Michael Patrick O'Brien

Shared by Robin Lux on February 13, 2011

For those of you who don't know me or don't know me well, I am Michael's sister, his big sister. I am also the oldest child of four children and today I am a Jr. High science teacher. My brother was like a shining star, he was brilliant in every sense of the word. His mind was always working, as a young boy he started honing his entrepreneurial skills by shoveling walks and mowing lawns. As long as I can remember my brother was always working and earning money. He had a lot of friends, life long friends. This always amazed me.

As young adults I remember going to my former sister-in-laws graduation party from college and the friends of theirs who walked in for the party I had known since I was a little girl. Some had been his friends since elementary school, most since at least Jr. high school. Imagine that . . . 15 or 20 friends already together over 10 years.

My brother and I fought a lot when we were kids, probably because we were 16 months apart in age. But we loved each other and the things we fought about were stupid things, kid things, things you can't even remember as an adult. But we got along too. I remember playing kick the can in the street in front of our house. Kids from all over the neighborhood played and when the street lights came on, we all ran for home. I remember playing in the models in our subdivision and the boys riding their bikes out of second story windows down huge dirt piles. I remember older kids picking on him when he was in 7th grade outside the fence that passed from our neighborhood into Holmes Jr. High schools field and screaming at the boys to get away from my brother and amazingly they did. And I remember my brother screaming at me, "I can take care of myself." and he could.

Our father left our family a couple of years after our mom married our dad. Michael was about 7 1/2 and I was 9 when he left. It didn't matter though because we had our dad and he'd been around since we were very little, I think Michael was 4 when we met him. He always made us feel like we were really his kids and you would never know there was a difference with our littlest sister, it just didn't work that way in our house. I remember eating dinner every night at 6 pm and Michael hated peas and dad made us eat everything on our plate. Our dog, Holly, must of liked peas maybe that's why Michael adored her so much. A boy and his dog. And Dad, Michael loved playing Zynga poker with you everyday. He told me many times and would joke how he was going to whoop your butt at the table. But that might just be a big fish story.

I remember the day Robert Michael was born, my middle son. In 1980 the only person allowed in the hospital room with the baby besides the mother was the father. Well, in walks my brother, right into my room baby in the room and all. I asked how he was able to come in to the room when it wasn't visiting hours. He said, "I told those nurses I drove all night from California and I couldn't wait another minute and they let me in." And that is how Robert Michael came to have his middle name. Uncle Michael was a smooth talker and I guess quite a looker, cause those nurses broke the rules and let him come and meet you before anyone else in the family did. By the way he went to CA in the summer, that day he had driven all the way to Southfield from Livonia. What a character.

My boys and I visited my brother in Key West FL, and in Denver CO and I visited him in Albuquerque NM. He traveled through many of the states in this country. He was truly an adventurer not afraid to live life. He made his mind up to do something and he found a way to do it.

Prior to 2000 he began his own alarm company and during winter break from college in 2000 my oldest son, Tom, went and spent 8 weeks with his Uncle Michael and his family. Uncle Michael taught him about business, life lessons that cannot be learned in the classroom.

And my youngest son, Jerry, is his Godson. He was entwined and rooted deeply in the lives of my sons and myself. He lived with us three times over the years. Always as he was just getting ready to start a new chapter in his life.

The greatest joy in my brother's life was his son, Ryan. A bitter custody battle took him away from him and for that I am truly sorry. Michael was a loving father, how could he not be. He had a father who walked away from him, he knew first hand the emotional pain that type of behavior causes. He would have moved Heaven and Earth to be with Ryan and I am sure that it consumed him for the past 5 years that he was without him.

There is one woman that Michael loved all his life and that is our Mother. His love for you must of been so strong because like all well loved children he could be a jerk to you, while not very often, he could. Only children who are confident in the unconditional love of a parent can do that. The trust is so great that you will never stop loving them. He waited for you Mom and you made it with 15 minutes to spare. You were and always will be "his valentine". You never walked away and you never gave up . . . you just kept right on loving your "only son".

And Leslie and Debbie, he LOVED being the BIG BROTHER and you two made that truly possible for him.

My brother wrote his own epilogue, "They always told me I couldn't...all my life..I always proved I one more!" When he took the ACT/SAT's in HS they told him he would be a good foreman for a construction crew, he said no sir I am going to college and they told him you aren't college material. He went to college and graduated with a BS in Finance and Marketing. They told him he would never play college ball. He was a walk on red shirt for CMU and even played in a game that was televised on one occasion. If you told him "no" he would make sure you were wrong and show you "yes" he could. A brilliant mind.

My brother left this world looking forward, feeling good and dreaming big. Off to CA on a sailboat named Lois Lane. He felt like Superman. The only missing thing in his life was Ryan. I use the term "was" because I believe in Angels and I know moments after Michael left this life he was and will remain with Ryan for all the days of his young sons life.

I started this note by saying my brother was a brilliant mind. He was like a star. Our star, the sun, takes 8.3 minutes for its light to reach us. This means that in 5.5 billion years when the sun dies, its light will still shine on earth for 8.3 minutes. Michael's light took 49 years to get to Heaven. By my calculations we have at least 49 years for his light to shine down on us leading the way back to him when our time comes.

Rest in peace little brother and remember . . . You once told me that when I die I should tell St. Peter to let you in when you arrive at the gates of Heaven. Well brother, right back at you, right back at you.

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