By David Korte, as told to Karen Mulder
My older brother Mick passed away unexpectedly at the age of 46. I still miss him tremendously. If you were to see him walking down the street, you probably wouldn’t have known he had a mental disability. Academically, Mick functioned at about the 4th grade level. But socially, he was more advanced. And physically, well, he was far more gifted than either my sister or me. He dominated at the Special Olympics, playing basketball, softball, bowling, track & field, and the winter games.
Mick was known for his generous nature and childlike innocence, especially around Christmas. He loved playing Santa Claus and distributing gifts to my children. Mick loved biking, bowling, and playing with the train set in my Mom’s basement. The day he died was one of the worst of my life.
Mick was exactly how and who he was supposed to be.
The biggest thing that life with my brother taught me is that we are put on this earth in God’s perfect vision of us. After Mick died and I was preparing his eulogy, I pondered what Mick would be like in heaven—would he be free of all limitations? There were lots of things he could have done better; made more free throws, had a higher bowling average, sang on key and maybe even driven a car. My answer to this question was that Mick wouldn’t be any different in heaven, he was exactly how and who he was supposed to be. He was perfect.
Mick enriched all of the people that knew him. He certainly made me a better person. And that’s why I know he is exactly the same Mick in Heaven as he was here on earth.
David Korte is a founding partner with Korte & Kowatch, a boutique family wealth and consulting practice. He lives with his wife and two children in Grand Rapids, Michigan.