Four years ago today, Mike passed away. Without a doubt, one of the saddest days in my life. I don't think I've ever cried as much as I did that night. Mike was truly a unique spirit - a charismatic guy who you just couldn't help liking (even when he kicked your ass at every sport, game, contest imaginable). We've all heard the expression about someone "lighting up the room" when they entered it. Well, for Mike is wasn't quite that. He didn't light up the room as much as he lit up those around him. It wasn't a spotlight thing for Mike. He simply brought out the best in people.
I've said it time and time again that the story of Malikai in Soulfire is in many ways Mike's story. A special soul that serves a beacon for others - showing them the magic the world has to offer. He did this all throughout his life, and I'm not just talking about his art. Look at the lasting impact he had on friends, family, and fans. Aspen is a family in itself, and a lot of that is because of Mike. He brought us together, and though he's gone - our family remains.
I have so much to thank Mike for. Some I was able to tell him, and some I wasn't. His friendship meant the world to me, and there's no denying how much he helped my writing endeavors. Mike, Frank, and Peter gave me a hell of an opportunity when they invited me to play in their worlds.
But the biggest gift Mike ever gave actually came on that same sad night that he passed. Four years ago today, he gave me a better sense of faith. Faith that there is something more beyond what we know. Faith that there is more to this story - more to this journey. When he passed, I truly got the sense that he was going onward. It wasn't an end.
So, on this day, cherish those around you. Tell them what they mean to you. Spend time with them. Talk about what matters to you. Live with love and meaning.
And, create. Dig into your mind and build something from your heart - draw a picture, write a poem, plant a tree, bake a cake, make a chair. Anything that comes to mind.
And tomorrow...repeat. Because that's what Mike did.