Monday, April 03, 2006

Suffocating for a Year

Last April my best friend, Mike Spratt, suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack. Mike was 33 years old, and his wife, Shauna, was seven months pregnant with their first child. I'll never forget the phone call I recieved from my Mom telling me of Mike's untimely death. It was approximately 1am, and I was asleep on the couch. Kim and the kids were visiting her parent's in Louisiana, and I was home alone. I answered the phone in a daze, and was awakened in the most rude fashion possible.

In the first moments after I was informed of Mike's death, it was like I had been held underwater until panic set in, and I struggled to the surface for a breath. My eyes burned with the onset of immediate tears, and I felt stunned, like a prize fighter after a devestating power punch to the nose. Staggered and suffocated, my mind raced through all the memories we shared.

Growing up, Mike and I spent at least four days a week together from the time we were four years old through our high school years. We threw passes in the field behind his house, played video games til all hours of the night, and developed our own version of the Olympics in the Spratt's living room. We used to wake up early on Saturday mornings to watch our favorite cartoons, and we developed quite a home video collection, replete with fake commercials, "man on the street" interviews, and snow skiing highlights.

Mike was as good a friend as anyone could ask for. He was as loyal as a German Shepherd, as noble as a knight, and as humble as a George Shultz cartoon. I was at my best when Mike and I were together, and I miss his friendship terribly.

There are times in our lives when we lose touch with the things we grew up with. It's an unfortunate right of passage that is part of growing up and growing out. Mike and I experienced this season of our friendship, and were beginning to enter a new phase, marked by a renewed interest in each others lives. Unfortunately, this new season was cut tragically short.

There's really no point to this except to say that I miss Mike. He saw each of my children before they came home from the hospital. I saw his daughter, Ladan, before she left the hospital. She looked a lot like Mike. I sure wish we could have raised our kids together.

It's been a year, and I'm still suffocating at the thought of it. I just wish I could come up for air.

Check out the Mike's charity golf tournament at http://www.helives.com/mikeSpratt/

4 comments:

Steve Barton said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
r! said...

Wow. Friendships like that are rare and are something a lot of people crave. God blessed you trmenedously to be able to share your life with him to the point that after his death you could say those things. Thanks for sharing that. I needed that.

Anonymous said...

What a remarkable friendship! I know my mother used to say if we are fortunate enough to have 1 or 2 very intimate friends in a lifetime, it is a real blessing. I know Mike was one of those. As Christians, we never really do "get over" such a loss, we just learn to cope with it better. So don'e "beat yourself up" over still drowning or smothering. Just thank God you had the opportunity to have such a great friend.

Linda Spratt said...

I stumbled accross the blog of one Steve Hayes in the most random of google searches! Thanks for writing this, Steve. It's still nice to hear good memories of Mike. We've reviewed out the "living room olympics" video a time or two this past year! Mike had lots of friends, but I know your friendship was especially meaningful to him. I'm so glad I came across this, I really appreciated reading this about Mike.