|| 06.30.09 | News | By Corine Tran
|Its OK to ask about Michael and how we are doing. Actually avoiding bringing him up makes us more uncomfortable then when people do bring him up.
Keeping his memory alive is important to us. Pretending this never happened by not mentioning him at all feels wrong. Sometimes we are left feeling like we shouldn't bring him up. But we like talking about him and how can we not. He was a constant in our lives for so long that has been taken away, to not talk about him is to ignore the life we had with him.
For those that continue to ask, thank you.
Ethan's Girlfriend Mia
|Sarah & Mia stopped by today and I couldn't resist taking a few pictures. Her real photo shoot will happen next week!
|Tonight Kayleigh says
"Aunt Corine, I want Uncle Mike back"
Hmmm.... He cant come back sweetie
"But we should go pick him up"
Pick him up from where?
"hes on vacation and we should go get him"
"ok, he can stay in heaven to keep Lucky company"
Twice a week, sometimes more I pick up Kayleigh from summer camp and then I go get Ethan. He is so excited when he gets in the car and see Kay. He has started to try to say her name. It sounds so cute. He says lots of words now, Mommy, Daddy, Ong Noi, Apple, Ball, puppy, eye, Ashley and others. He doesnt't always talk though and never when I seem to want him too.
Dayna and I have the same problem. We try to get our kids to talk, because we know they can and then nothing! Its like, I promise I am not lying, my kid CAN talk!
Ethan and Kayleigh color together. She is like a big sister. I give her snacks when she gets home, watermelon, animal crackers, cereal or whatever she wants. She always says, "What about Ethan?" and then she shares hers with him. She feeds him too. She is so good with little kids. It makes me sad to think of the day when she outgrows him. I know there will come a day when she is too old to play with him.
The pregnancy is going well. Lots and lots of baby movement. I think way more then I felt with Ethan and I felt it earlier too. Im tired a lot, but cant sleep. I get heartburn but I think its worse when I dont eat. Speaking of eating, I love watermelon. First it was rootbeer floats, now its watermelon. So this pregnancy is very similar to Ethan. But how do you not eat cold watermelon in this hot summer weather? Its just so good and refreshing! Reminds me of summer time at my grandma's old house in Menlo Park. My grandparents had a pool and we would swim and eat watermelon.
Last night I went and saw The Proposal with Dayna and Brandi. Hilarious! It was worth the wait, i think we saw the first preview like 5 months ago.
Now I am anxiously awaiting The Time Travelers Wife. Loved the book!
From Your Sister, Ashley
|| 06.18.09 | News | By Corine Tran
|Michael, Brother, you are everything to me. I still can't believe it all. I remember Sunday night leaving your house.The last thing we said to each other was "see you later". I got in a fight with Pac that night. You were the first one i wanted to call, I needed someone to pick me up. It was about 2:30am. I should've called you. Maybe none of this would've happened. Maybe none of us would feel the way we feel now. Maybe you would've felt wanted, and needed.
Monday morning I had to wake mom up so she could bring me to register Kayleigh for summer camp because my car was in the autoshop. We were up at 6:30am. I heard the door bell ring and at first I thought nothing of it. Then i realized, "it's way too early for anyone to be at the door" I ran to the front, still trying to put my shirt on worried about mom. I saw two police officers, mom said they wanted to talk to me. The first thing i thought of was "shit, did i get another ticket?" Then everything was all kind of a blur, I didn't really hear what they asked but all i heard was "Phu Michael Tran" so the next thing that ran in my head was "this boy got in trouble" or "they reminding him about court"
Then I heard "he was on the I10 and got hit by a truck" mom started crying and asked "is he dead?" the cop said "yes ma'am"
Then it all hit me. I fell down.. I couldn't believe it. I thought you were just injured and in the hospital. I didn't believe you were gone. I still don't It's all so so so surreal.
I break down everyday when I visit you. First thing Kayleigh says when she walks in the door is "Hi Michael!" she never calls you "uncle Michael" its always "Michael" or "my Michael"
You picked me up everyday from school since i could remember. From middle school all through high school. Then you started to pick up Kayleigh from school almost everyday.
So weird huh? Kayleigh and Ethan adores you so much.
When I think about you, when I visit you. I just get this rush of emotions. I get mad, upset, pissed off. Why did you leave? You were supposed to teach Kayleigh how to play the guitar. You won't be at my wedding. You won't be at Kayleigh's graduation. You won't be there to scare off the boys that come by the house to take her out. You're supposed to be there for all of us, like you always were. But that's just me being selfish...
I tell myself you're in a better place. I tell myself it didn't hurt when it happened. I tell myself that you will always be here and always looking down. You will be our gaurdian angel. But at the same time. I'm still hurt.
I get hurt because you know we all are always here for you. I picked up your phone call no matter what time of day. I feed you, I wash your clothes....
I miss seeing you asleep on my couch. I miss you randomly showing up at my work and buying you lunch. I miss you telling me all your little issues. I miss calling you and telling you about my issues, and you always making me feel stupid about them.
I remember I started calling you "brother" and you went back and called me "sis". I told you not to say that because it sounded weird. But those were our little jokes with each other. I miss your steaks loaded with garlic powder. Not garlic, but garlic powder, and always running to the bathroom halfway through the meal.
You taught me alot. Alot of things I probably should've never learned. You talked me into doing things for you and I could never say "no". Alot of times I put my life on the line for you, and always thought to myself "the things my brother gets me into" but i knew it was to help you. I knew you needed me to do it because you couldn't think of anyone else to. Recently I felt like I was the big sister sometimes and I didn't mind at all. "He's my brother" i would say.
I remember telling you "You're not so pretty" everytime you would groom yourself in the mirror. I always watch you while you get dressed. Even when i was a little girl. I remember the time you asked me for mascara and I said I didn't have any. ( I was too young to wear makeup) Then I followed you and you took moms, and you put it on. I made fun of you so bad! You said the girls in beauty school told you you would look good with mascara on. You are so damn crazy, you know that?
That's the best quality about you. You never cared what people thought about you. Blue,red, white, green hair. Tattoos, peircings, you had no shame. You knew your personality would shine through your appearance. Everyone loves you. Everyone will miss you. Everyone will talk about you. I love you Michael. I wish I could've told you this before.
When i was little, I used to have nightmares about you. Every year like clock work. I don't remember exactly what time of year it was, but it would be the same nightmare. It was about loosing you. It was only you and I in the dream. For some reason I guess I knew it was coming. I knew I would loose you. I never thought it would be like this. I'm so sorry if I couldn't do anything to make you feel better. If i couldn't make you feel safe. I pray you are doing well now. I pray it didn't hurt. I pray you will always be around and keep us all safe, because you are always good at that. You always were helpful and the first one to be there. I know You still are.
My brother, Rest in Peace now. For now you are safe. I love you.
Reminders of You
|Im culling through a wedding tonight, Im a little late getting to it. At first Bee was going to do it but when I realized it was a wedding that Mike had helped Beebe with I decided maybe I should do it.
Going through the images, these are not perfect. Some of them are so blurry and the color so wrong, but it shows two brothers together and so we love them.
Our home hasn't been the same lately. This cloud hangs over us, not really a constant sadness, but more a constant knowing that something is missing. Mike didn't spend a tremendous amount of time at our house so its not a day to day presence we miss but more the fact of the permanence of death. There was a permanence to their relationship, the same with Ashley. They are siblings and have always been there for each other, in one way or another. They thought they would grow old together, raise their kids together, continue to laugh and cry together. I think we all grow knowing some day we will lose our parents because of the age and the way time takes people, but you never think you are going to lose a sibling.
I know there are random times in the day when Bee wants to pick up the phone and call his brother and he goes to the phone and stands there with it in hand and then puts it down realize there is no one to call. I pretend not to notice this error, its his moment.
We have not disconnected Mikes phone yet. Not for any particular reason but just because there has been so much going on. Sometimes Mike still gets texts from friends.
"I miss you"
and the one that I cant read without crying:
"Come meet me out, I have so much to tell you..."
There are reminders of Mike everywhere.
Some of you will laugh, others might think its weird, but some of you will totally get it when I say flatulence (of all things) is one of those reminders.
Ethan grabs the Wii remote and yells "weeee" while pretending to bowl. He loved wii bowling with Mike. Because of Mike and him letting Ethan playing (or throw) the remotes, i dont think there is a working wii remote in the house. But its ok, no one really played but Mike and Ethan anyway.
It's funny how some people think that things should be better after only a few weeks. Other people can be so insensitive, it surprises us. Others are so supportive and loving it also surprises us. So many good and bad surprises.
|The last 3 weeks have really gone by so quickly.
I had the best birthday party EVER. Seriously, my husband threw me a mini wedding for my 30th birthday. I had a reception venue, a live band (Bucktown Allstars WOW), a huge Louie Vuitton purse cake, and the best of all, so many of my wonderful friends.
I was really surprised and really felt so dumb. Even after everyone yelled surprised I continued to be confused. Wait, are we not shooting a wedding? I even drove my own car so I could leave early and go pick up Ethan who I had not seen all weekend because of the 5 weddings we had already photographed.
As silly as I felt, I had a good time. I don't like being the center of attention, but it was awesome. When we left everyone that night, we thanked everyone, hugged everyone and kissed everyone goodbye. That included Mike. We didn't know then that we would really be kissing him goodbye forever.
"Ethan, kiss uncle Mike bye bye"
It was about 7am on my actual birthday that someone was banging on the door and ringing the doorbell over and over again. Anyone who knows Beebe and I... or well just knows me, we are NOT out of bed that early. Heck I dont get out of bed some days until 10am. We seriously thought it was one of those people who delivers subpoenas because it seems they come super early and practically break down your down. We laid in bed and ignored it. It stopped for a second and then it started again and then we heard Pac yelling for Beebe. Then my cell phone started to ring. My mother in law was calling us and when I answered she was hysterical saying "Michael is dead" over and over. It was the beginning of this surreal new life without Mike.
I just remember saying "oh my god, oh my god, what do you mean, oh my god, we'll be right over, yes, we are coming right now" and Beebe is asking me what is wrong as he puts on jeans to go answer the door. I can't even remember how I said it to him after hanging up with his mom. Was I calm? Did I sit back on the bed? Did I blurt it out? Neither of us can remember what I said. We just remember throwing Ethan, still in PJ's in his car seat and heading directly to Bee's parents house. Why can I remember what I was saying on the phone to Bee's mom but can't remember what I said to Bee? But its still so clear in my head exactly what Bee's mom was saying, how she was saying it and how I responded. I guess some things will remain a blur.
I remember calling Ashley and asking her what was going on. She was calm, in denial, registering Kayleigh for summer camp at St. Christopher's. She said the state troopers came and told them Mike had been walking on I10 and was hit by a truck and killed. She'd be home as soon as she was done at Kayleighs school. She was so oddly calm, keeping it together for her daughter. Beebe was oddly calm as well. We all had things to do, there wasn't time for being sad or thinking about what happened.
When Beebe got through to the coroners office he had to ID Mike. We did not need to come in person he said, they just wanted us to describe some of Mike's tattoos.
"He has a dragon on his left arm, He had a dragon and a phoenix on his back, he just got a new tattoo of a M to cover....."
"Thats enough, its him"
And just like that we knew for certain.
Bee went inside the house to tell his parents. I stayed outside. I really felt like I couldn't breath. How do you ID someone by tattoo? How do you never see a picture or a face or anything. To just be told, its him and have it be so concrete and certain. I called Chad because Dayna didn't answer. He knew right away from my voice that something was very wrong and I just told him there's been an accident and Michael died. He was shocked and it was then Dayna finally was calling me back. By the time I switched over to her I could barely speak.
We made several other calls to close friends and asked that they tell our other close friends for us but for the most part not to spread the word too much. We didn't want to get bombarded with calls. I think we were still in denial and each time we talked about it, it became more real.
We picked up Bee's parents to go collect Mike's belongings from the coroners office. One of our future brides works there, but Bee didn't see her. He did see the mother of a bride whose wedding we already photographed. She was so sorry.
The only piece of jewelry recovered was a mignon faget cross necklace that is actually Beebe's. It was in a manila envelope with his broken glasses, passport, wallet and car key. His mom a few months ago bought Bee a cross necklace from Tiffany's so he stopped wearing the mignon faget one and instead had it hanging from his rear view mirror. When he and Mike were working a wedding together Mike asked if he could wear it. Bee said sure. Mike was welcome to have it, we never thought we would get it back like this.
As word got out our cell phones were ringing nonstop, text messages coming every few minutes. At one point I turned off my phone.
|We had so many tasks to complete. Beebe and I went to Mikes house to pick out clothes for the funeral. Being in his house without him seemed strange, it felt like any second he was going to walk in and wonder why we were going through his clothes. He was going to see Ethan and yell "geep geep!"
I think you become numb during the process. There are things to do, no time to cry. Maybe it was good for us, good for Beebe. I don't know.
We had relatives to pick up from the airport. Family and Friends were flying in from all over the country. I set to making the program for the service, contacting Father Bob who married Beebe and I and baptized Ethan. We had to get Mikes clothes from the dry cleaners, go to the printer, meet up with friends from out of town, call everyone we could think of to see who had talked to Mike last. We were busy. We were tired. When we laid in bed at night we were exhausted but we couldn't sleep.
Ive never seen Beebe's mom cry. I've never seen Ashley cry. This crushed me. But It was nothing like seeing Beebe's dad cry. How do you lose a child? Having my own, I can't even fathom it.
In the past few weeks, I have notcied the way I bath Ethan, the way I cuddle him. The way his hair smells, the way his breath smells. The way he runs around with delight, the way he cries. The way I comfort him and I can't stop the tears thinking Bee's parents did all these things with their children. Held them, cuddled them and watched them grow the way we are watching Ethan grow. How they must reflect on these memories and know they will never smell their sweet boy again, they will never hear his laugh.
|The service was nice. There were so many people. I think Beebe and I walked around in a daze. Greeting people, hugging people, trying not to cry.
We couldn't have an open casket. I think this has really hurt Beebe because he never got to say goodbye properly. Many people say he would not have wanted to see him like that, but I really think my husband would like to have seen something, even if it was just his hand to hold. But he couldn't even have that. I often feel like he is still in some denial. Is it harder to accept the death of a loved one if you cant see a body? How do you say goodbye to a box? HOW?
We brought Mike home on June 8th. He was cremated.
So why am I writing this? Because I dont want to forget.
I've printed the newspaper article. I've collected all these pictures. I printed everything written on facebook and our website. We've made a folder. How sad a life has been reduced to a folder.
We'll never know what you were doing on I10 at 430am. Our questions will never be answered. We are sad and angry you are gone. Sometimes it doesn't seem real. We really do sometimes expect you to come walking through the door. I find these funny pictures of you from weddings and want to show you. I guess I still can.
You are everywhere, reminding us that you are looking down. Another random image. Did you take this of yourself? I think you did