Reflection / Relationship


Sadly Michael died on October 17.

this was my eulogy.

First, I must thank everyone for the overwhelming cards,flowers,texts,emails and messages of condolence we have received..

I must also pay tribute to our children, who have surrounded me with love and support these past few weeks.

His nephew wrote to Victoria ( his daughter) last week 

if the measure of a parent can be shown by his children, then Michael Gildea did a pretty good job”

and I go along with that.

To some of you he was Mick, to some he was Mike, others know him as Michael.  To his children he was Dad and to his grandchildren,. Grandpa Michael.

i always knew, when he stopped to talk to people, how they knew him by the name they used.

But today I want to tell you about ” my” Michael.

My lover and my friend.

We had 27 years together.  We laughed and loved and travelled life’s journey side by side,. But we were very different people and that was the thing about Michael, he allowed me to be who I was.

i got to know him after the dark days of his drinking, when he’d wondered around, lost and bewildered.  Until one night sleeping on a bench he’d had an epiphany and realised that alcohol had been at the bottom of everything he’d done wrong in life.

many people had helped him during those dark days, —-,—–and ,——,—-, are just some names I know

but there were other people, names I didn’t know.  He would offen stop to speak to a drunk or down and out  as we walked ( slowly! Joke)in the town centre and I would ask ” why are you bothering with him?and he’d say ” he showed me where I could sleep” or ” he shared his food” or simply. ” He was kind to me”

so he came to Alcoholics Anonymous and I watched him get sober and recover.

i saw a kind man

I saw a generous man, even though he had nothing at the time.

but most of all I saw, how many people have described him to us this past week,

a gentleman

a… Gentle. ..Man

So he trained and worked as a counsellor, quietly  helping as much as he could, people with drink and drug  problems.

We travelled to many places,. ( Usually involving a racecourse!) and had a good life.

He loved a posh hotel, but was equally at home in an apartment in Paris or a  tent in Cartmel,. Note both those places have racecourses!

Our last conversation was about how much we loved each other, then he died quietly and peacefully 4hours later.  That is a great comfort to me.

The two great things Michael taught me   ( apart from ” never let your income get in the way of your lifestyle!) Joke as mentioned earlier.

were. ” live within the day”

and “Be optimistic”

he was the eternal optimist, and it would irritate me, he never had a plan B, in fact he hardly ever had a plan A.

!!  He’d say to me, ” don’t worry, it’ll all turn out alright in the end…….and usually it did!

so as I say goodbye to the physical  Michael today,     I  know his  wonderful kindness and generosity,  his eternal optimism and his amazing ability to be non judgemental, to treat everyone the same no matter where they came from will live on in the memories and stories we have of him

.My life has now changed forever, but I’ll always be honoured and grateful I shared a part of my life,. With Michael Gildea.




15 thoughts on “…..WHILE YOU’RE MAKING PLANS.

  1. This is so beautiful, Denise! Straight from your heart to all who heard or will read your eulogy to Michael! You were both so fortunate to find a soul mate in one another – loves like the one you and Michael shared don’t come around all the time! I know you cherish the years you spent together and my wish for you is that the memories of those years will sustain you at this time!
    Love and lots of hugs to you,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A beautiful tribute for a beautiful man. As always, well done, Denise. You’re a lucky woman to have had a love like that for 27 years. Take good care! Love, Jane

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So beautifully written, Denise. You were blessed to have found one another. May Michael Rest in Peace and may your memories of the love you shared carry you through the days/years ahead. Love, Nancy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As always, I am filled with gratitude that you have chosen to share your thoughts and memories with me, whom you don’t even know, through your blog. Back in “Our Paris Forum” you appeared with a wonderful, fun personality and spirit; and finding we share longtime sobriety in AA made relating to you very easy. Your adventures in Paris always inspired me and your relationship with Michael through good times and difficult times has always been expressed beautifully. None more than this eulogy. I kept up with your blog and dreaded reading that you had lost him. Now that he’s gone….this stranger has her arms around you. My husband and I are both retired now (blissfully), though he is still working part-time as a drug/alcohol counselor (bureaucracy is also taking the place of patient care at his job). We’ve now been to Paris three times – last year we celebrated our retirements with a month in the city we all love. If we didn’t live so far away (Los Angeles), we’d have made so many more trips. Your posts about Michael and the races gave us the idea to go to the track in Paris – had such a good time – and I thought of you both while losing all my money! If we are able to return to Paris, you and Michael will be there with us.
    With gratitude and love,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lauren,. I often wonder why I feel the need to share my feelings this way. Is it a selfish indulgence,? is it narcissistic? Not sure.

      Firstly I think it helps me to sort out my feelings in some sort of order, and being an ” over thinker”. Helps me leave them behind.
      My whole interpretation of the 12 step programme is that it’s designed to get me out of my ” head”. Away from my trivial personal fears and preoccupations and go out and be useful to the world.
      I have just realised that my writing helps me to do that, if sharing honestly how I feel will help someone else in the same situation that’s wonderful.


Leave a Reply to denisefrombolton Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.