta salad, and zucchini bread. Balcony Music Club gave us their back patio and bar, with drinks for only $2.00. My brother-in-law Richard provided a tape of Michael DJing on Atlanta radio station WRFG. Michael's friends Tony and Mike played guitar and sang. Family members and friends came to be together and remember Michael.

Michael had felt trapped in his post-stroke, mal-functioning body and mind. As I see it, his death has set him free. May Michael soar freely and joyfully in the world of spirit.

1 comment:

  1. Sprinkling Michael's ashes off the ferry along the Mississippii River was such a blessing... may Michael soar freely and joyfully in the world of spirit... i miss him lots...
    Much Much Love, RaTaTa(treetop!)