I got to know some of Mikes housemates during my visits to his group home.
I am a visual person, so a lot of my memories are triggered by visual images. Journal entries provide another way to access memory, perhaps at a deeper level.
This is a page from Mike’s baby album. I have it in my book, My Brother Michael. I can only imagine the hopes and dreams of a glorious future that my parents must have had for their new baby.
This is a sketch for a future painting. I drew it shortly after Mike died. I got a call the day he died, from one of his caregivers, who told me, “Michael is transitioning.” I was fortunate enough to get to talk to him during his last hours. Mike was nonverbal and never gave me much of an indication that he knew I was his brother, but for about 20 minutes on the video call I talked to him. I forgot most of what I said, but I told him that I loved him. I swear that his eye was looking right at me. It may have been an artifact of the lighting or something to do with the camera, but I am going to believe that we made a connection.
I was very lucky to have had my first show reviewed in Art in America. I first posted this article back in 2013, when I started my blog. Since that time, I have continued to add to my body of work and, while it still incomplete, I have made some progress since then.
I made arrangements with Mike’s group home for a special visit to my show, Brotherly Love. Below is a frame grab from a video of that event. I am in front of a picture of Mike’s house mates. Michael is standing next to me.