My Brother Mick

Mick 2

On January 26, 2005 my beautiful brother Mick died suddenly at his home from a heart attack at age 50. I lost one of my best friends on that sad day.

Growing up in a family with eleven people in one small house was awesome but very busy. Unfortunately we couldn’t all become best friends because of our age differences. My brother Mick was two years older than me so we became very close. Our bedrooms were right next to each other and if we both laid at the end of our beds we could see each other and talk until our older siblings, Joan and Jim, came to bed.

We grew up in a neighborhood with lots of kids that played with each other. The older kids included us younger kids in a lot of baseball and hockey games, in snow fort building and in games like Red Light, Green Light in our yards. We had so much fun.

Mick was always goofing off even when he was suppose to be working. Every summer we picked blueberries to help pay for our school clothes. One morning my mom dropped us off at Hyrn’s Blueberry Patch and when she picked us up eight hours later, Mick had goofed off so much that day that he only made 12 cents. Needless to say, he got into trouble with my mom.

Another time I thought Mick would get into trouble is when he would drive me and my three younger sisters to Wednesday night Catechism class at St. Thomas Church. We were all supposed go to the class but Mick skipped every class that year. He would drop us off at church and then head over to McDonald’s and come back to get us when class was over. As far as I know my mom never found out.

Probably the first time I realized how close Mick and I had become was in high school. Mick was very handsome, athletic, had a great personality and was smart but he never acknowledged it. Mick had lots of friends and because of his great personality and looks he had a lot of girls that had crushes on him. I was always so proud to be around him and loved him so much.

Mick had a very frustrating side, too. Mick was stubborn and never realized his full potential. Mick had so many natural gifts but never felt worthy of his gifts. In his senior year he was chosen to be on the homecoming court and when he heard the news he said, “Bob Nolan should have been chosen before me because he has done so much for our class and I don’t deserve it.”

After high school Mick and I remained close. I absolutely adored him and was so proud to call him my brother and my friend but his stubborn ways were getting more frustrating. Mick started to drink a lot and my parents were getting worried about him but I was just plain mad at him because my unselfish brother was now so selfish and was hurting our parents.

One day Mick and I were driving around town and talking and Mick told me a deep dark secret. He said, “Sometimes I can see myself driving really fast down Horton Road and when I get to the end instead of stopping at the cross street, I would like to keep driving fast into the trees.” At that moment I was devastated and felt so helpless but I kept his secret.

While going to school at Eastern Michigan University and working at a local hospital Mick met Jackie who later became his wife. Jackie already had two adorable kids, Eric and Jennifer, and Mick instantly fell in love with all three and they became a beautiful family. Mick eventually adopted Eric and Jennifer as his own. Later they had Jessica and Michael and their family was complete. They moved to Muskegon and I thought Mick had finally found true happiness but I was wrong. Mick started drinking more until Jackie had had enough. Jackie had suggested that we conduct an intervention with Mick so we did. We sat in a private room with a counselor, Jackie, my parents and Mick’s eight siblings all sitting in a circle as we talked with Mick. After our intervention Mick agreed to go into a treatment center.

I remember my dad saying, “If a guy really wants to quit drinking, he should be able to.” But after our whole family was educated on addiction, we all learned it is easier said than done. During that time we all learned a lot about addiction and became less judgmental.

The treatment facility Mick went to didn’t fix everything but it was a good place to start. As the years went on Mick had his ups and downs which affected his family life. I had a chat with Mick not long before Mick died and on that day he had already attended two AA meetings and I asked him why he went to two that day. He said he was starting to struggle more at that time so he was trying  to attend more meetings per day for at least 21 consecutive days. Mick said, “The real struggle with addiction is the thinking and not necessarily the chemical dependancy.” Today I believe Mick’s “thinking” was his biggest problem starting from when he was young.

It baffles me to think that all nine of us kids have the same parents but we are all so different. Mick had every gift imaginable except the gift of self-worth.

Dear Jackie, Eric, Jennifer, Jessica and Michael,

I know your husband/dad was tough on you at times but he loved you all so much. Maybe he never felt he could ever live up to his own expectations of being a good husband and  father.

I love you all.

Rosemary/Aunt Rosemary

I miss Mick but lucky for me every day I get a glimpse of him through Chad, Corey and Bryan because of their laugh and sense of humor, the way they scratch their head, the way they walk, the way they love and their sometimes stubborn ways. My brother Mick loved bigger than most people could ever imagine and touched so many lives and was so loved by all and I’ve missed him every day for nine years.

Mick 1

15 thoughts on “My Brother Mick

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  3. RoseMary, you bring me such wonderful memories! Your brother Mick was like a brother to me; he often visited the farm in the summer and we such good times together; the brother I never had!

    I seldom saw him after college, certainly not after I moved west. I did see him at my father’s funeral. We exchanged email now and again.

    I didn’t know of his problems, I knew only a little about his life, dreams, family after the mid-70’s. We reconnected briefly before he left us.

    Thank you so for the memories and your strength in telling.

    Love you!

  4. Beautiful entry Rosemary. We were blessed with brothers who were humble and our friend. They always had our backs and looked out for us. I think they were as proud of us and loved us as much as we did them. We lost them much too soon and yet I am thankful we had them in our lives to enrich us forever. jill

  5. I never knew he thought about that of me for Homecoming. I was happy all the nominees were my friends and I was happy for them. I’m glad to have been Mick’s friend, as well as you and other members of the Beckman family, all great people. God bless.

  6. It is so strange for me to read about my Dad’s alcohol dependency. Although, I know it was a struggle for him, I can not remember the times where it really took over his life. I think you really hit the nail on the head by mentioning his self worth. He was one of those contagiously likable people that everyone was drawn to, but I don’t think he understood why. I also would have to agree he was not the most easy Dad. Ha. He expected a lot from us, but I certainly learn a lot from him. Thanks for your kind words. I will certainly never forget you coming to Michaels rescue that very sad day. You were a great comfort to me as well. We love you so much Aunt Rosemary.

  7. Oh Rosemary, this made me cry for so many reasons. My own son, who was Eric’s best friend through their childhood years, has suffered the same demons Mick did. Struggles with my son started in his early teens and I shared some of those struggles with Jackie and Mick, only I didn’t realize that Mick had those same struggles. My son is doing great now and I am very proud of him, but those deamons that alcoholics carry never fully go away and loved ones often live in fear of them recurring. I also felt so sad for not realizing what Eric may have been going through, he spent many nights at my home growing up and I grew to love him like one of my own. I still do and I am so happy he found love and happiness with Jessica, she is a treasure! It’s really amazing to see the “circle of life” and how these young men have grown up to be good fathers, Mick contributed to that and I know Eric loved him so very much. A few years back I got to know Jackie better and while I don’t see her these days, I always enjoyed her company and consider her a friend. I so enjoy your wonderful writings Rosemary, they always touch my heart! Continued prayers for your continued strenght.

  8. Mick was a good man… I had a lot of respect for him growing up. Eric and I hung out a lot growing up and Mick was great about encouraging us to hunt, fish and enjoy the great outdoors…. Thinking back to October of 1990, I was 13 years old bow hunting down at the river and was so thankful that Mick was hunting down there that night. I shot my first deer and Mick was so patient in helping me find it. Not only did he help me find that monster doe but he was the one that taught me how to dress a deer and helped me drag it out. A memory I will never forget. On occasion, to this day, every time I go out behind riverside park I think of him. He had a nice little spot in the pines that he loved to hunt. In fact, about 4 years ago I saw the biggest 8 point I’ve ever seen about 40 yards from the tree he use to hunt from…. So thankful to have a role model like that as a child.

  9. Oh my Jess! This article made me cry for you and your family but then I smiled at something I remembered about your dad. I remember one time staying the night at your house in the fall and we were in the back yard making mud pies in the sand box and your dad was raking the front yard. We eventually ventured to the front and your dad had made a huge pile of leaves and told us we didn’t help rake so we couldn’t play in them. All the sudden he threw his rake, laughed and jumped in the pile and told us to also. I don’t know if you remember this is or not but I do. It’s the smallest things that stay memories in all of us and this is s very fond memory. Thinking of all the Beckman’s right now.

  10. I still think of Mick and Dave down at the garage, tinkering, and solving all the problems of the world. I think they did more talking than tinkering. Then there is the day Mick called Dave to come dumpster diving for things the hospital threw away. The special ‘prize’ is still sitting in the garage. They had a nail where they would place their dollar bets on the Lions. Special memories…… Love you all, Darlene

  11. Rosemary we loved Mick too. He was such a caring and love able guy who we feel privileged to not only have known, but be related to also. We miss that smile and the man we all loved.
    Prayers are with you especially on this day.

  12. I remember Mick as being an usher at POP church. Jackie always had a smile on her face. I remember him smiling as well, and all of their kids.He was always very nice and kidder at times too. Rosemary you have an awesome family and I know a lot of your family. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, as in the throwback days when my family attended church with your entire family for so many years. Love and hugs girlie……and more importantly thanks for sharing your story about Mick…..I really had no idea about his struggles. Have a Blessed day Rosemary.

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