I am shocked to learn of the passing of a man who would be the only guy in my life who’d ever come close to being a role model to me. I may have pretended sometimes not to understand or even hear what he had to say, but I never missed his meaning or his message. I grieve his loss, along with my closest family members & so many other great people made greater for having known him.
Dear Michael, a wonderful father and brilliant husband to my beautiful sister, Johanna. Michael Spoljaric … is greatest gift, among so many, was his ability to make us laugh. More than that, for me, from early on in my life he taught me the most essential qualities of what is required to become a man; walk tall, hold my head up in pride, be true to who I am, never forget where I come from. To know that a real man isn’t afraid to cry … and of course, when the going got tough, run like hell knowing he would always have my back.
I hold these truths to be self evident to this very day ~ over half a century later. What more could a kid who was going his own way long before that notion became popular among rebellious youth ask for? He certainly didn’t have to, yet he did because he cared.
A rare breed is the man whose powerful inner bravado is made of the courage & faith of a ”man’s man”. He never lost sight of who he was; the real deal-a take no prisoners straight-shooting from the hip no-bull man when it came to telling it the way he saw it. He was a king of tough love. Only a prince with a gentle soul can become such a man. There is no irony here, one is the prerequisite of the other.
He found himself when he found the love of his life, an everlasting love in the heart & soul of my remarkable sister, Johanna. With his guidance, we all watched in awe as Johanna stepped into her own power. With his patience and deep love, we also saw her bloom into the woman she is today, a woman who has strength of character so finely etched unto the history of all our lives, who is loved so much by those who are also blessed to be brushed by her gentle heart.
It is a new world dawning, fast becoming a woman’s world. Thanks to the trailblazers & such a one is Johanna. I wonder if Johanna knows this is how we feel about her? To marvel at the two of them together is fitting. There is no Michael as we know him without Johanna. The two are forever one fierce force & fiercely loved in the eyes & divine mind of our beloved creator.
Michael was the rock in our family. He held the demons at bay which at one time had tried their best to get the best of us kids and my beloved mother. How does anyone say thank you enough to a towering figure of such profound impact? I love you? We all did, and not just for the reasons I say above. It bears repeating: Michael was a wonderful father to his children, my niece and nephew, Christina & Michael Jr., and his beautiful grandchildren. He was a brilliant husband to his equally brilliant wife decade after decade, my beautiful and compassionate sister, Johanna.
I am there along side all of those who loved him for being a true human being. “Life is short but terribly eternal.” Some of us are mortal, some of us are gifted immortality. We do not choose one or the other.
Dear Father, who art in heaven, the ball is in your court. Michael has achieved that which cannot be gained without you, dear loving creator, holding his hands from the moment he was born until now, as Michael is born once again. Some people are just lucky that way.
A MODEST TRIBUTE TO A GREAT MAN …