To the family of Michael McNesby:
You have one of the finest families anyone has ever known. When God united your parents, God had something very special planned. Your parents were the absolute best. Is it any wonder that so much blessing and goodness has come into the world thanks to their amazing love?
So it was only fitting that when God was deciding where to place Michael (one of God’s most beloved), God chose the McNesby family. And the world is a better place because of the way God has loved us through Michael.
EVERYONE who has met Michael has been loved by Michael. Why can’t we all be more like him? Jesus tells us again and again: “Let the children come to me……it is just such as these that the kingdom of God belongs;” “You must welcome the kingdom like a child;” “Unless you change and become like a child.” It’s so obvious. Why do we make it so hard?
Michael was pure gift…no pretense, no selfish ego, he was authentic and true and overflowing with love.
The stories about Michael are legendary (and will keep us smiling and laughing until we are with him again). One of my favorite stories: I had gone to St. Anthony’s for the viewing and wake service for our wonderful Cleland Heights neighbor Mrs. Adeline Schietroma. When I arrived at church, there was a waiting line halfway up the aisle. Regardless, Michael saw me and hurried back to welcome me. “Father Greg,” Michael said with excitement, “I’m so glad you’re here.” Then, taking my hand, he announced, “You have to come with me.” He pulled me along to the front (I admit my embarrassment in cutting past all those patient folks waiting in line). We came up to the open coffin.
Michael, with great reverence, said, “See…Here is Mrs. Adeline. She’s gone to heaven. Isn’t she beautiful?” “Yes Michael,” I said, she’s very beautiful.” Michael pulled me closer, as if to tell me a secret. He quietly said, “Its OK, Father Greg, you can talk to her. She’s in heaven and she hears everything you want to say to her.”
I told her, “Mrs. Schietroma, thank you for being such a wonderful neighbor and such a dear friend to my Mom. And thank you for letting your daughter babysit us when we were little.”
Michael then drew in close and said, “Mrs. Adeline, please tell my parents in heaven that I love them and I miss them very much. Thank you.” Then Michael suggested that he and I say a prayer together. And we did.
The entire time, Michael had been holding my hand. Sometimes, when I’m hurting or feel all alone, I imagine Michael holding my hand. His hand in mine always joins me to heaven.
In Michael’s obituary, the family says it best: “Throughout his life, he certainly did it his way, touching the lives of so many in such a positive way along his journey….his emotional intelligence was off the charts always being the rainbow in our clouds…we should all be able to view the world through his unfiltered eyes. The world is a better place, and we are better people because of him.”
Dear Michael, I know you are in heaven and I know you hear me. I want to thank you so much for being such a good man. You taught all of us the most important lessons. I love you and I will miss you. Please keep an eye out on all of us. Remind us to be good, because you were always good. I pray for the day, dear Michael, when you will take my hand again. I will follow you and not let go. Because you know the way to heaven. Amen.