Michael Renee Rodriguez died. I'm sorry I've somewhat disappeared, I just didn't know how to say what I was feeling, how to adequately honor this amazing man. For starters, I can't sum up his life any better than his beautiful obituary, which you can read here.
In January of 2010, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, and for the past year and nine months had battled it. He always tried to show gratitude whenever we came, even if he was feeling a lot of physical pain. I'm so grateful that we have lived close enough that we were able to see Mike almost every weekend. He was the patriarch of this family, and everyone is feeling the loss of his presence. He was the one you called for advice, I even called him a few times about issues with co workers, and he always gave me the best advice without making me feel insignificant or silly for asking. I made a habit of sitting with Mike for the first hour or so when we arrived at the Rodriguez home, as he was often in his office and there was a comfortable chair I could sit in. We would talk about anything, ranging from Disney theme parks, a new soundtrack we had purchased, or movies that moved us. Mike was a dynamic man who appreciated beautiful music, and meaningful media.
He loved all things Disney. I remember when my husband first got to know me he told me I was not the biggest Disney fanatic he knew. I of course could not believe him, but upon meeting Jon's father, I knew he was right. In December of 2007, one month before Jon & I began our courtship, he took his entire family to Disney World. Once I joined the family in August 2008, he began plans to take Jon & I with them to Disneyland. I remember how he began watching Disney World documentaries on the Sundays we came over. Telling me over and over how wonderful it was. When he finally popped the news, I could hardly contain my excitement! But, it was obvious from his face that his joy was greater than mine, for he had given me this trip.
Jon & I began to do yard work for Mike in the spring & summer of 2010. It used to drive Jon crazy because although Mike couldn't get on his hands and knees to work like he used to he would still dictate what needed weeding, where to plant the lilies, where to seed the poppies, etc. Mike referred to himself as a "Master Gardener" and told us how he was preparing us to be like him. We were his apprentices in his own little patch of Heaven. I never knew someone who took more pride in their yard. While we have continued doing the yard work, preparing it for winter, and intend to continue working this coming spring, it will never be the same without him to oversee us. The garden will become just as beautiful, but we have lost the Master Gardener's vision and guidance.
I wasn't sure how to adequately write this post. No words can truly express what an amazing man Michael Rodriguez was, or how our lives have changed forever with his passing, but I know that I am grateful to have known him. I know that I will see him again, I know that we are connected as an eternal family. Someone told me that they thought he was probably up in Heaven, playing with his grandchildren that have yet to come to earth. I don't know if that's true, but its comforting to think that my children may already know their grandfather, although they may never know him on this earth. We love you Mike.