I had just gotten to baggage claim after arriving in Orange, CA. I turned on my cell phone to see that a voice message was waiting for me. The name and number said, “Michael Dubruiel.” A smile came to my face as Mike has been a long time friend. Editor of two of my books, and acquisitions editor for another, Mike and I have spent many long hours on the phone together. Most recently, Mike was appointed Director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Birmingham.
When I listened to the voice message, however, my smile instantly dissipated. It was Mike’s wife’s voice I heard, well-known author and blogger, Amy Welborn. I heard what she was saying and yet it couldn’t register in my mind. I pressed the button and listened again, and then quickly called her. When I spoke to her in person, Amy confirmed what I feared I had heard: Mike was gone. He collapsed at the gym the morning before. Just barely 50 and with no apparent physical problems.
Amy’s blog has it all there for you, including the last article he wrote for publication in the Birmingham diocesan paper. Something worth reading, to be sure. Amy’s blog address is www.amywelborn.wordpress.com.
I have experienced the death of loved ones twice now — one tragically and unexpectedly, one planned for and anticipated. The surreal experience of it all — the shock and disbelief, the numbing reality, the misery and sorrow — are almost impossible to communicate. And yet, for those of us with faith, we know God is present with us, and somehow mysteriously interacting with us in the midst of it all.
I know you will pray for Amy, for the four children left behind, and for the repose of Mike’s soul. He would be pleased, I know, if we kept our eyes on Jesus, lived each moment in the grace of the present moment, and did all we could to bring the Faith to others. Mike was/is an evangelizer. He lived it in word and deed. Let us do the same.
May you rest in peace, Mike. And God bless you, Amy and children. We are praying for you.