I don't know how to start. How does one start a speech for his older brother's funeral? Should I address the audience? Should I address Mikael? Should I address God? What should I do Mikael? I can already hear you say, “France, what should your MOM do?” No, my name is not France, nor is it Frances, or Connie Francis like the singer, just Konrad thankyou very much. Some day from the past my Dad made the connection and called me Connie Francis. Mikael then mutated this otherwise inconsequential incident and started calling me Francis from that day on. It further mutated to “France”. It bugged me, and I'm sure that was his goal. Memories of him saying “hey France, wanna play impulation ball?” or “that was just uncalled for, France,” still make me annoyed. I feebly tried combatting his tactics, so he'd call “Hey France,” and I'd reply “yes Germany?”
On a side note, for those of you who don't know Mikael's abomination of a game, the game impulation involves tossing a 4-foot plastic pipe in the air and catching it without being impaled by it, gaining points depending on the number of mid-air rotations. He took the game a step further with impulation ball where someone pitches a baseball to the pipe holder who hits it and scrambles to gain as many rotations as possible at a life-threatening speed before the pitcher retrieves the ball.
During these past few days, the whole family along with friends reminisced all the crazy shinanagins Mikael committed, and I often found myself part of. Mons and Erik called me his disciple and commissioned me to continue his legacy. Thinking back, all I can remember is him nagging me to join him bike to Grand Beach or play one of his many dangerous variations of impulation and me wussying out. I would chastize him for doing irrationally adventurous things, and find myself adrenaline-pumped the next day biking to UofM after a snowstorm. I've always wanted to live with as much reckless abandon as he did day to day.
Me and Mikael... sorry Dad, Mikael and I were more than just playmates and rivals, we were spiritual brothers. I remember when I was 4 years old or so, sitting in church and snacks being past around. In me and Mikael's shared bedroom that night I asked Mom “why can't I have crackers and juice at church?” She replied “because you need to be a follower of Jesus,” “Is Mikael a follower of Jesus?” She asked Mikael, “are you Mikael?” He nodded. I said, “Then I want to be a follower of Jesus!” From childhood to adulthood we sticked together in faith and grew in our walk with God. I remember I was about 10 years old and he was about 12, he asked me “are we supposed to believe in Jesus so we can save ourselves? Isn't that selfish? What should our motive be?” He sincerely searched for truth and was very honest, never cutting around the bush. I remember him last year after attempting his life, vividly describing to me what went on in his mind, uncencored. I first felt hurt by his lack of sensitivity, but honored to have heard such honest words.
Since Mikael took his life, the past few days have been a whirlwind for me emotionally, crying, laughing, and being surrounded by old dear faces, and dear old faces. Only last night before I wrote this speech did I manage to get my thoughts and prayers off my chest and on paper. I started by reading Isaiah 25, the passage that touched Mom, the first verse:
O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.
This is what I wrote:
Mom keeps saying that in Mikael's desperate act, God in His mercy let him succeed so Mikael would be free from his suffering. Also the fact that Mikael lived a full full life has been emphasized this week. Now, having lived fully, God not only rescued him from his daily suffering, but brought him home, to shake off this “tiresome body,” as he put it, and have his faith become SIGHT, his faith that he fought to hold onto through bombardments of doubt.
God, Father in heaven, you are good, and you are good in Mikael's death. You have been faithful to Mikael all his life and you love him dearly, I know. Bena and I agree, you have been present miraculously both when he failed to take his life as well as when he succeeded. When he lay dying last year in his apartment, you sent Paul Prowse to his rescue, calling Mikael and rushing to his apartment. And when he decided to take his life by pills, and even though Mom was here in the next room and he messaged Willow and called his friends, you didn't stop him from dying. It's hard to understand, but you were loving him and showing him mercy. You had his death in mind long before, and it is a marvelous thing, bringing him to fuller life, REAL life. Praise your name, God.
Germany, don't think this will get you out of writing my bestman speech.