This morning I woke up to heavy grey skies with the threat of rain. Today is Mike Slagles funeral and the weather suits my mood.
“Would you rather drive than ride?” Thomas ask’s me. “Cuz I ‘m on the line.”
We were sitting on the patio looking out over the arroyo and the clouds are rolling in over the mountain, getting deeper and blacker.
“Riding, I am not on the line.” I say.
Today, Mikes little ones and his fiance Sonja will say their final goodbyes, A mother will close this final chapter of her life with her son. Behind them will be a thousand people. They will fill the sanctuary and the lobby, they will sit in the front of the church in the cold and the rain. They will speak of him in whispers, with tears and with laughter, heavy hearts, angst and fear and every other conceivable emotion known to man kind,
The sanctuary smelled of leather, the lighting was low and the music was warm and played softly in the back ground. We greeted our friends Jon and Ruth, I gave Garrett a big hug. He hung onto me for a long moment as I gave him my condolences on the loss of his friend and coworker.
My personal experience with Mike was brief. But what you saw immediately was more than his tattoos. It was the light in his eyes and the smile on his face when he spoke, I did not have the pleasure of knowing Mike intimately the way others did. That alone makes me sad.
As I sat for the more than two-hour service I watched as Mike Slagle’s life passed before my eyes. Mike was a good man, the proof was in the pictures. There are some things that can not be faked. The look in a mans eyes when he loves his children, the sweetness of him cradling a new innocent life in his hands.
“You are my child and I will cherish and protect you always,”
Each picture told the story of a young mans life and the wisdom that he had, was far greater than his years.
“I am a man, I worship Sonja, I adore my children, my mother is my hero and my friends are my brothers and sisters, we are family… and family is more than blood.”
As each friend, colleague and family member spoke, the puzzle pieces fell together, The truth of Mike Slagle and his character unfolded in all of its rawness. No one tried to paint him as perfection, as someone who led a life that was exemplary. But there was one common thread among them all. It was the way he made other men feel about their own lives and desire to be better men, It was his ability as a team leader and the way he pulled people into his life and gave them something they needed.
He touched and saved those who maybe never even knew that they needed anyone. From a frightened child moving into Mikes neighborhood, to a former American soldier trying to make his way back to civilization after combat. Mike gave others hope where they thought there was none. He encouraged others to do better, to be better, love harder, be better father’s and friends and lovers and sons. Among those who knew him best he was a light and pillar of strength, Young and old alike looked up to him as a mentor.
Even to the Quaid family, in the short time Mike was employed with them, they grew a deep bond as Father and Son and Brother.
It is unfortunate that this life of 27 years is gone. It is clear that he did so much in those years. What could he have done with another 50? Was his life cut short thereby to inspire others to greatness? To inspire others to not look back, to be kinder, to dream bigger or simply through his death to teach us life lessons.
At a point In Mikes life, he took stock of his life, what he had in it. what he wanted and what he was missing. It was then that he made changes and redirected his and his families lives.
We all hope that we make this kind of impact on the world within our family and among our coworkers and communities. But the truth is, it ‘s rare to see what I witnessed today, and I think it will be a long time if ever, that I see it again.
Love & Respect
Please join the Family and Friends of Mike Slagle in a Memorial Ride that will benefit his fiance and his children.
Today I sat with over 1,000 attendees, mourning the loss of an amazing young man. As I sat and listened to friends and family speak and tell stories of a life of struggles and victories, I found myself nodding my head as if I had personally witnessed this life.
The truth be told, my entire relationship with Mike Slagle could only fill one hour of my own life. Yes, one whole hour, 60 minutes during a business transaction. Oddly, I walked out of the Harley Dealership feeling as though I had made a friend for life… Actually, Mike made a friend for life. What I realized as I listened to so many who knew and loved Mike was that, one simple hour with him created a feeling of lifelong friendship for many.
His demeanor, his gift of humor, his rough appearance with an air of kindness and wisdom far beyond his 27 years drew people to him just to share his enthusiasm for living. 21 years my junior, I found Mike’s life experiences and accomplishments enviable. Mike spread happiness while experiencing personal pain, he gave protection and safety to others while fearing for his own legacy. He helped thousands obtain their dream while losing his own dream of raising his young family.
I pray for peace upon his family and blessings unimaginable. I think to myself how amazing this young man was and would have continued to be. Four times in my life I have made this comment, this being the fourth… Mike Slagle is a good human; and there are far too few in our world. We are less of a community and the world is less of good place with the loss of Mike.
Ride in Peace my friend, Love and Respect.
You can also help by making a donation here on the donation page kindly set up by Amy Quaid, or buy a T-shirt at Quaid HD. The RIP Mike Slagle shirts are 20.00 with all proceeds going to the family. Shirts are cash only.
~ James Dicky