THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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The timing of today’s writing prompt (Who is someone that inspires you and why) left me with two minds. I was thinking about family and friends that had inspired me. I thought of a few sports stars I’ve followed and then maybe a mentor or two I’ve had on the job. I thought about my parents. But then I got a text about an old work friend who was being given last rights and being moved to hospice. Ironically I had just written him a few hours earlier in the day. This news inspired me to select him because he has inspired me these last months.

Shrine of St Anthony off Homewood Road. I use this photo because he used to go to services here. Photo by Mike Hartley

Today I recognize the courage and faith an old friend displayed fighting brutal cancer these past several months. And I don’t use those two words (faith and courage) lightly. I never heard his faith waver. I never heard a complaint about the horrible things that come along with chemo and advanced cancers. As a good friend said to a few of us today “dying is hard work and he has faced things worse than death. I wish his spirit peace and freedom from pain.”

We worked together over 20 years ago but when I heard of his diagnosis I felt the need to reconnect. I try to reach out to others who have to fight cancer and help support and encourage where I can.

One thing he noted right away which is kind of unique but not uncommon in relationships with people who worked at PPC is that despite decades apart, we all pick up like we were together yesterday. So I tried to write often and now I wish I had written more because he said he enjoyed the notes.

Ahh, the old magic of the local newspaper days. I think the ease of these long-term friendships or connections to each other that are rekindled from time to time like close friends who were separated but never stopped loving each other. I think that was for a few reasons like the size of the company 300-400 people, the unusual amount of years we all worked together, and the passion for the work we did. But the final and special factor is that there just seemed to be a lot of special, caring, fun, and loving people there. And he was certainly one of them.

He’s inspiring me to live each day to the fullest. He’s made me think about doing things both professionally and personally before time runs out. He was a man that exuded life and that is a very good trait to try to emulate to fill voices like his that are taken too soon. A gregarious personality with a baritone laugh. A man of many talents and skills. A man that has me evaluating my own faith.

I used the picture above because he told me he went there to “focus on my soul and my faith.” I think I’ll stop by there on my next trip to Columbia and wish his soul well, thank him for his friendship, and that he be granted peace from this cruel situation.

Author: Mike Hartley

With a lifetime and a half in the Newspaper industry I'm preparing for my retirement career as an Artist, Writer, Photographer and Video content provider. I'm a proud father of two wonderful children and I'm still married to the first girl I fell in love with and probably only one that would have me.

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