And while Alan described his dad as steadfastly loyal to his family, second-born Sarah called him completely selfless and her knight in shining armor. He would do anything for them and he loved them unconditionally. There was no place he would rather be than home. And because of him, their home always rang with laughter.
Maybe it was because she was the baby or maybe it was just because it was his nature, but Emily never remembers her dad telling her “No.” Building “drizzle castles” on the beach? Tennis for two? Weekend trips across the state line to buy gasoline — and candy? The answer was always a resounding “Yes!” Her dad was the picture of patience: loving, kind, tender, thoughtful, funny, and sweet. He was “everything a dad should be.”
Mike was everything a grandfather should be, too. ADORED grandson William will never forget all the times Papa picked him from school to go to the park, the Junior Museum or grab a Whataburger. Papa made him a rope to swing on in the backyard because anything William wanted or needed, Papa would make happen. Mike spent every moment he was able with William. Where Papa went, William followed.
And it will be up to William to pass Papa’s legacy of love and memories on to baby brother, Oliver, and cousins Jack, Sam, and the family’s newest namesake, little Michael.
Whenever Mike’s family grew, so did his circle of love. His love also lit up the lives of his beloved children-in-law Melissa, Chris, and Dylan.
Like any human, Mike had his failings. Post-barbecue he might run into the sliding glass door with a plate of chicken wings. NO ONE was to touch his perfectly sprayed hair. Nope, not even his cherished grandchildren. He once forgot his wedding anniversary. And while Sandy was unphased by it, he never forgave himself for that failing.
In his last two years fighting cancer, even when he thought about giving up, he bravely battled on for his family. Sandy says they spent so much time together on those long rides to Moffitt, that they had the chance to say everything they wanted to each other — a gift she knows not everyone gets.
Time is another thing not everyone gets, and the entire family is grateful for the time they were able to spend with the late, great, amazing Mike Stone. Emily says his spending time with her was how she knew she was so loved. It is that time that she will miss most. As the end was nearing, she said, “I just kept thinking to myself, ‘I didn’t have enough time. There just wasn’t enough time.’ And the truth is, there never would be enough time.'”
Mike used his time wisely, and if he were here to share his wisdom, he would ask you to use your time wisely, too, and spend it with those you love. And while his time on earth is done, his family knows his time with them is not. To quote Rumi, “Good-byes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no such thing as separation.”
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations be made in Mike’s name to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS.org), St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital (StJude.org), or Moffitt Cancer Center (Moffit.org).
Due to current circumstances, a celebration of life will be held at a later date.