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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012
I woke up yesterday morning thinking of Mike Sullivan. I wondered why, then looked at the calendar. It was in July of last year that we lost him. On the 26th, I believe.

Maybe we didn’t so much lose him as we realized what an impact his life made on so many people. I still haven’t been able to watch all of the memorial service my friends recorded. I think he would understand.

I didn’t know Mike all grown up and educated and with a beautiful family. I remember him as #10 to the right, next to his friends Kelly and Bill. I’ve seen the pictures of his other life and can imagine them together, the hole in their hearts now, but the celebration this day brings as well. Remembering is a holy act that honors a father or husband or friend.

I didn’t know Mike with closely cropped hair and a degree and medical success. He is stuck in my mind with a Buster Brown haircut, bell-bottomed pants, frozen in time with red hair and smacking gum and fingernails clipped to the quick and the crossover dribble that came so naturally. And that laugh. It’s hard to describe if you didn’t hear it. Sort of a cackling, chuckling, sniggering guffaw of a laugh. One that came from the belly he couldn't suppress.

And that little spot on his bottom lip. It showed most when he smiled, stretched out and tight. We saw the spot a lot.

I learned to covet because of Mike Sullivan. I knew it was wrong. I knew you weren’t supposed to want what other people had, but with Mike, you couldn’t help it. You wanted what he had, though you couldn’t quite put your finger on it. It wasn’t the floppy hair and freckles and the spot on the lip, it wasn’t just the swagger—that self-confidence nobody else seemed to possess. Or the fashion sense. Or the brains. Mike had smart written all over him pre-kindergarten. No, it was the whole kit and caboodle, as my father would say.

Here’s the weird thing. It never seemed to possess him. Others had swagger, wore nice clothes, had adept mental acuity, and freckles, but it always seemed to catch up with them. They knew they had “it,” whatever “it” was. But with Mike, his self-confidence and intelligence and good-looks was like a shadow that trailed him, that never quite caught up. He knew it was there, he had to have known, but he always acted as if he was no big deal. Some call it humility and I suppose they’re right.

The picture here has Mike on the left and Bill from above to the right and Libby in the middle. Old friends who gathered to remember a special coach. 

If I close my eyes long enough, I can conjure Mike up. Tying his shoes, cross-legged before gym class, head down, hair in his face. Speaking at graduation, a little nervous, but still in control. Walking to school with his books under his arm. All the girls talking to him. I don't just mean some, ALL. That's another blog.

Don’t get me wrong, he made mistakes. Mike wasn’t a saint. But he knew that, too. The trick is never letting either truth catch up to you or possess you.

I don’t know what age people are in heaven. Whether babies who die stay that age or progress. Whether old people revert to a more youthful visage. I’ve studied it and admit I don’t know. But I don’t have to know. All I’ll have to do to find Mike is to listen for the laugh.


vmann731 said...

Chris, what a nice memorial! Mike was a special person.

J.J. Bryan said...

As Mike Jeff's cousin I want to thank you for the wonderful article. He was one in a million and was a shining light in our family. We miss him very much. Thanks.
~~~Jackie Pancake Bryan

Nicole said...

Meaningful tribute.

Vickie Hatfield said...

Chris..Jack and I went to his funeral and it was celebration of his life. He was loved by so many people. I felt like I was at a celebration for a "celebrity ". Then I thought to myself he was a celebrity in the way God would define it. He certainly gave back and loved his family and church.
You are so right about that laugh it was infectious!

Kim Wheeler said...

Beautifully said, Chris. You coined all Mike was. Why everyone loved him. Mike had NO idea he was "the bomb". That is what made him who he was. I remember on picture passing out day, he would arrive, and of course we all wanted one of him! He just held out his hand, not trying to find the most popular or beautiful to hand a pic to. Whoever got one from his outstetched hand, just got one. He was humble. He was not self absorbed with his popularity.

Most of all, he was a GREAT friend, and will be forever missed.

Kim Wheeler