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Paddy MacLean, Mike's Cousin, Remembering

A bench has been dedicated to Mike in Lethbridge, Alberta. The following was read at the bench dedication on August 03. 2001, one year after Mike died:

From the time Michael was just a few months old Lethbridge was an integral part of his life. I remember vividly waiting for the plane to arrive bringing Michael for his first visit. I was so excited about my new cousin and when I saw him I thought he was the cutest thing I had ever seen.

As Michael grew he spent countless hours each summer in Lethbridge staying with his Grandpa and Grandma, swimming in Iris and Ted's pool and just hanging out with Sue and Kath. And of course the best Christmases were those when Paddy and the kids could be here.

But there is one particular summer that holds very special meaning for me. In early June 1985 Michael came to Coaldale to live with Peter and me. He was sixteen at the time and he had been struggling with a depression that just wouldn't lift. The day after he arrived he and I were driving into Lethbridge and I told him that we had taken the liberty of making an appointment with a doctor whom we thought could help him. He looked out the side window and didn't say anything but he went to that appointment and subsequent appointments and in about three weeks he began to feel better and his energy and enthusiasm returned.

It was at this time that he and Peter decided that Michael should learn how to drive and Peter would be his teacher. Each night Michael got another lesson and more practice BUT Peter made it clear that Michael would not be a true driver until he was able to drop one wheel of the car - into the ditch - at road speed - and recover from it.

Finally the night came when Peter felt Michael was ready to attempt this ultimate feat. Out the door they went - I stayed home because I was far too nervous. About twenty minutes later they walked back into the house both with smiles on their faces. Peter's smile was one of self satisfaction - his job was done. He could rest, now confident that he could send Michael out on the highways of this world. Michael's smile was one of - I did it- I don't know why I did it - but it sure made Pete happy.

So you see what had started out as an effort to provide Mike with a change of scenery in hopes of easing his struggle turned into a deeply enriching experience for us. Each day we were treated to Mike's keen intellect and terrific sense of humour all delivered in his kind and gentle manner. When the end of August came that year Michael returned to Victoria and stepped back into high school and embarked on what was to be a highly successful university career and ultimately career.

Our visits with Mike over those years were limited to those all too short summer vacations and a few hectic days at Christmas each year but that was okay because I had a little piece of Michael tucked away inside my heart from the summer of '85.

This bench will provide a place where his Lethbridge family and friends can sit and spend a few quiet moments remembering our very special Michael.

Paddy MacLean
Paddy is Michael's cousin

Paddy Miller  |  Mary Kirk  |  Alison Miller  |  Paddy MacLean

Susan MacLean  |  David Bigsby  |  Ken Bauer

Kathryn MacLean  |  Doug Richardson  |  Joan Skillings


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