July 19 12:30 am AND Call for photos, recordings and footage

If you have any photos, recordings, VHS or DVD footage of Mike, I would love to have them. We're going to be putting together quite a show. All footage (old and new) would be super helpful. Email me at 185cranios@gmail.com and I'll arrange to pick them up or have them sent here.

I have to say that I'm loving the warmth of friends all around and will have our doors open again tomorrow (Thursday) night. There is a lot of yummy food here, so please come join us.

I am feeling Mike around me all the time. More than I have in months. As I've told many of our friends, for four months, the many photos of Mike all around our house made me so sad. as the comparison beween the Mike in the photos to the Mike in the hospital was so depressing, even on his good days. Now, though, the pictures of Mike around the house bring me joy. He's so himself there! Dancing at our wedding, playing with Baxter, exchanging vows with me on our wedding day. He's so Mike again. Not the sick no-short-term-memory-living-in-the-hospital-guy formerly known as Mike, but real live Mike.

That being said, I'm having a hard time erasing the horrific images of those last 5 days. They were beyond dreadful. But, I think I've decided that Mike left us long before his body did. I think Mike left us on Friday. After I told him what I did on Thursday night, I think he was no longer in his body.

And truth be told, I am pissed at his freaking body. When Randy, the funeral director, asked what kind of container I would like to have for Mike to be moved from the hospital to the crematorium, I was like, "Mike? That body is not Mike."

I've tried to explain it this way: I feel like towards the end, his physical body insulted who he was. His body disrespected him and his spirit/soul/identity (whatever the f*ck you want to call it). For those of you around in that last week, you understand what I mean. His physical body was so so far from who he really was. I have no need to honor the body. I would like to celebrate the person.

Plus, Mike's a self-proclaimed "cheap bastard." As I signed the dotted line to order the cheapest box they have to transport the body from one building to another, I could imagine Mike saying, "That's my girl!" He's proud of me and of all us. I can feel it all around me.



Anonymous said...

I have no hard copy pictures of Mike, but I do have a picture in my mind. Everytime I saw Mike he would walk towards me, no particular expression on his face, and then open his arms and give me a big bear hug. It's a nice memory to keep.
Take care of you.

Anonymous said...

Danna - I'm sure I have pictures of a very young Mike and I will try to track them down... Was that Friday the morning he went to say goodbye to Baxter - I can't get that image out of my head.

In a crazy kismet note, did you or anyone see the Thursday Styles section of the New York Times today? Article called "It's my funeral and I'll serve ice cream if I want to." You and Mike are so *right now* baby. Hugs, Anne

Anonymous said...

I must say that I was anticipating struggling in my attempt to leave you with words of consolation over losing Mike, but instead, I found you more incredible than ever in having found him. I hope he continues to bring you peace, inspiration, joy and much laughter.
Jenn Marckres

beth said...

I just wanted to say that I freaking love that you picked the cheapest box for the body-formerly-known-as-Mike. You go, my friend.



PS - The ricecake looked good to the doc today at the sonogram. :)

Anonymous said...

Danna & Baxter
Our love and prayers we send your way....having only met Mike once at Scott & Liz's wedding, we did not know him well, but the story you have written of him here tells of the wonderful man, husband, father, friend he was. Remember him that way, party for him! And know he is and forever shall be watching over you and Baxter.
All our love
Danielle, John, Jack & Ellie Woods

Anonymous said...

For the past several days I've been thinking of how to say everything I want to say to you and I finally realized the best thing to do was just sit down and say it. You have touched my life with your words, story, strength, humor, poise, and character. I admire the way you have handled this whole tragic situation, and how you continue to handle it today. You have reminded me how important it is to be able to laugh, even at the most difficult times.

I didn't know the "real" Mike but I love reading the stories about him. I laugh out loud reading some of the things he's said. You have a great way of describing it. ( You really should consider publishing this blog one day).

Because of you and Mike, I look at things a little differently now. You have opened my eyes and my world in a way that I can't quite put into words right now but trust me when I say, it's a really good thing.

Your friends and family sound like an incredible group of people who love and adore you and I'm glad you're surrounded by them at this difficult time.

On Tuesday night I went to hear Gerda Weisman Klein, a Holocaust survivor, speak at a local synogauge. She said "even the darkest nights are followed by the brightest dawns". I hope you find strength in this. You are in the thoughts of so many people Danna. Your story has affected so many. Mike sounds like he was amazing person. It's no wonder he fell in love with you.

All my best,
Ellen (speech pathologist)

Alice and Martie said...


Your understanding of where you're at now is so commendable.

Alice and Martie

Mary Fritsch said...

Dear Dana: Been away having transplant and just home now. Found out about Mike through my Tashie who has been reading your blog weekly too, I think you really impressed my college daughter by your courage. So I have no words to ease your pain or loss of who is clearly a wonderful man that touched the world of so many and who simply wanted to make us laugh and live. Those are the memories I will have of Mike Young. Now you might say who I am I to say I have never met this man but clearly I feel I have through your eyes and others who have been his very close friends through this blog.

Remember the quality of life you have given this man, this father, this friend and celebrate his life so hard that would make Mike so proud in the months to come. That my dear is really taking the world by the tail and the best tribute you could provide Mike.

You are a phenomenal woman, ask your Mom, she can share the poem I gave her at my tea party when she came to Wisconsin - you are that woman! My family is so lucky to know you and your family - we have clearly been touched by this experience you have been through.

Our love to all...live strong

The Fritsch's

Anonymous said...


Few things in life have simultaneously moved me to tears and laughter -- the stories about Mike from you and your fabulous friends and family are among them. It is so clear that your love for each other and for Baxter have made the world a better place.

I LOVE that you are having a celebration in honor of Mike's life and spirit rather than a formal funeral. So perfect!

All our love,
Jenny, Doug, Madalyn & Alicia

Anonymous said...

Dear Dana,
I was out of town for a few days and I just found out about your terrible loss. I was hoping to find out that Mike pulled through. What an agonizing time for you, your family and all the staff that have become close to you. The waves of sorrow are felt at Magee, also.
I am glad, though that you feel he is with you. I am sure that is comforting.
You honored who he was everyday with your loving, tireless presence at his side. The images of his sickness will fade and you will remember the best parts of your life together. It is brilliant that you are actively gathering pictures and things to help this process. I am so sorry your life together ended too soon. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your son.
Kathy Murray

Anonymous said...

You are in my prayers,all the time. You don't know how much you and your story have effected my life. In a time where we don't take the time to smell a rose, or watch a sunset. You have shown me that it's all worth doing now and again. We sometimes miss the small things when everything else seems to drown them out. We all must take notice that we should be thankful of the little things in life like LOVE, FAMILY, and most importantly FRIENDS.(extended family) I believe you have touched more people that you know with your poise and grace. I still want to go to put a weave in your hair and hang out;-).you are my sister and if you need anything, even if its a ear please call.


Don said...

Tonight I happened to go through my CSz folder in my Outlook mailbox. Lo and behold are a number of emails from Mike. Reading them is an odd experience - he is funny, optimistic, subtle and clear. So, Mike.

They made me sad and happy at the same time. It's a moment of him that I can revisit and experience whenever I want.

I though a lot about the following. It is the final paragraph from Mike's first update email before Danna took over. I know most of you read it. It shook me but also made me smile. Here's Miguel on December 6, 2005:

I must say I’ve been deeply moved by the generosity and loving concern shown by so many people. I thank each of you who sent an email, phoned, or just sent a kind thought for my recovery. I am humbled by the depth of your care for my well-being. In some ways, it’s been a chance to understand what my funeral might be like, without the inconvenience of actually dying. I am so fortunate to be a member of your community, and thank you for your friendship.

Warm regards,

We know we are loved but how often do we experience it? It seems Mike did. I hope it comforted him somewhat.

Cara said...

I have this wonderful image of you. Here's this army -- this benevolent army -- of people out here who adore you and Mike. We're all struggling with grief and there you are, leading us all, with your magnificent grace. ("F*cked up with grace," wasn't it??) You're keeping us from despair. It's incredible. We want to help you, and yet you are helping us. You're redefining how we look at love, life, loss and rising above all that is bad.
How the heck did you do that!?@? Many thanks...and I hope we all can return the favor in spades.

Anonymous said...


This rots.

See you soon.

Bob Lazzell.