6 November 2004

Goodbye to Mikey

We said goodbye to Mike Ainsworth this past week. I've just returned from his funeral in England. Mikey was a great guy. This is very difficult for me.

I have thousands of pictures and just as many sounds in my mind. I keep hearing Mikey telling me to "land it, Colby - just land it!" I see his round face and watch him pace while he imitates the Dutch or the Norwegians struggling with concepts larger than their language!

Mikey danced through life with his wicked sense of humor, mimicking accents while he shared the cultural hiccups that brought us all to tears laughing. He had a brilliant mind that structured frameworks for assembling even the most complicated thinking...and helped each of us become more of ourselves by engaging with him that way.

What Mikey brought to each of our lives was a real sense of presence. Be here now. Deal with reality and the consequences of your choices. He was not a man to run naked through an emotional landscape. He preferred to celebrate life with a great bottle of wine (or preferably several!), really yummy food, and the company of those that shared the enjoyment of one another's company. That is how Mikey showed his love
for us - he gave us his precious time.

I remember him telling me about Sarah - now his wife - when we were working together in Oslo for the client Nowegian Railroad back in 1998. He did not hesitate for one second as he detailed the research efforts of her company, and then slipped in the
notion that he was sure he was in love. His sense of honor forced him to tell his wife immediately - while we all ducked knowing the cascade of fire that would follow. He carried the responsibility of his choice for Sarah like a badge of honor in a war that he knew his former wife would never let end. He knew it beforehand, but was not willing to risk losing Sarah - his chance of having real love in his life. He was willing to pay dearly for that. He never looked back and never regretted that decision. You've got to love a man like that! Talk about standing for what you believe in.

During his funeral, his brother Peter said that Mikey "fostered the promise" in people. He was a man driven by ethics, fueled with creative spirit and following a path that fed so many others.

We miss you, Mikey. We will do our best to foster the promise in ourselves.

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