To remember and honor, that’s why I chose to participate
I read another blog, the happy catholic and was intrigued about this project to honor 911 victims.
I went onto the website and clicked on the button to take me to the victims that still needed bloggers.
What I received was a cry of the heart, names, scrolling down, as if looking up at me, longing for expression.
I looked at all the names and travelled down the list, my eyes still, my heart taking in the people behind the names. As I looked upon the names I began to recognize the importance and the deep commitment that it took to give these names a face, a story, a remembrance.
I debated whether or not I could be a part of this process. To be honest, I didn’t think that I wanted to make the commitment, too much responsibility, too much stepping out of my comfort zone.
One name struck at me. It was a woman’s name, long, latino in origin, (if I remember the name, I will write it), it struck me because it was such a long name. I clicked on it. She was a mother, and her country of origin was El Salvador.
I broke down and cried.
I’m from El Salvador. I had no idea that there was someone from my country who had died in this tragedy. I felt at that moment that I needed to do this and I took it as a sign from this name to participate.
Everyone needs a voice, and even when we are gone, our hearts still beat in the world.
They give us power, desire and a dense need to express love and community. I wanted to get her. This woman who seemed to have reached out to me, she was like me, we already had something in common.
I wanted to receive someone that I recognized, that I had something in common with. I found difference and what a gift that was.
I was blessed with the opportunity to honor Michael Morgan Taylor (Mike or otherwise known as Mouse).
He was different than I.
I worried, as I felt no connection.
He was a man, number one, a bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald (please forgive me all bond traders, but I have no idea what that is).
He’s from Western Pennsylvania. I’ve never been there.
For a moment I thought, what am I going to do? I have no point of reference from which to begin.
Then I softened. I allowed myself to see Michael M Taylor. I looked at the picture on the site, letting go of preconceived notions of who, how or why.
I let myself open to know him. As I gazed on his face and his huge smile.
I found comfort. I committed myself to knowing. I followed all the links that I could for Mike.
I read, quickly, as an overview. I knew that there was much more to Mike than what I read. Would I be able to say enough?
And then, the angels began to appear. John Davies, Mike’s friend from 2nd grade reached out to me. He was kind enough to share some stories of Mike (Mouse, his nickname), and he began to come alive to me. Then Mike’s sister Mary Kaye contacted me. Just the fact that she did helped me settle. I am a sister. I have two brothers. I know.
So, from my heart, here goes…
From the get go it seemed to me from what I have read about Mike, he knew his preferences, his values, his loves, his interests and most definitely who he wanted to be, not what he wanted to be, but who he wanted to be.
Little things made him happy, the simplicity of one liners (“One of his golfing buddies asked him ‘Mike, where you been all summer?’ and he replied ‘I’ve been in love.’ *), the desire to refine a golf game (“He scored the best round of his life over the Labor Day weekend, shooting a 73.” *That was the last weekend his parents got to see their first-born child.), the thrill of computers (“for Mouse, not being technical was a hanging offense” ***), the loyalty to a basketball team (“Boy, did he love Duke basketball. He rarely missed a televised game” *), and ahhh, the exquisite taste of fine wine (“One way to know Michael M. Taylor is to consider the eight-inch stack of index cards he dutifully prepared after deciding to get serious about wine. On the cards he recorded his impression of every bottle he tasted. As his pursuit of fine wines advanced, Mr. Taylor started his own collection. It now numbers more than 600 bottles.” **)
Even when he was little there was an inner depth, a desire that sprung out of him like a burst of light, longing to express and to share, in mischievous ways (“The first real memory I have of Mike was in sixth grade. We were sitting in Mrs. Fleck’s science class. Mrs. Fleck was a tall skinny older woman a few years from retirement. On the page of the science book that we were looking at, there was a picture of algae through a microscope. Mike pointed at it and said in his high squeaky voice, ‘looks like Fleck.’ We were both almost thrown out of the class because we were laughing uncontrollably.” ***)
His mind always moved quickly, from one thing to the next, sharp, often it seemed that as those around him were still on step one, Mouse, was already nearing the end of the journey. He had found his own way of getting there. It wasn’t a serious inquiry into things for the sake of things, it was a desire to know more. He recognized that there was always more, from a very young age. When Mouse took on a new ‘obsession’ whether it be golf, wine, computers, or love, he did it fully, one hundred percent, no more, no less.
As much as he loved mastering these ‘obsessions’ the part most savored was when things were just a little bit off, the slight bitterness behind a sweet wine, an almost perfect game of golf, lost only in the last putt, due to the unseen angle on the green, getting a Porsche and not knowing how to drive a stick. (“I can still see him at lunch salting his Fritos. I don’t know why I remember that, but it always struck me as funny that Fritos weren’t salty enough for him. He’d pour in some salt and then shake the bag until they were coated.” ***) Yep, these things make life so much more juicy.
Mike strived for perfection, his mind clear and sharp, yet his heart soft and yielding. It seems to me that he took in people, really took them in. He saw what was possible within them and helped them to also be more (“In a highly competitive business, he helped others get established. ‘People in the business tend to chase after people who are already good,’ said Jerry Bias, a friend. ‘I was just getting started and he encouraged me.’ ” **) From what I have gleaned of what I have read about Mike, he didn’t hold back. I may be wrong, but I don’t think that on September 11th he had many regrets, if any.
His heart was full. He had found love, his work was fulfilling and he was embarking on tasting more of the world around him. Michael’s heart beats each time a young boy cracks his friends up with a smart remark at a teacher, when good friends delve into the subtleties of a glass of wine, when the crowd cheers as the Duke basketball team scores the winning basket. These everyday moments, the simple, hold the most sacred memories of those who love him. Through the love, alive in those still here, Mike shines bright.
His life was unexpectedly cut short. I wish Mike would have had the opportunity to continue to delve into the sensations and experiences of this world, to continue to live as brightly as he did, and yet, even though it seems so unfair that he is no longer here, I have to say that his presence is tangible. He lived, and he lived fully, that is perfection.
Here are some links to the full articles that I quote from:
*Duke Magazine: In Memoriam
** New York Times Article
*** “Stories of Mouse” by John Davies, sorry y’all no link to these. (John, if you want to share these stories, maybe we can find a way to put them up)
Here are more very important links:
the incredible D.C. Roe (the one who started this incredible project)
2996 Tribute to the Victims of September 11 (please come check out the site!)
A direct link to the list of Victims and Bloggers (read about all the other victims and their inspiring lives)
Beginner Yoga Class on September 11
This is a level 1 class, great for beginners.
If you have never done yoga it would be so great to just attempt to practice this yoga class, either as a way to honor Mike or maybe someone else that you choose to remember, even if you have no idea what’s going on 😉 Why not?
We use a block, for a supported backbend (supported bridge pose) If you don’t have a block, you can either just do bridge or even just chill out on your back.
The Yoga Class Sequence
Arm Salutations x 5
Surya Namaskar x 3
Salabasana with arms interlaced behind the back
L Pose at the wall (inversion)
Wide Legged Forward Fold/Prasarita Padotanasana
Ardha Bhekasana/Half Frog pose
Supported Bridge Pose with block
Easy twist on the back
Hope you enjoy celebrating Life!
Michael, I hope you smile at all of us doing these crazy things 😉 Hope you get a kick out of it! I wish that I could have met you.
My love goes out to all those who loved and cared for him, may his light always shine within your hearts. As we remember Mike, we remember all those who perished.
2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
On September 11, 2006,
2,996 volunteer bloggers
are joined together in a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Each person is paying tribute to a single victim.
We honor them by remembering their lives,
and not by remembering their murderers.