Michael was my brother.
He was my father's 2nd son with his new wife. (My dad had 4 girls with my mother.)
I met Michael and got to know him right before my son John was born. Michael was only a year older than my own son.
Michael had a sparkle to him even as a baby. He was an easy, happy little boy and his parents pride and joy. I watched Michael grow from a beautiful baby to a gorgeous young man. By the time he was 15, he had more experience with girls than most men do at 40.
Michael excelled at sports and guys liked him too, but he was always a little wild. I think he got in trouble for smoking pot and snorting cocaine the first time when he was about 16. My father had died a couple of years earlier and Michael had moved away from San Francisco with his mother and older brother, Joaquin.
Michael's mother hoped getting him away from "bad influences" in the City would be good for him. It didn't really matter because Michael was the party! My own kids were thoroughly delighted with their devilishly fun only slightly older uncle.
As a young man, Michael drank too much, loved too intensely, drove too fast and took a lot of risks. He was a successful male model for a while. Later he sold stocks for a brokerage house in San Francisco and made enough money to buy a sailboat and take up racing. He was good at everything he did and I adored him.
People who met him were charmed and enchanted. It was easy to overlook his wildness because of his sweetness and winning personality. When Michael talked to you, he let you know that nobody in the world was more important to him than you. That's a pretty seductive quality.
Two months before his 42nd birthday, Michael crashed his car into a tree on his way home after an evening out with friends. They think he died instantly and it seems alcohol may have been involved. He died early in the morning hours of February 17, 2008. The world has seemed a little dimmer to me after his passing.