Monday, May 16, 2005

Remembering Micah

Ten years ago, the world lost a unique soul. His name was Micah Bennett.

It's hard to explain to people who weren't there, who didn't know him, how special Micah was. It was apparent, right from the start. He had an aura about him, that made people want to know him, made people want to be his friend. Loyalty was a foregone conclusion; to betray Micah was unthinkable. It was as if existed to be adored.

And then there was his talent, his gift: music. Micah, to the best of my knowledge, had never had a formal music lesson...and yet, when he put his hands to the keyboard of a was magic. He could play all day, intent in and content with his music. I can still hear the songs he wrote, and would play for us at the Canal Street Tavern. Sometimes, late at night, I can hear his song "The Rose" in my mind. I can remember the night he debuted it, how I sat at a table in the corner with his brother (my former boyfriend) and his father, eyes closed, enveloped in the sound. I remember the shock, when he would stop playing, of the feeling of reality rushing back in. Listening to Micah play was like being transformed.

There had been, after his death, an almost martyrdom of him right away. To hear some people tell it (and usually, these were people who didn't know him well, or at all), he was faultless. I think it was a way of dealing with the grief, to make him out to be some sort of saint. I think he would have laughed at that! For Micah was, alas, not perfect. He could be very jealous, often stubborn and was an accomplished shoplifter (he even once stole golf clubs, just to prove it could be done). He could be quite controlling, particularly where his brothers (with whom he was very, very close) were concerned. The spotlight was his, and although he was willing to share it...he wasn't willing to be anything but the center. And as I know all too well, when he became angry, he was a force to be reckoned with.

Those things hardly mattered when he was alive, and surely, they matter not at all now.

When I think of him, the warm memories flood back, overwhelming me: sharing a house with him and his cousin one we would sit up and talk for hours, how open and sincere and unafraid to be himself he could be; how much of a gentleman he was, when I'd been dumped on Valentine's Day at Rocky front of the entire world (or at least, that's how it felt at the time); helping comfort and console me when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Micah was always there, unquestionably, for his friends. He may have demanded loyalty...but he gave it back, unabashedly, tenfold over.

But most of all, I remember how Micah was with my son. He came to see me at my home, after I had given birth. He was sick from chemotherapy, weak and shaky, but still he came. I was heartbroken, watching him stroke my sleeping infant's head, the look of pain in his eyes as he came to grips with the fact that he himself would never be a father, never have a chance to have sons he'd name after his brothers as he had planned. I recall how, when he was in the hospital that final time, he'd pulled my son onto his hospital bed and let him play with the controls. He was so happy to have Phoenix near him; it was almost as if Phoenix had become his surrogate son in some small way. I only wish Phoenix could remember him, too.

Micah died of cancer on June 26, 1995. He was only 23. Shortly before he died, he found God, and felt His hand in his life. It is my upmost hope, and belief, that it comforted him at that time when he needed it most.

My friend is gone...but not forgotten. Micah could never be that.

He would never stand for it.

Dear friend...I miss you and hold you close in my heart, always...

I went all the way to Paris to forget your face
Captured in stained glass, young lives long since passed
Statues of lovers every place
I went all across the continent to relieve this restless love
I walked through the ruins, icons of glory
Smashed by the bombs from above

So we must love while these moments are still called today
Take part in the pain of this passion play
Stretching our youth as we must, until we are ashes to dust
Until time makes history of us

Jeu de Paume's full of faces knowing peace, knowing strife
Leisure and toil, still it's canvas and oil
There's just no medium for life
In the midst of the rubble
I felt a sense of rebirth
In a dusty cathedral the living God called
And I prayed for my life here on earth

So we must love while these moments are still called today
Take part in the pain of this passion play
Stretching our youth as we must, until we are ashes to dust
Until time makes history of us

There are mountains in Switzerland, brilliant cold as they stand
From my hotel room, watching the half-moon
Bleeding its light like a lamb
And the town is illumined, its tiny figures are fast asleep
And it dawns on me the time is upon me
To return to the flock I must keep

So we must love while these moments are still called today
Take part in the pain of this passion play
Stretching our youth as we must, until we are ashes to dust
Until time makes history of us

"History of Us"--Indigo Girls


At 3:48 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I am 33, the age he would have been now. He sounded like a wonderful person.

At 8:16 PM, Blogger Pixie LaRouge said...

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful friend :) May the memories stay so fresh, so joyous forever, keeping him so close to you

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled on your website doing a search - amazing what a search engine will find!
This is Micah's Mom. Your tribute was very sweet - and pretty accurate. There are a couple of things in error, however. Micah died on June 26, 1995 (not May 16, 1995). He died of rhabdomyosarcoma (cancer of the connective tissue), not testicular cancer, and he and Nicole were not planning on being married one week after he died.
It's just important to me, for some reason, that he be remembered correctly. (Note, I did not 'correct' the shop lifting, or ego stuff.....or the parts about his muscial talent, love of his brothers, or his gentle/tender side). The other thing you did not mention, was that Micah died a Christian. Micah had struggled with God, Jesus, and all the relgious crap there is in the world - and during his bone marrow transplant - he surrendered his life to Jesus. On his death bed, he made me promise to tell all his friends about Jesus because he wanted them to be in heaven with him. I am still fulfilling that promise. Tell Jonathan, hello.

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Zen Angel said...


I apologize for the lateness of this response...I had not known you had commented, until today. I am glad you enjoyed the tribute, and I apologize for the errors. Sadly, with my MS, my memory is no longer what it used to be.

Of course it is important to you for him to be remembered own mother died of cancer not long after Micah did, and it would be important to me, too.

I am making the corrections. Forgive me my mistakes.

I have passed your message on to Jonathan. He was happy to hear from you, as am I.

I wish you the best. You and your family continue to be in my prayers.



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