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It has become immensely clear to me that words cannot adequately or sufficiently describe the meaning and value of Michael's short life. However, I have a compelling need to tell you of the things you already know about Michael. From my perspective as his father, I can say that I am so very proud of Michael; not because he studied and worked hard in school as I wanted--he didn't; not because he attained great awards as I wanted--he didn't achieve these either. Michael found his own direction and accomplished more meaningful things in his short life. Maybe God took him because he already touched more hearts than most of us can touch in a full lifetime. In only 19 years he has touched the hearts of all here and many who could not be here. Our hearts are so sad now because Michael had made them so glad. Michael made us smile and Michael made us laugh. His many many friends will universally attest to that! As Al noted, "The love you take is equal to the love you make and Michael sure made a lot!"
Not only did he reach a hand of friendship to us, but he extended it halfway around the world to Novomoscovsk, Russia. Because of Michael, our sorrow is shared by a Russian family; a family who also has three sons and with whom we continue to enjoy a close friendship. I am sorry his adopted Russian brother, Alec with whom Michael shared a year of school, fishing and fun, cannot be here with us today. However, I am so glad that Kris, Al, Dan and Laurel are here. Michael was our middle child and was the glue that held us close. To Kris, Michael was her little brother whom she helped raise and take care of; who grew up to advise her of what clothing looked best when she was in doubt; and who habitually stole her clean socks, a pair of which he is wearing now. To Al, whose school pals have moved away, Michael simply became his best friend and closest companion. For Dan, whom Michael watched over, protected, understood and loved for his uniqueness; together they shared a common interest in computers which Michael had sparked and fostered. He was Daniel's teacher and mentor. To Laurel, Michael was her idol whom she deeply loved and admired.
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