Michael

I was born in rural Oklahoma in 1973. I grew up in a rustic little town that seemed to be teetering on greatness and its demise. Yukon is a little Czechoslovakian community named after the Yukon Mill & Flour company. This flour company was the flour of the prairie and southwest. Our school mascot was a Miller; go figure. Yukon sat just west of Oklahoma City, twenty minutes away on Route 66. This was a little, but now booming town populated by 6500 people then, 35,000 now, give or take a few. There was a steeple on almost every corner when I was growing up. My father was a deacon of one of those steeples. It was an Assembly of God, pentecostal church. My dad’s motto was if the church is open, we are there. Also said by him authortatively, “if you live under my roof, you will go to church!”

I am pleased now that I was raised the way I was because those ancient roads brought me back to my faith later in life. However, I was eager to get out of this repressive house and start living and leave the walls of church life behind! So much so that when I turned 18 in December of 1991, a few months before I graduated high school, I moved to the “big city” and commuted the last couple of months to high school.

This move into my tiny apartment opened my world to things my parents shielded me from. I learned about rock-n-roll, bars, alcohol, marijuana, acid, and many other mind-altering comestibles. It was kinda my School of Transgressions! My drug of choice was women, though, and they were free to come and go in “my” new home! My love of this freedom and woman did not look like you would think. Of course, I partook and indulged myself, but I was always on the hunt for a girlfriend. My moral upbringing left a mark on me in the form of my insatiable drive for monogamy. I almost always had a girlfriend in my adult life. Without one, I wasn’t a healthy person, it seemed. I was in love with being in love. Addicted almost. I was pretty good at maintaining long-term relationships, or as a therapist would say, codependant.  

I was good at sales and thrived in that field. I went to college on a music scholarship but couldn’t imagine a future in that field, so I dropped out and started my first business. Being my own boss was my jam. It had been in my blood since I was a kid. I read Think and Grow Rich at 16 years old, and it changed my life! I was obsessed with this path. Still am!

After a nasty breakup with a girl that I thought was “it” for me, the second girl I felt this way about in 3 years humorously, I packed up and left. With all I owned, I loaded down my white Sunbird convertible Pontiac that I took back from my girlfriend, put my Dalmatian puppy in the front seat and I was southbound and down for the really big city – Dallas!

I moved from Oklahoma to Dallas in 1996. I started a legal casino and formed a band. I am living my best life now, I thought! One band led to another, then to another, until I formed the most debaucherous band, Speedtrucker. We had some success, but we had more “good times” than was allowed by law. I pushed through my early 20’s and 30’s living as a carefree musician, dabbling in mildly successful businesses in between binges. I was basically living the feelgood big city dream with no regard to my childhood upbringing. I had become a staunch agnostic and had convinced myself that it’s foolish that someone could define God.

In 2005, I met Lindy at Adair’s Saloon, a place Speedtrucker played often. In hindsight, it is actually a great meeting story. I was walking past the cigarette machine on my way to the bar. Lindy was leaning against it with her friends. I honestly barely noticed her. She then grabbed my arm and asked me, “Are you the lead singer of Speedtrucker?” I lifted my chest, tipped my beat-up Stetson hat back, and said, “you know who I am?” She blushed and batted her eyes and said, ” I had never kissed the lead singer of a band before,” all the while, she kept batting her eyelashes. I pulled down my hat, grabbed her soft hand, and pulled her out back of the bar. I let down a tailgate, we sat down and made out like a couple of teenagers in heat. After we pried ourselves apart, I asked her what she thought of my band? With a hubristic reply, ” I have never heard your band; my friends just dared me to do this!” That stung a little. She told me her name was Lindy, gave me her number and told me to call her sometime. This girl was attractive! Blond, fit, perfect everything, “wow” is all I could say. All might have been perfect had I been in a place to pursue someone. My heart was still broken from a recent breakup.

I had no interest in getting my heart broken again by anyone. I had just gotten out of a four-year relationship with a girl who lied to me for three years, saying that we would get married. She knew all along; she would never defy her parents, and I was not what they wanted their daughter to marry. Lindy didn’t stand a chance after this girl destroyed my trust in women. After a year of Lindy chasing me, the tides turned. I now found myself head-over-heals chasing her. Boy, was she hard to catch! She made me chase after her for about 2 1/2 years until 2008. We finally decided we were in love with each other, been through enough, and it was time to get serious.

In 2009, Lindy was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma brain tumor and given 12 months or less. Within weeks of her first diagnosis, we went to Duke for a second opinion; the second opinion was even worse. They had upgraded her tumor to stage 4. She cried for the first time. Lindy is one strong woman, and tears rarely found their way to her face. I had determined right then and there that she wouldn’t go through this as a single woman and that she would want for nothing. I had already started a job at the end of 2008 that would more than support her lifestyle, and I was committed to helping her create a worry-free home environment.
I proposed to her in Jackson Square in New Orleans later that year with the biggest ring money can buy, the money I didn’t have at all. We planned to get married in August 2010 in Italy, and that’s just what we did despite the 12-month death sentence. We got married on Lake Como, Italy, in a fairytale-like dream, and we spent almost a month, after the ceremony, traveling all of Italy.

Three weeks after Lindy’s original diagnosis, she started fundraising for the National Brain Tumor Society by doing the DFW Brain Tumor Walk. With only 3-4 weeks to fundraise, as opposed to the other teams who had three months, Lindy was the #1 team and individual fundraiser that year and every year for 2010-2013. The first year the team theme and shirts were “The Walk for Jacque.” She named all of her tumors after Frenchmen. Not sure why, but Jacque was her first tumor she beat and the one that would eventually come back and kill her.

February 6, 2013, Lindy lost her fight with Jacque. She spent the last 26 of her 37 days on earth in a rehab hospital trying to regain her motor, speech, and occupational skills. She was sent home when they told me there was nothing more they could do. Her last MRI showed that the tumor had spread everywhere. She spent 11 days in our home under hospice care. The morning she passed away, I ran out the back door, through our gate, and started walking the path the city is cutting near our house to White Rock Lake. I didn’t care that it was starting to rain. Crying and confused, the sun seemed to find my face when it peeked through the clouds as if almost her saying good-bye. At that moment, I had realized that walking was very cathartic for me. I had remembered a movie I had seen a few years prior (as I see about five movies a week at the theater, no joke) about a walk in Spain called The Way. I remember I felt a connection to this movie but never knew why it impacted me so much out of the 100’s of movies I have seen, but it connected.

We buried Lindy a week after she died. During that week, I thought a lot about that movie, walking, getting away, and grieving by myself. While looking for any last wishes she could have written for the funeral, I found a can in one of her bottom drawers, and it had $8000 cash in it. In a very livid minute, my mind swirled to this walk in Spain. I took that money as a sign that I needed to go to Spain. Three days after she was buried, I was on a flight to Barcelona. I had zero clue about what I was doing. I just went.  

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