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Monday, September 6, 2010

One month ... From missing to remembering


sorry - it took me a while to sit down and start writing to you here. To be honest, I had not really thought about it until now, as I was busy ...

... busy thinking of you, busy going through our conversations of more than one year, busy talking to mutual friends about you, over at YouTube's, where we met, and where we shared time and an important part of our lives with each other.


We first met on July 19th 2009. And this was no accident ... Someone who knew us both had the thought that it might be good if you and I might have a talk, or maybe even a few conversations.

Jacob was right, wasn't he? Well, I know that I am grateful for the thought he had there - and I know you were, too.


You had lost your baby brother Stew three months before we met. He was 12 years old when he died, and had been victim in a dreadful car accident, as was his best friend Dino, who was of the same age. The doctors tried their best, but they could not do anything for Stew, and so, you had to let him go.

Me, I had lost someone I had known for only seven weeks, but had come to feel as close to as to a child of my own. His name was Kel (short for Kelvin), he was 13 years old, and he died six days before your brother - to put it in words that at least kind of bring justice to what happened: Kel died of sort of a dreadful accident, too.

So, by this situation already, we shared a lot, had made kind of similar experiences. But there was more.

You and I, Mike, almost broke, by what we had to face, and had to learn to live with. We went through our personal hell and back ... yes, I say "back", too, because we both decided to do something that would, maybe, help us a little bit in dealing with what basically cannot be dealt with.


Meeting each other on YouTube was possible, because you, like me, had made a channel in memory of the one you had lost [Note: Mike's channel has been taken off from YouTube on his parents' wish]. A place to remember, to keep memories alive and share them, and a place where friends could meet and share some time together. And so, we started talking about the things that moved us and weighed us down ...

We could understand each other so very well - the pain, the loss, the sadness ... and we exchanged thoughts, and talked about the emotions that rushed through us, flooding the landscapes of the soul like a Tsunami, burning it down like a roaring steppe fire, and crushing everything in their way, like an avalanche of big hard rocks and mud.

We told each other a lot and shared memories of Stew and of Kel, realizing very quickly that these two, had they had the chance to met on YouTube, would have become really good friends there. We knew that they'd both have been so happy about it. And so were we.


Keeping the memories alive, of the good things that we connect with our to loved ones ... yes, it always has been sweet and comforting doing this, by talking with each other. It gave us strength and confidence to know that those two kids, who had to suffer so much from being bullied, online, and (even way more so!) offline, still had managed to keep their good spirits up, to dream of things they wanted to achieve, and to give so much to the people who knew them and loved them.

Knowing all this, we both saw that these things are also possible for everyone else out there, kids and grown-ups ... to have to carry a crushingly tough load every day, that hurts down to the core - and still enjoy life, by cherishing the small good things that are also there every day (although they might go unnoticed sometimes ...), and by sharing them with others.

We learned a lot from Stew and Kel there, right, Mike?

And by becoming friends, you and I helped each other out, to cool down the flow of the red, blazing hot lava that poured out from our hearts, since the day of the tragedy that bereaved us of a person we loved more than anything else in the world.


We could not do much; we could not cast a spell that would make the other heal ... Kel and Stew had died three months earlier, only six days apart from each other, and we could not make the pain and the sadness just go away, or turn it into something that would not hurt.

Medicine does that. Medication stifles emotions, blocks out memories, and suppresses that what torments us. But these meds also take away all the good we have, in remembering the loved ones we miss ... and this is something that you did not want to happen, Mike - although you did have to take medication from some point on, because it all got too much.


This stream of red hot lava from the heart oozes out constantly, burning and scorching everything around it, and it won't let the pain end. Still, it cannot just be stopped, and it cannot be reversed. Anyone who tries to make you do that, will only bring more hurt and pain to you, either immediatley in this very moment, or in the long run, because the lava will continue pouring, but will be held back, and thereby gradually increasing the pressure, which some day will unload, causing unexpected damage ...

This stream of lava can only be slowed down to a near standstill, by means of cooling it down, during a long time, and bit by bit ...

... by the love and care of people who really understand how we feel, who give us the time we need, who allow us to hurt, who share our pain and not belittle it ... but who also rejoice with us in the happy memories we keep up in our hearts and cherish - as they are precious gems, and a counterweight to the loss and emptiness we were left with, after death stroke.

Cooling down this stream of lava in that way works like bringing a handful or two of snow, and throwing it onto the red hot hell.

We do so by being there for each other, talking with each other, sharing happy thoughts and memories, and also those things that are so terrible ... because they want to and need to be said and heard.

And so, we became Snow Bringers for each other - by talking and listening, and by putting up videos once in a while, where we dealt with thoughts and feelings, with loss and pain, but also with joyful things.

You found a way of letting out feelings and dealing with them by making music: Singing, and playing the guitar and the piano were your thing. You made covers of songs you loved and that held a message you could relate to ... and you even started to write songs of your own, arranging them, recording them (with the help of your father and his friends - "The Dad Band", as you called them) and putting them up as videos on your YouTube channel.

I don't know how many times I have watched your videos, Mike - like this one here, for example - I was listening to the words and knew exactly what you felt, and I also know how much of Stew you have put into the video ...


You were up to great and beautiful (and healing!) things there, Mike, I know it. And you would have made your way, I am sure ... in the music business, and on the long and winding path of slowly learning to live with your brother's death.

But this will not happen any more ...

... because a month ago from now, during the night from August 6th to August 7th 2010, you died, Mike. You were 17 years old, and would have turned 18 on November 22nd this year.


You were bereaved of all the life that still lay ahead of you, and you were taken away from all those who loved you, including me. A brain haemorrhage ended your life while you were sleeping that night. Just so. No warning, no signs before it happened. And nothing anyone could have done to prevent it.

Those meds you had to take from some point in time on, and that were meant to at least somehow help you ... their side effects made you lose your life.

Your cousin Donnie brought me the sad news of your death, Mike. I received his message on YouTube during the night from August 15th to 16th 2010. It was almost 2 a.m. when the blow hit me ... and it kind of was like back then, when I received the message of Kel's death in 2009 - it had been also a night from Sunday to Monday (April 19th to 20th 2009), and it was a few minutes after 2 a.m. when this horrible message back then showed up in my inbox.

Just a coincidence, I know ... and still ... Not the best of times any more, those Sunday nights, holding two dark memories now.


Donnie and I have been messaging a lot since then, Mike.

He has the hardest time dealing with your passing. But he is trying his best to find ways to start coping. And so do I. This was a blow I had not seen coming, and it hit me like a sledge hammer ...

When you and I started messaging to each other, Mike, three months had passed since the death of those two persons we loved. Donnie and I now have started messaging only a little more than one week after you had gone, Mike ... and I think, this is the single one good thing that came with all the bad, all the sadness and pain, that losing you brought to all of us who knew you and loved you.

I have lost a good and precious friend with you, Mike, and an important Snow Bringer. And this makes me sad beyond measure.

But Donnie and I started to connect in a similar way, mourning the oh so fresh loss of a loved one, and helping each other out very soon after it happened, by bringing a handful of snow or two (you can't carry more at a time ...), and throwing it on a fresh and dreadfully hot stream of each other's red lava ... Cooling the pain down a little bit, by sharing memories, and helping each other out ...

... to come from missing to remembering.


Mike, that's what I wanted to write to you for now. And I wanted to do this today, on the one month anniversary of losing you. Sorry if it has become a bit of a chunk to read - but well, that's just me, right? Too many thoughts, too many memories, and too much love to just jam-pack into a few three-word sentences ...

Say hi to Stew and Kel for me, okay? And give them a hug. I will join you some day, and then, we'll all hang out and have a great time ... Oh, and wherever this may be - there'd better be a McDonald's!



P.S.: I just wanted to let you know, still, that you now are in this video here, too, together with Kel and Stew. It just felt like the right thing to do.




Sasa said...

my condolences

Truedantalion said...

Thank you, Sarah.


donsden93 said...

tnx Michael 4 ur words bout my cousins Mike&Stew&me.U know I'm not a big beleiver but I'll say God bless u.-DONNIE

Truedantalion said...

God bless you, too, Donnie. My heart goes out to you and to Mike's parents, to your parents, and to all who knew and loved Mike and Stew ...

They will be dearly missed, they will never be forgotten, and they will be loved for every.


Anonymous said...

"Everywhere I Go"...a beautiful song.

Truedantalion said...

Thank you! Mike would be glad to know that you like his song. But then ... he does, I'm sure.

donsden93 said...

I subbed this blog so I saw ur message.I'd like 2 know who "anonymous" was or why now u made this comment @ this time.Did u know my cuz Mike? Did u see this vid on my youtube channel donsden93? u can send me a message 2 donsden1@hotmail.com.If u don't want 2 tell me who u are&why u picked 2day 2 comment,that's ok.I say tnx 2 u 2.& that's my cuz Stew @3:48,the lower rite,looking @ the fish!
That's my cuz! & alot of these pics r taken @ my old house & that's our pets that my cuz Mike put in this vid! God bless u whoever u r!-DONNIE

Anonymous said...


Michael Eckstorm said...

Thank you for bringing the movie TRAIN MASTER to my attention. I will make sure to check it out if I can get it on DVD.

Douglas Bransom and Stew, Mike's baby brother, obviously died under similar tragic circumstances, and at a so tender age ... Words fail when I try to think about the terrible loss Douglas' family suffered. So, in a rather wordless gesture, I am sending out my condolences and my love to Douglas' parents, his sister Jamie and everyone who loved him and misses him.

I also send the warmest of hugs and even more love to Douglas, to Stew, to Mike, and to Kel.

donsden93 said...

Rest in Peace my cousin.
We will always love u-DONNIE

Michael Eckstorm said...

I've been thinking of Mike permantently during the last days. I'm currently away on business for a few days, but this does not turn off my thoughts, nor my heart.

Mike, you'll be remembered and loved for ever.


donsden93 said...

Tnx again Michael 4 this awesome blog.-DONNIE

donsden93 said...

Mike&Stewie's mom passed away on Oct.16.
All our lives changed cuz of one drunk driver.