« How Should You Frame a Photograph? (Thursday) | Main | Spectacular Dud »

Friday, 28 May 2021


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

"He has a quiet but quicksilver wit, incisive but never mean, so it was easy to imagine the quips in his head were good ones and would have made me laugh."

Mike, how I wish for a testimony like this one day...

What a beautiful remembrance of your brother.

We are long time visitors (and lovers) of Bristol RI. We have always visited by small boat and that for us accounts for a lot of the charm. Way back when we were the last marchers in line in the Bristol July 4th Parade, the oldest July 4th Parade in this fine country. There is little wrong with this place that can matter. Photographically speaking, I wish I could do it justice.


I am so very sorry, Mike. And may we all have the very great kindness of someone to remember us to the world so kindly, and true.

A wonderful post, full of interest, humour and love. A window into your family life, at such a poignant time for two brothers.

Best wishes and chin up.


what a lovely spirit.
what a lovely brother.
what a lovely friend.
what a lovely eulogy.

So terribly sorry to hear about your brother. Being of a similar age to you and your brother, I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose one of my brothers. You have my sincere condolences.

My heartfelt condolences, Mike. Your close relationship with your brother is a blessing you will always hold close, and being there for him is the finest gift you could bestow. He sounds like a wonderful bloke.

So sorry about your brother. I recently spent a few days with my mother before she died. So many thoughts, so many emotions rush through us during these times. My thoughts of support are with you.

I’m so sorry to hear this Mike, as I’m sure we all are. Patti Smith said once: “When someone close to you dies, they leave some of the good in them with you, like a gift...” Me, I’m trying to use those gifts well, in their memories...
again, so sorry for your loss...

Ah, there you go, Mike. All you needed was to have some new experiences, meet some new people, and that will automatically open up your visual senses and your shutter finger will do the rest.

The Holy Grail for you would be to spend just one hour at your neighboring Mennonite community and take some shots there. And I am pretty sure they know all about you already.

It is so very hard to say goodbye. My heart goes out to you and your family, my friend. I wish Scott as easy a passing as possible and Godspeed.

Mike, Thank you for sharing your discoveries and recommendation with us, and your final farewell. As always, I'm impressed by your openness, directness, honesty and kindness, and more than ever, deeply moved. On top of all your other qualities, you have clearly been a wonderful brother. My condolences. Nick

Hello Mike,

So sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing your feelings and some memories about your brother. Wishing you comfort at this time.

Best regards,


Mike, very sorry to hear about your brother. I know you’ve lovingly mentioned him from time to time .
This post is a fine piece of writing. It’s actually a short story that contains a novel's worth of information.

Mike, for many of us you wear multitude of hats — blogger, editor, columnist, colleague, chum, and yes: family. In the last of these many guises, please accept our sympathy and condolences.
~ David

I’m so sorry, Mike. Thanks for putting it into words so beautifully.

I’m so sorry, Mike. I wish that there was more that I could say but words fail at times like these.

I’m so sorry. I have three brothers and love them all dearly. Love and peace to you.


condolences Mike, beautifully written

Losing a younger sibling must in some respects be worse that losing a parent because by the time you become an adult, you have learned to prepare for the latter.

I'm very sorry to hear about your brother. Words are never enough.

Our siblings are the people we know the longest. Your memories and the simple act of holding hands are testimony to a long and loving relationship. Tender thoughts to you Mike

I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother. Thanks much for sharing.

You are very good with words. A profoundly moving post.

At some time, almost all of us have or will have to deal with these moments. My thoughts are with you and your brother; my condolences.

My condolences Mike. A lovely, touching and heartfelt narrative. I only hope someone has something as kind to say about me when my time is near.

Condolences and prayer, Mike.

A truly moving tribute, Mike.

My heartfelt condolences. May your brother's soul be at peace.

My deepest condolences on the loss of your brother and best friend, Mike.

My thoughts are with you, Mike

The tear in my eye is for you.

My condolences to you, Mike. And thanks for sharing such a touching moment.

The beauty of your writing is why it's a privilege to read your words every day. I'm positive that your gifts were no less wasted on your brother, as his gifts were never wasted on you.

Great writing, as always. Sorry Mike. Heartfelt condolences.

So sorry to read this, yet such beautiful prose. My condolences Mike.

Condolences for your loss Mike. Thank you for sharing such a moving tribute of love between brothers.

So sorry, Mike. But thank you for giving me something that helped me remember this morning those I have lost over the years.

You've mentioned Scott numerous times, enough that he seems familiar to us. This has gotta be rough for you, Mike. Hang in there. My condolences and prayers go out for you and your family.

So very sad to read this Mike, and all the more for being so beautifully written.


Sorry to know this news, so bad. But your truibute, your words are so moving, so touching...

Very sorry to hear. My own brother is the unfortunate winner of a genetic coin flip with a disease he inherited from our mother, so we know his life will likely be shorter, which we don't talk about much.

Your description of your brother was like a prose version of David Hurn's photo of his father.

I'm sorry for your loss. A loved family member is always very difficult.

You gave us a clue when noting that your absence was due not to a family emergency, but rather a family tragedy.

Spending time together before the end was extraordinarily valuable, both for you and Scott. Here's hoping Charlie had the same opportunity with Scott.

Stay strong.

I'm sorry to read this news. Condolences, Mike.

Thanks as always for being an example of how to see, to think, to feel, and yes, to live.

Thank you for sharing your story, it touched my heart. I am so sorry for your loss and send my condolences. It reminded me of my ageing siblings and how dear they are to me. Thank you for that.

Such a moving and honest piece of writing. Thank you for this post. I read your blog as much (if not more) for this as the writing about photography.

I'm now at a point in my life (75 yrs old) where the death of some someone I know or who influenced my life in some way is a daily occurrence. My deep condolences to you Mike.

Well... damn.

Mike, your thoughtful writing conveys to us that life goes on despite the loss of loved ones. I too lost a brother some 24 years ago. My heartfelt condolences goes out to you.

Beautiful how you wove that into the context of the article.

Very sorry for your loss, Mike, and very moved by your way of sharing it with us.

I have two brothers and feel very lucky to have them as "sympathetic peer witnesses to my childhood." It is wonderful to have someone you can talk to about a person or event from back then. We still laugh about the time our above-ground pool split open and the water went roaring down the hill in our backyard into the neighbor's yard. I am so very sorry for your loss and know that you will miss Scott and his memories. Take care of yourself.

Wow Mike - very sorry to hear this news - my condolences to you. The comment exchange with RubyT really hit home for me.

At 33 my lifelong best friend passed suddenly in his sleep. We met in kindergarten then spent 8 years at the same Catholic elementary school, then the next four at Boston College High School. He went off to Holy Cross and I to UMass Amherst. After college we moved to Atlanta and embarked upon our careers in sport management working on the 1996 Olympic Games and living together.

After the Olympics, geography and then being adults kept us physically apart. He continued the path to NASCAR and then the NFL while I moved back to Boston and started my photography business.

Over the next few years we spoke multiple times per week on the phone as we met our future wives and then served as Best Man in our respective weddings. I got to see the joy he had in becoming a father. His daughter was 15 months and my daughter still 3 months from being born when he died. So tragic.

That was May of 2004. I've mourned this loss in many ways. His father losing a son, his wife a husband and his daughter a father. Him never getting to experience all of the joys of raising kids. Never getting to fulfill what would have been a very successful career.

But the piece I grapple with on a daily basis still is that loss of our shared witness of eachothers' formative years. So many of my memories of those incredible years were shared with him and only him. I remember a lot, but without the other witness, so much is lost. Bantering with yourself about great or bad times just isn't the same. And to appreciate those moments, well, "you had to be there."

I think as we were aging, our shared "honest" witness became more "sympathetic." As you live life, you certainly become more aware of the challenges that people deal with in those adolescent years. Nobody was ever going to know us like we knew us. I miss that, and him, greatly - still.

Thanks for the beautiful post and the prompt.

[Thank you for sharing that with us John. --Mike]

Sincere condolences and may the peace of God be with you.

Being remembered not just fondly but kindly is about the best anybody can have, when they go, so your brother is lucky in that regard. I hope doing so has been some small measure of solace to you!

Sorry for your loss, Mike. Thank you for sharing these remembrances (and others over the years) of your brother.

A photograph couldn't tell this story the way your words do.

Great condolences on your loss, unfortunately it is pretty much impossible to live 60 or more years without experiencing one, ugg.
I would like to suggest that you print and frame the pictures in this post and find a spot in your home to hang them. I have a painting inside my back door that I cannot miss seeing whenever I come home. It was painted by a dear friend who died of cancer quite a few years ago. I cannot look at it without being reminded of the many good memories I have of her.

I am very sorry for your loss. Thank you for the beautiful tribute to your brother.

My sympathies Mike.

Dear Mike,

I'm so sorry to hear about Scott, but many thanks for sharing his story with us so gracefully. I have five older siblings, the older ones now in their mid-70's. I still find it impossible to imagine living in this world with any of them no longer here - inevitable surely, but still somehow inconceivable.

Heartfelt condolences to you and your family.


I’m so sorry to hear about your brother…my condolences. Over the years I have occasionally mentioned to friends how having sibling’s means that someone always has my back but I have not always received the enthusiastic affirmation I expected. Family can be tricky. You were lucky to have a sympathetic peer witness (love that phrase) in your brother. To have the support of someone who knows your hopes, dreams, and secrets is invaluable. There is a quote that says it takes two men to make one brother. I don’t know that the quote is specific to siblings but for me it highlights the fact that brotherhood is a special thing.

Peace to you. You were a good brother.

Dear Mike
I was an only child, no relatives, compensated by having uniquely singular friendships all through my growing years with similar only child boys. I left my childhood friends and whole world behind when we escaped communist Hungary, but even when I couldn’t speak English in the East Bronx a couple of fellow loners became my friends, and helped me become a New Yorker.
My best life continues in my seventies and it’s called family. I was one, we are now ten. Two caring and close sons, treasuring their wives and families. Always close to each other and each other’s families, treasuring each child, and I now understand brotherhood.
Hard to put in words how your loss moved me .... I’ve rarely seen it so heartfelt, but I can feel it. Your love came pouring out. Take comfort, you deserve it.

Very sad news about Scott, Mike. My condolences.

That was a beautifully written piece.

I have full empathy for you. My youngest brother (8 years younger) died three years ago this June 2. I still almost send him copies of email messages (he lived in New Mexico) that I send to my other brother. Your column is beautiful.

Mike, I too want to express my sympathy to you and your family. A sad time for everyone. I now understand the title of you post. it didn't register with me at first. Be safe my friend Eric

Mike, I am so sorry.

I know the sharing of this is something you do for him and for you.

My hearing it is what I do for you.


My condolences, Mike. As I approach 74, I'm aware that saying goodbye will be an increasingly frequent thing in my life. It happens. And then - I hear that my great nephew, an athletic lad of 20, may have to have a lower leg amputated because of a sort of cancer. We just have to accept it, I guess.


A beautifully written piece.
Thank you.


Oh, Mike.

That must have been tough.

My thoughts are with you.

Sorry to hear about your brother, Mike. All the best!

Sorry for your loss, Mike. My condolences.

Thank you for sharing this with us. My condolences. May his memory be a blessing.

I’m so sorry, Mike. What a beautiful and heart-gentle piece. Take care.

My sincere condolences Mike. I am an only child. Having a brother or sister was always in my prayers when I was a child. I have had a few wonderful close friends in my life but I still wish I had grown up with siblings. Your moving remembrance of Scott is truly beautifully written and speaks to kind of relationship I longed for when I was growing up. I am very sorry for your loss.


My sincerest condolences, Mike. And a big thank you for your thoughtful writing in a situation, where many of us did/will struggle for words.

Very sorry about your loss. My heartfelt condolences.

All the best to you and your family Mike. And thank you for sharing in such a thoughtful and honest way. I'm glad you got to say goodbye. Kind Regards, Keith M.

My sincerest condolences for your loss and a really thoughtful, reflective, loving and powerful piece of writing. Take care.


So sorry to hear. Your words could not be bettered. These moments are very distressing but what a privilege to be alive and able to do our best for others and loved ones at such times.

So sorry for your loss. I know he means the world to you. I spoke with my brother yesterday and after reading your beautiful tribute, I have a new appreciation for our connection throughout the years. May you have peace.

You have my condolences, Mike. That was a very moving read.

That's sad news as I understand that you were very close as kids and stayed so afterwards. I am glad that you were able to be with him near the end.

We were a big family, with two WW II kids and two baby boomers, and I never got to know my sister until she was an adult. Her life went in many directions, but she was in a wonderful relationship when lung cancer took her 20 years ago. She died surrounded by friends, and knowing that she was loved. Her partner remains a close friend, so in some ways my sister has not left us. I hope you can feel the same about your brother.

Oh Mike, my heart aches for you. I'm glad that you had some time with him. And you write so beautifully...

What a lovely and touching remembrance you've written. My condolences to you and your family.

My deepest sympathies, Mike. Thank you for letting us know what you're going through, and that you are finding some solace in the lifelong passion and work that you share here with us. Peace.

So sorry for you. It gets easier as time goes by. My sincere condolences.

Condolences, Mike. Beautifully written, as always.

That was achingly sad, yet also beautiful. My condolences for your loss Mike. Thank you for the story.

What a warm, gentle, understated and touching remembrance.

No-one will fill the gap your brother leaves behind, but I hope that the many warm comments you are receiving in response will be some comfort.

Andy S

Dear Mike,
Thank you for this ... and so sorry to hear of your brother’s death. My sister Diana died a few years ago. We were very close but living at opposite ends of England we met only once a year.
I loved her to bits but her life had become rather sad and lonely. I flewcup north and we had a wonderful few days together. On my last morning I woke up and heard a noise in the kitchen . I ran through and she was on the floor. It was clear she had had a stroke .... initially she was aware of me and grabbed my hand. Before the ambulance arrived the stroke had deepened and she was deeply unconscious. It was so so sad but I remain glad beyond measure that by sheer fluke we were together.
She never regained conference ... but she was not alone.

I hope as the sadness softens you will all your life have him and your memories of him accompagny you in the years ahead.

Those are very nice words you wrote about your brother. I am glad you both had such a good bond. I am keeping you in my thoughts.

Hi Mike,
I am sorry to hear about your brother.
Your description was very moving.

I am not very good at dealing with death. It is good you got to say goodbye to him.

My brother died from Covid in February and it was very sudden.

the other Mike Johnston

My sincerest condolences, Mike, to you and to everyone affected by your brother's passing.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007