|Michael looking up at me adoringly|
There are many, 100's or more different types of dwarfism in the world. The most common that everyone tends to see, are the Achondroplastic Dwarfism - average size head and body and shorter arms and legs. My oldest son was born with a rare form of bone dysplasia, that resulted in dwarfism. We saw many specialists and experts, genetic counselors and he was on a database - and from time to time, they would call us in to do a review only to find out, that the other person, and my son were not the same type. Michael used to say, he was a "not your average Joe" syndrome. and that was the truth. He was special.
He was smart, witty, handsome. I could go on and on but I won't because it will make me cry. You see, having him 35 years ago was a shock. I was young and had no idea how I was going to do this. But the good news is, I did.
He lived a average life, with his average size brothers who looked UP to him. He was the BIG brother and they knew it.
He went on to Cal State Long Beach to college and graduated. It was our dream - he knew he could not rely on going into the military, or his physical, to earn a living. He had many orthopedic issues - his hips and knees. His extreme short stature was a hardship for him, but he never allowed it to get in his way. At age 25 when he died, he was 38 inches tall.
He also worked for the Cal State Long Beach Campus Police - fingerprinting. They gave him a stool and he stood there, proud as he worked his way through college. He also was a member of the Screen Actors Guild. He was just starting to get called out for parts - His last movie was called Tiptoes, with Matthew McConaughey.
Apparently what happened, according to his roommate - his legs and hips had been aching and he would often, take a hot bath to soothe his joints. Prior to this, he had been having chest pains - he called me and I told him to go to the ER. He did go, and they did the EKG and found nothing. They told him, he had a bad case of heartburn and sent him home. 2 weeks later, he was dead.
His death certificate said he drowned in the bathtub - due to a cardiac event.
I tend to torture myself - in my grief. I don't know if it is because I am a Mom and I should of been there for him or what. Honestly, I know he was 25, and on his own so intellectually I know there was nothing I could do. But I torture myself. I've laid in bed, and cried - trying to picture his last moments - did he cry out for me? Did he know what was happening? Did the cardiac event cripple him to where he could not do anything - did it paralyze him? How long did he struggle or did he go quickly?
To this day, and it will be 10 years in May - I have not ordered the complete autopsy report from the Los Angeles Coroner. I mean, why? Why should I? He's gone. Knowing the nitty gritty will only bother me more. I also still cannot not part with his ashes - I'm still trying to set him free - but it's so hard. I just loved him so much - No one but God knows how much. I poured my whole life and being in him. And my middle son, told me once, that Michael "adored" me. Wow - imagine that. My sweet son adored me. I don;t know, I guess I just never thought about that. It was a gift my other son gave to me. Just knowing how much Michael did love me.
His roommate came back from classes and found the bathroom locked. Michael did not answer. He broke down the door and found him - his little body, floating face down in the bathtub. Zack, tried to give him mouth to mouth and did all that he could, but Michael had died alone - hours earlier.
The last time I saw Michael alive , was Dec 26, 2002. I drove him to Modesto - he was driving back down to Long Beach with his roommate. We hugged and kissed. and then I watched him hobble his way up the walkway - he turned around, smiled and waved.
That was it. He died May 8, 2003.