I think, for many people, one of the most difficult moments in life is when we realize our dad isn’t invincible.
Yesterday, my dad lost his battle with Renal Cancer; he passed away at home. He was only 65-years-old.
Over the years, I’ve written some tough content about my past, about my poor choices, and about things which happened to me in my youth. However, nothing was as difficult as what I wrote today.
Today, with the permission of my family, I was given the honor and privilege of writing his obituary — and it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever written. However, as a professional author, I could think of no better tribute to my beloved father than the written voice of his obituary…
Michael Lee Brundage
(1953 – 2019)
Michael Lee Brundage, loving husband, generous father, and cherished grandad – passed away at his home in Wichita, Kansas on January 2, 2019 from renal cancer. He was 65. He was born on August 26, 1953 in Chanute, Kansas where he lived until graduating high school in 1971. During the latter years of his youth, Mike was an accomplished performance musician; in 2009, he was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. After graduating from Pittsburg State University, Mike became a music teacher until going to work for Boeing in Wichita. Following his time at Boeing, Mike worked at Via Christi St. Joseph Hospital until his retirement in 2018. He was known by those close to him as an avid golfer and a collector of many things (including vinyl records and baseball cards). However, the pinnacle of his legacy will always be his selflessness and generosity toward those he loved, bountifully providing for his family and often choosing to have less so his loved ones could have more. Mike is survived by his wife, Shirley Brundage; his son, Kurt (Nicole) Brundage; his daughter, Jennifer (Kenny) Polite; his step-daughter, Crystle (Tony) Mattke; five grandchildren, St. Paul, Kaylyn, Parker, Reno, Austin (Danielle), and Tyler; and one great-grandchild, Kalvin. He is preceded in death by his father, Forrest “Bud” Brundage; his mother, Mary Freda Brundage; his brothers, Don Brundage and Bob Brundage; and his grandson, Topeka Polite. Visitation will be from 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at Downing & Lahey East Mortuary, 6555 E. Central, Wichita. Memorial donations may be made in his name to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478 Oklahoma City, OK 73123.
Source: Downing & Lahey
I’ve managed to keep some lasting memories of him, other than pictures. After I signed my second publishing contract, I sent him a text and told him about it. He called back while I was out running, so I missed the call, but he left me a voicemail. And thanks to modern technology, I was able to save and keep it.
After all the terrible things I’ve done in my life, he has always seen the brighter side and has always known I was capable of turning the bad into good. And when I was truly able to do that, he never ceased to tell me how proud he was of me.
The last bit of time we spent together was on the day he died. The family was assembled at his house, keeping a vigil over him as the Hospice nurses cycled in and out. But there was a point during the afternoon when everyone left the house except me. So it was just him and me, hanging out together, for the final time. He was unconscious (and had been for several days), but I still talked to him like any other time we’d sat around the house. I turned on the TV show we’ve always bonded over — The West Wing — and I opened a dozen pack of baseball cards he had sitting around. Collecting baseball cards together is something we’ve done since the 1980s. So I sat down in a chair next to his Hospice hospital bed in the middle of the living room and began opening packs of cards, telling him about notable players and unique cards in each pack — including a surprise autograph. So, for a few hours, for the final time, we were able to be father/son. That time spent with him is a time I will cherish for the rest of my life.
I’ve never lost someone so close to me.
And it hurts.