Friday, August 12, 2016

a wonderful man passes

Mike Botein

there was a deep heart in Mike,
good intention, a magnanimous soul,
a willingness to offer anything he could think of to another,
at the beautiful memorial service
the love he gave so freely
reached back toward him in words, hearts, and glittering eyes,
all of us wanting to hold him again, at least in memory,

Mike embodied loving decency,
a giving nature that called him to serve,
particularly to serve student after student
as a teacher at New York Law School,
the shared anecdotes of how well 
he was able to be there for his students touched all of us,
he loved to serve as a lawyer, his speciality how countries
could develop a legal framework for telecommunications,
Mike here an impressive pioneer,
one who saw what was coming
and heralded how to meet it,
a speciality that enabled him to follow his love of travel
from Israel to Australia, to Poland and Ukraine,
to Columbia as a Fulbright,
to the Czech Republic just last year,

his brilliance appreciated by anyone who waded into conversation with him,
by his colleagues and in countless interactions 
with students and family over the long decades,

Mike earned respect in the New York legal community
and honored his father, the judge, with the ripples of his own life,
he loved his mother, too, 
but how he fit into her troubled psyche 
hard to fathom, for him and for all of us,

I loved to watch him with his grandchildren
for, like many of us, unconditional love is easy to give
to the second generation from us,
also, like many, to know and appreciate the child
a bit more challenging than interacting with the developed mind,

he loved his own children without condition,
no matter what might seem to be or not be in his words,
in his eyes I always saw the love, respect, and even awe
he had for both his son and for his daughter,

Mike had a joy in life that manifested
in a twinkle of the eye, a laugh, a joke, 
a smile that could melt you,

how wonderful for Mike and Kris to have had each other,

Kris loved the best within him and helped it come forth even more,
what an extraordinary partnership
as their world circled around each other, their work, and
Matt and Liz, Sue and Ike, Jack, Ella, Rachel, and Izzy,

what a gift it is when the next generations
carry on the best of who we were
and somehow move past the worst,

Mike embodied a strong will,
and he had to use it to face challenges,
when his body was giving up on him,
he would fight and fight, and endure,
though beset from all sides
by body and mind that just couldn’t hold together well any more,

Mike loved the lake and his house there,
and he found peace and solace in a retreat by its shore,
boats always called to him,
a way to sail forth and be free like the wind,

I hope now that he has been released from the land
that he sails forth into a peace
that eluded him too much in his life,

his final resting place just up the road from his beloved lake house,
a pastoral setting to match the beauty in his soul.

by Henry H. Walker
August 4-5, ’16

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