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Michael Norman Meyer Memorial Fund Eulogy

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Eulogy for Michael Norman Meyer

Thank you all for coming to help us honor, love and celebrate the life of my son, Michael Norman Meyer. He was someone special to all of you – a brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend, running partner, swim teammate, student, tutor, colleague or business associate.  It has been heartwarming to see the outpouring of love and admiration this past month, and to learn there are so many people that he impacted in such a positive way.  It has given me, and his sister, Kira, his aunts and uncles and all of us who loved him best and most, comfort to know this and feel this.

 There are 2 themes today for today’s celebration of life – nature and nurture.  The nature theme is called “Take the Scenic Route”. Michael loved nature and spent as much time outdoors as possible.  He bought a key chain for his first car and carried a dog tag saying “take the scenic route”.  We have a basket of those key chains in the back of the room and invite each of you to take one as a memory of Michael. 

 The nurture theme is all about kindness.  Words that describe Michael – that we heard over and over through cards and texts and facebook posts…….fantastic friend, brilliant, kind, patient, fun loving, dedicated, inspirational, high energy, well-liked, great sense of humor, quirky, good manners, and thoughtful, but most of you already know this because you are the ones that said these things.  Your words and the stories shared inspired me to create a memorial fund in Michael’s name.  It is called the Michael Norman Meyer Memorial Fund for Kindness.  The website will be:

www.michaelmeyerforkindness.org.

 Some of you have already contributed to a fund sponsored by Collin Sullivan (Sully) who couldn’t be here today.  Mike and Sully had an epic XC run at Lake Park – kind of like chariots of fire.  It was an awe inspiring achievement for both of them.  And I’m sure coach Bos remembers that one as well. We have decided the first initiative for the fund will be a park bench somewhere in our area along the trails that all the runners train on. It will have a memorial plaque stating that is was donated in his name.

 Another donation to the fund will come from the company named Karma that makes those dog tag inspirational keychains.  They are donating a % of their November sales to the fund.

 I am now going to turn the mic over to Kira, Michael’s sister who will deliver our eulogy.  After Kira, Pastor Martha will say a few words and offer a prayer.  Martha’s son Michael, was a good friend of our Michael throughout his life.  Then Mike’s uncles, Matt and Phil will each say a few words.  Lastly, if anyone else would like to speak and share some thoughts or memories about Michael, feel free to come up.   We will have an open mic.

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 Kira and I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the best way to present and share our family memories of Michael. So many emotions coursed through us – pain and grief of course, then feelings of guilt, regrets, and overwhelming sadness. It seemed all consuming with no way forward, but after a while it occurred to me that the best way to move forward would be to focus on the all the positive things about Michael’s time on earth, as not only my son, but also all the things he was to so many others,.  So rather than become consumed by grief over the fact he is gone, and that we did not have more time together, and that he will never marry or have children, it slowly became clear that the best way to honor Michael’s life is to instead create a legacy that will carry on his best attributes.  His kindness, his brilliant inquiring mind, his patience and support for the underdog.

 We have chosen to reflect on the positive. On the fact that he was a gift, that I was blessed to have the honor to raise this little boy into the man he became, that I had 22 years to teach him to walk, to talk, use silverware, swim, ride a bike, to write in cursive, to drive and let’s not forget to invest in the stock market.  His first trade was his idea, to buy the emerging electronic car company Tesla.  And he made a killing.  He also taught himself to build fantastical legos and then robots, and then a computer from scratch – when he was 12. He was very artistic too. The music teacher in 4th grade really tried to insist that Mike continue the cello because he was so talented.  But the cello was almost bigger than Mike and he didn’t love practicing.  Then the 6th grade art teacher, said “Mike you have such talent, you should pursue a career in art.” But by then he had discovered competing in athletics, running and swimming, and computer programming, and there was no going back.  He was going to spend his time on sports, academics, and technology and that is where his laser intensity and focus went for the next 10 years.

 Michael was born in Kirov, Russia, grew up in St. Charles, Il, graduated summa cum laude in Champagne, Il, accepted an offer from Facebook for his first job out of college, and in July moved to Seattle.  He could have gone anywhere but chose to live and work in the great Pacific Northwest.  He spent his last moments doing what he loved to do, experiencing the beauty and serenity of nature. However, know that his spirit is here with us right now.

 Mike completed his undergraduate studies at U of I in 3 ½ semesters, which included a semester in Stockholm Sweden.  Although he finished classes in December 2017, he chose to participate in the ceremony with his graduating class in May this year and I was so glad he did.  He was part of the group that received the Bronze Tablet University honors – its highest recognition for undergraduate excellence. I know it meant a lot to him that his name will forever be on the wall that honors students that received straight A’s during the entire course of study.  He obtained a BS in computer science and a math minor. He then spent the first 6 months of this year on travel and exploration of himself physically, psychologically, spiritually and intellectually.

 Michael lived large.  I learned over the years that he actually enjoyed pushing himself to extremes -both physically and intellectually and in computer programming.  We started saying that he liked to live on the “edge”, and he didn’t deny it.

 Here is a partial list of His loves and interests:

  • Running, biking, hiking, swimming, skiing, boating, fishing
  • He always preferred to take “the scenic route”
  • Computers – both to build to program and to create
  • Building things from scratch – skate boards, swords, bird houses, you name it – he tried it.
  • Inventions – tons of things he tried to create – I kept hoping the next one would be the $1million dollar idea, and then after a few years, it became the $1 billion dollar idea. But alas, Kira and I are still working as his ideas didn’t get bought out by silicon valley.
  • He had no fear of experimenting or breaking things
  • He had Infinite patience – both with people and his projects
  • Life was a journey of constant self-discovery
  • Taught himself Japanese – not only to speak but to write
  • Starting learning the piano – self-taught too
  • Exploring spiritualism
  • He was so kind to all, especially any one or any animal he perceived as needed support
  • He was so kind he never wanted to say “no”.  I teased him that he is the only person on earth that has 100 ways to disagree without every saying no. A
  • He found his existence profoundly complex.

 Michael had a special mental acuity – a preternatural genius.  Complex analysis seemed to come naturally, from within.  He also had some kind of extrasensory perception. Here is one example: we call it the baby bunny story.  And it is unbelievable so bear with us.  Mike was mowing the back yard lawn and wearing headphones.  Everyone knows how loud the lawnmower is, right? But he came into the house and stated he found a warren of baby bunnies. We went out and saw a hole in the ground with baby bunnies no larger than your index finger, eyes not open.  But Mike insisted he “heard’ them crying and that is why he stopped mowing over that spot.  So we think it is clear he heard or felt something no normal person could have identified.

 Michael’s physical being left this earth on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.  He was alone when it happened, but we believe he had spiritual support with him.  He took a hike to see the sunrise up 1200 vertical feet to the top of Rattlesnake Ridge in King County WA.  He was only 22. He had such magnificent potential for a bright future and this is the greatest tragedy of all – that we, all of us, including the world at large will no longer benefit from his incredible capabilities and intellectual drive to achieve.

 He made a difference. He was a quiet leader.  His life was a journey of constant self-discovery and improvement.

So in Mike’s memory, let us all feel gratitude for yesterday, strength for today and hope for tomorrow.