Michael T. Harris died Sunday, May 30th 2010.
He lives on through the thousands of lives he's touched around the world. Uncle Mike was a cornerstone of the Body for Life fitness community. He was a Body for Life Grand Champion, a father, a grand father, and a husband. He was a recovering alcoholic, and most important for him he was a Christian. These pieces all combined into one powerhouse of a man, a man who was forthright, honest, and told you exactly what you needed to hear. Even when you didn't want to hear it.
Funny thing, most of us would describe a best friend the same way. And that's what Mike was. He was the best friend you could ever have. You could argue with him until you were both blue in the face, completely disagree with every point he made, yet at the end of it all you knew he still loved you. Because that's just who Mike was. He loved people. He cared deeply and that's what inspired him to reach out day in and day out.
I could pull dozens of Mike stories out of the hopper. I could recount arguments, moments of counsel, and even dig out photographic proof that Mike would indeed eat peanut butter and bananas. Those snapshots in time would give you a glimpse at the kind of person Mike was.
Yet it's Mike's final two acts which sum him up. Mike went out for a bike ride Sunday morning and didn't come back. He died while out on the trail, living an active life. Most of us talk about wanting to die doing something we love. Mike did just that. He was out enjoying the body he built for himself over the years.
Which brings us to his last act. Mike Harris was an organ donor. He took the time to sign his organ donor card and let his family know of his wishes. While I don't know which organs were donated, I can imagine. Somewhere this morning a man is waking up with new corneas, and he notices that he sees things with a remarkable clarity and sharpness. A young woman wakes up and takes a deep breath, inflating lungs that feel like they can carry her up an endless flight of stairs. A former alcoholic who had lost both kidneys is off dialysis for the first time in years.
All of them have a strange craving for bananas and peanut butter.
Last we come to his heart. How I envy the person who ends up with that huge, caring heart. Not may of us can say we have the heart of a lion beating within us.
Love you Mike.