He was a brat as a kid- willful, tough, a little mean and he would bully his older brother. He was blessed, more than anything, with perfect parents. His parents were always there for him and they were always on his case: expecting better grades, better behavior, harder work. And they gave him all the love and attention he could handle.
With any other parents he would have gone very bad. He was stubborn enough to get his way with anyone else and had to be taught over and over again to think of others. But with perfect parents, he learned.
He grew into a young man- handsome, polite, athletic. He was a good kid. His senior year at highschool he was an all-state running back. I took the family to watch one of his games here in Portland.
When we'd get together, I'd tease him- try to talk him into college or the military or anything. Once he decided what he wanted to do, he'd be amazing. But Andy was in no hurry to decide. He enjoyed his friends and fishing and hunting and his family and barbecues and beer and his motorcycle. He liked his life just as it was.
Andy Michaelis died yesterday. He was my nephew.
I called his mother as soon as I heard. She asked the ancient question: "How do we go on?"
"You love the ones you have left."
Love the ones you have left.