Mike Burton’s relationship with his father was strong. Growing up, he learned so much from his father, a man of many talents. Mike’s dad was an author, songwriter, and lover of knowledge. He made a conscious effort to pay attention to the small details; he made the people around him feel valued. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with cancer and tragically passed away just 18 short months later. Mike lost his father at the young age of 19.
The Process of Grief
This loss surely forced Mike to grow up quickly. While working through his own grief, he also supported his mother through hers. Grief looks different for everyone. We all experience it in different ways and at different times. Grief is immediate or delayed. It’s deep and debilitating or it’s a slow roll of all-consuming waves. One thing is certain – we all encounter our own unique experience when we lose a loved one.
Mike’s process was slow. He built up walls to show he was strong. He dealt with his loss by maintaining a strong front. It wasn’t until he allowed himself to truly feel his deep, raw emotions that Mike began to heal.
Growing Through Grief
The loss of Mike’s father proved to be one of the most impactful experiences in his life. Through focusing on the way his father lived his life, Mike discovered the importance of admitting when he is wrong and acknowledging when things are difficult. He learned to show others kindness through small gestures and to navigate his life from a place of vulnerability.
We are, without a doubt, who we are because of what we’ve been through.
Mike’s willingness to share his personal journey through grief is the example we all need. Vulnerability is where true growth and connection begin. Overall, we should all take Mike’s lead and work every day to grow and heal. This is what it means to choose bravely.
Other Resources Mentioned in Mike’s Interview
Episode 54: How To Be Brave, Not Fearless – Heather’s interview on Genuine Chit-Chat Podcast
Still Brave – Episode 38 on The Brave Files Podcast with Tom Mitchell
Death Brought Me Back To Life – Episode 40 on The Brave Files Podcast with Alua Arthur