A Tribute to Mike and Carol Malloy
From Chuck Malloy
Those who know me realize I am not too big on religion. In my world I run into those who think that somehow God cares about who wins political races. I don’t pretend to be able to read God’s mind, but I find it difficult to believe that God is aligned with the Democratic or Republican parties.
If you want to talk about “faith,” that’s a different story. In light of the health challenges I have faced in recent years, I have given much thought to the subject of faith. On my third day after bypass surgery four years ago, I was feeling quite depressed – enough to call in the hospital chaplain. The good gentleman had me say a simple prayer: “Jesus please heal me, Jesus please heal me.” The prayer worked. I feel better than I have in at least the last 10 years. My eyesight, which caused me to go on disability from my job as an editorial writer with the Idaho Statesman, has substantially recovered. And although I have experienced moments of sadness like everyone else, I have not felt depression since that third day after surgery.
I told this story to Mike on at least a couple of occasions. I am not sure if he totally bought the story since he spent much of his life denying the existence of God, let alone faith. But I also told my brother that regardless of his thoughts on faith/religion, he was going to heaven because that’s where good people like him go. I told him that I asked God to take his soul.
In the end, I think Mike got it. There was a conversation he had with an old friend on the day after his 64th birthday that seemed to hit the right note with Mike. I think in his own awkward way, he came to God that day. And my faith tells me that God accepted Mike without taking away style points. I also believe that the moment Carol passed from this world Mike was there to greet her with open arms to this great kingdom. I can just hear him saying, “Hello Mrs. Malloy … Little brother had it right all along.”
Do I know this for sure? No. I guess no one does until the time comes. Faith is not something you can see, smell or touch. But there is something inside me that says there is a reason for all this – a reason that God gave us life, the ability to think and the ability to have human emotions. I think that “life” must go beyond our relatively short time on this earth. A body can’t last forever, but I firmly believe there is a place for our soul.
So what is heaven? Again, I don’t pretend to be an expert ... and you won’t be seeing me on the TV evangelist circuit with these thoughts. But I would like to think that heaven is what we make of it – a culmination of our happiest moments on earth.
For Mike, I can see him revisiting the times when he was a big brother and role model to me; when he was a star player on his Babe Ruth baseball team; when he took road trips to the Bay area to watch the Giants or A’s; or the times he went to the lake with Ryan and Tammy. Mike had a lot of choices, because his life was full of pleasures.
For Carol, I would think her heaven would include watching Pamela, Lisa and Jeff become the outstanding people they are, or watching her grandchildren grow up. I don’t know Carol’s history as I do my brother’s, but she too had a good life that was full of pleasures.
I imagine heaven for them both would be those Thanksgiving holidays when the family would converge for good football, fantastic turkey and trimmings, more good football and maybe a turkey sandwich later. And don’t forget about the shopping the next day. Vicki and I had the pleasure of attending one of those gatherings and it was one of the most memorable Thanksgivings of my lifetime. When it’s my time to go, that’s a little slice of heaven I’ll reserve for myself.
But I think the real heaven for Mike and Carol will be the time they had for themselves – from the laughter and joy of their wedding day to sitting in the living room sipping on wine and listening to a CD or tape of one of the greatest music collections ever assembled. Heaven to them was a leisurely breakfast, watching football on Sunday, or peacefully sitting on the patio on a beautiful day. Heaven to Carol was hearing the words, “Good morning, Mrs. Malloy.” Heaven to Mike was doing whatever he could to make heaven for Carol.
Mike and Carol lived for each other. Two months before he died, Mike told me, “I don’t care about what happens to me. The only thing important to me is Carol.” A few weeks later, and only a few weeks before Mike’s death, they felt some earthquakes in that area and Mike made the decision to get out of their condo and find a different place. As Mike told me at the time, “I saw the look of fear in her face and I never wanted to see that look again.”
The relationship, and the rich rewards, went both ways. Carol fully embraced Mike through health and sickness. She was a pillar of support for Ryan and his family, and a mother and best friend to Tammy. Carol was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer a few years before Mike contracted that horrible disease. Doctors gave her a year or two to live, and she went years beyond that. I think there’s a reason for that. I think Carol was determined to see Mike through no matter what. And she did – defying all forms of medical logic in the process.
I’m glad that Carol was able to live her last days with her daughters close by. That’s where she wanted to be, and that’s where her greatest level of support was.
Now, I believe that Carol is exactly where she wants to be – living cancer free and in blissful eternity with Mike, and maybe sharing a few side journeys from the happier times of the past.
Do I know this to be true? Of course not. But faith tells me that Mike and Carol have found the kind of eternal joy that all of us someday hope to experience Heaven as a place where good people go; and Mike and Carol Malloy were two of the best people I’ve ever known.