This weekend last year was the last time Michael played with the P@ul Ank@ band. We flew to Atlantic City for that show which took place at Caesar's Palace and also featured Ann M@argaret and Tony Ol@ndo. Michael was really excited about working with them. I almost didn't go to the show that evening because I was so upset about all the trouble we were having getting Michael into UCLA for treatment. It was taking a toll on me. Now I'm really glad I made it as we had no idea that it would be his last performance with the band. In retrospect, it was a great way to end a career of nearly fifteen years.
I think the show was on Friday night, and then we were treated to a "ride home" via Mr. Ank@'s private jet the next day. We both enjoyed that very much and it was much easier on Michael than commercial travel would have been.
Father's Day was spent with his family. I'm so glad we did that. He loved his family so much. Michael was raised by his step-father, Tony. My mother-in-law's first husband (Michael's father, now deceased) left her with seven small children for another woman. She was working at least two jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, when this young man at her restaurant job asked her out. She laughed him off at first because she thought he must be crazy to want to date her, but he persisted. They got married shortly thereafter. Michael always had the greatest respect for his mom and his step-father because of all they sacrificed and how hard they worked to provide for all those kids. It moved him to tears when he considered that.
While Michael was sick, it was really touching to see the love he and his dad had for one another. I remember his dad telling Michael, and I think it might have been on Father's Day, that he needed to "get right with God - get right with Jesus". I really respected Tony for telling Michael that, because Tony is a man of few words and he keeps his spirituality pretty private. But he cared about Michael - body and spirit. That's what a good father does.