Today would have been my son-in-law's 38th birthday.
Michael was one of five children adopted from different families by John and Carole Dowd, may they always be blessed for that mitzvah. He was three when he was adopted and he told a (perhaps apocryphal) story of how he got his middle name. John and Carole were driving him home for the first time and they asked what middle name he would like to have. They happened to be passing a pizza parlor at the time, so Michael said, "Pizza!" The restaurant was Tim's Pizza so Michael became Michael Timothy.
He was a sweet child, always smiling -- something that carried through his entire life. Michael could irritate the hell out of you at times (something that always happens between fathers-in-law and sons-in law), but you could never stay mad at him. He had a giving heart and never met a person he did not like; he had a special place in his heart for children and old people. And he loved to laugh.
He loved sports of all kinds, reading (especially history), and cooking, but his one major, abiding love was for Jessie and the girls. He spent his last afternoon making home-made soap with Ceili and Amy.
Because he was adopted, we had no idea about his medical history. He played lacrosse in college and appeared hale and healthy, but shortly before he passed he went through a nasty episode of Crohn's disease, then he had what we thought were minor heart problems. One Sunday morning, he walked across the living room, telling Jessie he had to buy some golf balls later, and dropped to the floor. He was 31.
Too soon gone. I don't think a day has gone by since that we haven't thought about him.
As I type this, his legacy is here visting us for the holiday: two beautiful, loving, smart, and talented girls whom I know will stand the world on its end once they get older. Thank you, Michael, for that. And thanks for the warm memories.