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Memories of Michael Miller's Sister, Alison

To Michael Miller,

While unpacking one day, I discovered a cache of old tapes in a forgotten box (many of them had Mike's messy handwriting on them). Looking at the tapes, I recalled Mike's obsession with making the perfect mixed tape. Which, according to Mike, was a fluid simulation of different artists and sounds.

I think that Mike realized early on that he would never become a famous, or even competent musician, so he decided to funnel his dream of musical aptitude into becoming a devoted audiophile. And I'd say he succeeded in his "mission", what with his subscription to Spin magazine, his large eclectic music collection, his mixed tape making capabilities, and his devotion to obscure alternative bands.

The only mainstream band that Mike paid any attention to was The Rolling Stones; in fact they were his all time favourite. I think he could relate to their dark, slightly depressive music. Also, in Mike's mind, Keith Richards was a guitar god. Consequently, Mike was very proud of his near complete collection of Stones LP's.

Mike had the ability to adapt and alter his planned course in many different situations. He modified his love of playing music into a passion for collecting and listening to music. Another example of Mike's easygoing, flexible personality was his interesting and varied post-secondary accomplishments. After Mike received a BA in psychology, he paused to consider his options, including various master's programs, such as psychology, computer science and law. After much consideration, Mike altered his educational path and entered into Health Information Science. After graduation Mike received a job in California, where he adapted to life and work in a very high paced, competitive market.

However, the one thing that Mike was never able to fully adapt to, or even accept was his mental illness (he was bipolar). Mike's mental illness would not allow him to utilize his adaptive capabilities, instead it preyed on his perfectionism.

Perfectionism was a large part of Mike's personality; it enabled him to accomplish a great deal in his short life. But, this strength was also a weakness, and it was used against him by a very aggressive illness. The perfectionist part of Mike's personality viewed his mental illness as something shameful, which should be hidden from the world.

Mike was an intelligent, capable individual. He was poised on the cusp of a fascinating, career/life... and questions remain, what went so wrong? What pushed Mike over the edge? What caused Mike to see suicide as his only option?

I guess we will never know what Mike was thinking on that tragic day. But I hope that Mike did not die feeling lost and alone, but I fear that he did. Hopefully, Mike can now, somehow, remember or feel our love and respect for him.

Mike, I think about you every day, and I miss you so much.

Love, your baby sister, Alison

Paddy Miller  |  Mary Kirk  |  Alison Miller  |  Paddy MacLean

Susan MacLean  |  David Bigsby  |  Ken Bauer

Kathryn MacLean  |  Doug Richardson  |  Joan Skillings


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