Life, Liberty, & Happiness

2000 Days


oday marks 2000 days since you left this planet for the great beyond. My grief marks each day the empty space in my world without you. I will sit by your grave this afternoon. I will study your photograph and gaze into those chocolate brown eyes. And I will wish - yet again - to have just one more conversation with you.

I try to imagine what you might look like now, five years after your death—at the age of 31. I find myself wondering what might have been. Would you be married and have children? Would you have joined me in my work as you finished nursing school? I lose myself in asking what if’s - Questions I whisper on my lips that cannot be answered in this life. And my tears fall like rain as I look to the sky and ask why. Son, do you have any idea how irrevocably your life—and death—shaped and redefined my life?

I see you everywhere Ryan. In every full moon and in each brilliant day - you are there. Sometimes I hear a voice that sounds like you and - for a brief moment - my spirits soar. But I turn to see the face of a stranger, not yours.

There are days when the weight of grief on my heart makes each breath labored and every step an effort. On the worst days, I sit before my laptop and pour out my feelings to the only person who can take in my sorrow and remain unbowed - me. The keyboard is damp when the final thought leaves my fingertips: I love you, Ryan. I miss you. And then I press “save.” I have hundreds of these messages - Expressions of love that needed somewhere to go. These messages help me exist in a world with you physically here.

I ache to see you again, but I’m doing ok Ryan. I experience moments of sorrow and joy in unison. I am surviving the unimaginable. In loss, I have gained insight and empathy for others that I might otherwise never have known. The rough edges I had before losing you have been worn away. I now choose kindness over confrontation. I have such empathy for those who suffer loss. And for that, I am grateful.

Our Creator sits with me in my grief. He is sustaining me.  He has spoken color back into the gray world that had become my life without you. He is making beauty from ashes and has graced me to find moments of joy. I have deep scars, wounds that are a testament to the love we shared - but I also have a clear purpose—and that is a gift.

Today, I will play your favorite music. I will re-live beautiful memories of you through the photos I have. And I will offer thanks for my twenty-five years with you. And as the sun sets on this day, I will slowly heal a little more. I am eternally grateful for the honor of knowing you and the pleasure of being your father.

I’ll love you forever, Dad

About Dr. Michael Burcham

Michael is an executive coach, entrepreneur, investor, and strategist with 30 years of experience leading investor-backed, high-growth organizations.

“I built and sold a $40M company with Dr. Burcham as my mentor. This is the thing: if you EVER get the opportunity to learn from this man, from that moment forward, you’ll list him as one of the most influential people in your life, even if you live to be 90. And, you’ll know how lucky you were to have that opportunity and you’ll immediately say YES to any chance to be in his presence again—his wisdom is that impactful.”

Sherry Stewart Deutschmann

Former CEO, Letter Logic

“If you are looking for a trusted mentor and coach for yourself or your leadership team, I highly recommend Michael Burcham. He has worked with me as my executive coach for well over a decade now. Our conversations and his feedback have helped me sharpen my critical thinking skills. He’s a trusted advisor that I can confidentially speak with about any issue—and I know I’ll get valued feedback. I highly recommend him.”

Ryan McGrath

CEO, Asset Living

“Dr. Burcham’s depth and breadth of experience makes even the most ADD entrepreneurial leader sit up and take notes! His coaching skills bring out the ‘best you’ possible. He selflessly shares the good, the bad, and the ugly—leaving you with an authentic and moving experience sure to spur action and professional growth!”

Julie Lenzer

Director, U.S. Department of Commerce


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