The year Mike turned 50, he called it the 21st anniversary of his 29th birthday.
I made him a t-shirt with the number 20 across the chest.
That night we went to see Steven Curtis Chapman and Chris Tomlin in concert. Afterwards we celebrated with carrot cake from the Fresh Market.
It was terrible to know that Mike's life was coming to an end, but in some ways it made those last days sweeter.
Mike embraced every moment. He lived each one to the fullest. He appreciated the little things - a cup of coffee, an autumn breeze, the pink blossoms of the bougainvillea...
Everything was intensified. He didn't have a huge bucket list of exotic places. He wanted to be with his family and friends.
I was a little surprised by the Dodge Charger he bought just a few days before he passed, but the expression on his face when he caught a glimpse of that car. He had his favorite chair strategically positioned - he could see the television to his right and the car to his left through the back door.
There was one morning as he adjusted his reading glasses to read the paper spread before him. He took a sip of coffee followed by a contented sigh. When I think of Mike, this is the moment I usually picture.
Tomorrow will mark the 26th anniversary of Mike's 29th birthday.
Happy Birthday Mike!