You know when you have an idea and you share it with someone and they get super excited to help you figure things out? Myke was always that person and one of his favorites was helping to plan a surprise. My name is Wendy and I’m married to Myke’s brother Alek.
When my husband was turning 40, I wanted to do something special. With two small boys, I knew I couldn’t plan a surprise party at our house without him knowing about it, so I asked Myke to help me. Alek thought it was just going to be a regular party, but alas, this was no regular party as Alek’s parents and brothers flew in to surprise him. Since Myke was an avid outdoorsman, he had helped me plan the second surprise part of the celebration, which was a climb to the summit of Longs Peak, a 14’er that we can see from our house. Myke had organized all the gear for everyone and had obtained the permit to camp at the boulder field before summiting early the next morning. I couldn’t have pulled off the surprise without him.
Another surprise was when I had told my two young sons Dirk and Kyle that I needed to go to the airport to pick up my boss Ben. We stopped and waited…no Ben. I opened the back of the minivan to stall for as much time as possible before security told me to move off. Finally I told the boys we had to circle back as “Ben” hadn’t appeared. After closing the back of the van, I pulled away and as we rounded the curve, Myke jumped up from the back yelling “surprise” to the delight of the boys. They always looked forward to time with Uncle Myke.
When Myke’s brother Alek decided to propose to me, it was (surprise!) a SURPRISE! There were too many details for Alek to do so he enlisted Myke to assist. We started the morning with a long hike to the top of Green Mountain (just behind the Boulder Flatirons) – Alek told me his brother Kris was going to flyover in an Air Force Jet. When the plane came by, it was instead a Cessna with a banner asking me to marry him. Needless to say my knees were shaking and I didn’t relish the thought of hiking all the way back down the mountain. Alek steered me in an alternative direction that was a short walk across the ridge line … and we came upon a mountain house which (surprise!) had Alek’s car parked in the driveway. Myke had driven it up there along with a change of clothes plus food and champagne for us to celebrate. Alek had actually “rented” the house from the owner for that evening so we could have dinner and a hot tub as the full moon rose over the mountains. Myke’s assistance was key to making this one of my most memorable nights of my life. Coming back and seeing his ear-to-ear grin was so nice to see.
For many years we called the downstairs bedroom at our house “Myke’s room” as he spent several summers here and used the room as a getaway when he needed space from his college housing situation. To thank us, he gifted us a “getaway” night at the fancy Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs including watching our toddler Dirk. All was good until Dirk had an explosive poop, this time a surprise for Myke, albeit an unpleasant one. This was more than Myke could handle so he scooped up Dirk and carried him down the street with his arms outstretched to get help from my dear friend Nancy and have her clean things up. We still laugh about that. Myke was always game to help and super generous even if it meant getting in over his head. I bet by the time his own beautiful girls arrived he was able to handle diaper changes like a champ.
Myke was just 17 (I was 31) when I met him. He was just starting at CU Boulder and super excited about the world and all that was ahead of him. It was always a treat to see him during the eight years he lived in Boulder and he often came by to have dinner or a drink (such as the sausage daiquiris when I was in labor with Kyle). We all were excited to see Myke so smitten when Li-Ming entered the picture. After graduation, they moved to New York City and surprisingly they managed to host me, Dirk and Kyle in their tiny 400 square foot apartment for a sleepover. We were fortunate that they decided to get married in Colorado so we got some extra visits.
It was heartbreaking to get the terrible news of Myke’s cancer diagnosis and devastating when he left us too early. He’ll always have a special place in my heart and I think of him often when I’m in “Myke’s Room”.