My son Michael was 16 years old when he was killed in a bicycle accident on January 15, 1996. I first met Mike when I was 36 years old and he was 7. I was looking for a child to adopt, and he was looking for a home. He had been a a waiting child list for over a year I was apprehensive when I first went to meet him-he was a vicitim of abandonment and abuse, and, after being placed in a potential adoptive home with his sister and brother, the adoptive parents decided that they were not up to handling his special problems, and decided not to keep him, so he was suffering from rejection and a huge loss of self esteem. I'll never forget the first day I met him. He was a beautiful child with big brown eyes and a sweet smile. We spent the day together, and he captured my heart. I was so charmed by him that I wept on the way home from that meeting for having to leave him. A few months later he was mine. He started making friends the day he moved in. He always had a smile and a kind heart. His teachers loved him,his friends loved him, and I loved him. We had 9 happy hears. Things went so well with Mike that 4 years later I adopted another child, Arthur, now ll, and two years ago, when I thought my family was complete, I succumbed to a social workers request to take a 16 year old who lived in our town, and whose mother had died.
Shirden, who came in a cloud of personal tragedy, became both Mike's best friend, and a wonderful brother to both Mike and Arthur. Shirden was with Mike when the accident happened, and he spoke eloquently at the funeral. All my children had difficult early lives, and as Mike entered adolescence many of his troubled early memories came back in waves. Some nights he had trouble sleeping, and would come into my room and cry, or tell me something troubling he remembered from his early childhood. Life was not always easy for Mike, but he always had a smile and a kind word for others. When he died over 800 people attended his memorial service. In the months since his death, I feel as though a piece of me died also. I have not had a day without tears. I have learned that I have many wonderful frineds, which has been a great solace, and our remaining family has become closer even that we were before
We are all still having a difficult time. It was almost a month before Shirden could complete a full day at school. Arthur is still having problems sitting still in the classroom, and has days when he is very sad. We are all in counseling, but I know we will make it through this, because we have each other. I miss Mike so much sometimes I don't think I can stand it, but I am so glad to have had him for the time I did. I know he will be in my heart forever.