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Losing a family treasure

It was inevitable to happen, and, finally, happen it did.

A member of the local Brat Pack has left the building. The untouched circle of our intimate clan, our disfunctionally-vibrant family lost a sister’s high school sweetheart Monday. A couple’s gallant and successful son-in-law. A mother’s treasure, a sister’s best bud. A friend to so many. A brother I never had.

Michial Brady died Monday morning in the Atlanta, Georgia suburb of Cumming, at 51, of a heart attack.

Which is both ironic and conflicting to the senses, because with Michial it was all about heart.

I’m still in the initial stages of shock and avoidance of the truth in what his death will ultimately mean to me and others.

We are all subject to the realities of our own mortality, and the mortal nature of others. That doesn’t make it easy when the end comes for someone so close. Not in the least fricken bit.

And especially when it happens to the last guy you perceived as “the first person most likely to leave this world before me.”

The five siblings of Bob and Dolores Hamilton have each lived interesting, sometimes totally twisted and unconventional lives, bringing to the fold some memorable partners . Kellie’s sole contribution was Michial, starting around her senior year at IPHS.

A transplant from Michigan, Michial wore his blond hair long, but not long as Kellie, whose own locks ran straight and long to somewhere beneath her kneecaps. She was the drum major for the Hawk Band. He was a tackle for the Mean Green. But you didn’t kid him about that, because he could easily deck you with an accurate overhand right.

But Michial was much more than that. He was serious, smart and carefree and loved to laugh. He made friends easy. I loved the guy from the get-go, because he drove a Boss Judge GTO with a quick shift automatic, Hooker headers and Crager mags, and he let me drive it to the car wash to clean it. He was a disciplined worker from early on as a grocery store stocker and bagger, then washing UPS trucks for a year before driving them, and eventually supervising the trucks as they were loaded each day.

From there he went to the top shelf of UPS and the moon, but that’s another story. What made Michial unique, once he and Kellie worked out their sophomore differences, was the focused devotion he spirited into their ultimate relationship.

Michial lost both his brother and sister in a tragic auto accident on a return trip from Michigan following his graduation from IPHS. From that moment on, with Kellie at his side, Michial took each step in his life with the spirit of his two siblings inside of him, striving ever more for success, hardnosed and determined to achieve it for them, for Michiel, for his family.

Achieve it Michial did.

I saw him the past few years far less than I would have liked. But, everytime Michieal rode into town and had a night to spare, he’d find a way to hunt me down to jaw about the past, the current, and the future. And basically to work it down to gut-wrenching laughs, which we were good at together.

What Kellie and Michial really excelled at was raising kids. Justin, Lindsey and Allison are each a reflection of the best of their parents (and in some cases the baddest!).

I respected and admired your successes, Michial, on many levels. And I loved your big bear heart. God has big plans, to take you so soon.

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