This website was created in the memory Michael Bosma who was born in Penticton BC on January 17, 1980 and went missing January 10, 2006 at the age of 25. Michael struggled since his late teens with schizophrenia. This site is dedicated to the life that Michael had. Please take the time to view Mike’s artwork, photos and some writings. You can write condolences or a tribute to some part of Mike’s life. Please feel free to light a candle in Mike’s memory. Some parts of this may be disturbing to people but I am trying to get across how devastated Mike was with his illness. Mike was a very good person with a very bad disease
Mike was born in Penticton but for the first part of his years he grew up in Summerland. Michael was a real little boy and between Mike and his bother Dan we were kept busy. The house that we brought Mike home to had a great view of the train trestles. Mike and Dan would run to the window several times in a day who-who-who-oing. They were sure that they could be louder than the train! Even Watson the dog would get in the act!
There was a really big tub in our bathroom and the boys loved to have a big bubble bath. The bigger the better! Then they really got inventive and brought bubble stuff to blow while they having a bubble bath. I shut the whole thing down when Mike accidentally drank some of the bubble stuff. He seriously was blowing bubbles!
Things really got interesting when Sarah was added to the mix. We were all in awe of the new baby girl. When Mike first saw Sarah in the hospital he said "Wow Mom, her nails look just like mini chiclets. " Sarah was born Nov 7 so we had just had Halloween! Mike was in Preschool with Mrs. Hart in Summerland and he brought his baby sister for show and tell. Of course I knew it was coming up so I dressed Sarah in her best dress and shoes (sorry about the shoe thing Sarah). I remember Mike being so proud and of course I was proud to show her off too! When the teacher asked " What do you like the most about your new baby sister?' Mike answered, "She likes to watch me play." Personally I think Sarah watched and learned!
We had moved onto Washington Avenue in Summerland and Mike would spend hours riding his bike on the road and in the orchard. One day Mrs. Boerboom was driving down the road and Mike ran right into the side of her car. Poor woman was a mess. She gave Mike all the peppermints she had in her purse. That was when we discovered that Mike needed glasses. He was upset about having to wear glasses, as he didn't want to be a "beeker!" After we picked up Mikes first pair of glasses we treated the kids to Burger King (they loved to play on the playground). Mike was wearing his glasses and looking around in amazement. "Wow," he said, "all those little lumps on the hills are trees!" Mike wore his glasses from then on!
Grandpa had a sheep farm and Dan, Mike, and Sarah spent time on the farm especially when it came time for the sheep to lamb. There always seemed to be at least one orphaned lamb. Grandpa would have to bottle feed it so of course the kids loved to "help out". Mike brought a baby lamb for show and tell in Grade One. Mike said the teacher had never had such an interesting show and tell!
Our first house we bought was a Victorian Home built in 1910. The prefect house for kids to play and hide in with all the nooks and crannies. This was our big move to Penticton. Mike and Dan shared a bedroom with bunk beds. Watson (the dog) liked the new house as well. We were all impressed that Watson never did his business in the yard but would walk over the churchyard several yards away and use that!
Mike loved the Ninja Turtles and had almost all the characters. He could spend hours playing with the turtle with his vivid inmagination.
Another favorites of Mike were comics. He would wheel and deal with Bob from Bob's Comics. Mike took very good care of his comics and would even put them in their own case. He was very proud of his new Superman Comic that was still in the wrapper it came in.
Mike met some really good friends at Carmi School in Penticton. They all had the same energy as him and they would be going for hours. Lots of sleepovers, which meant no sleep! Every single one of Mike’s teacher's knew that he was a talented artist. I'm sure there is still some of his art with these teachers. Mike would like to do caricatures (sp) of people and some of these will be posted on this sight!
Oma and Opa would often take the kids camping. Mike really enjoyed spending some time with his cousins. Camping at Bear Creek was especially fun as they had a ranger that would talk everyday. Opa and Oma would go on long trail walks with the kids. There are a lot of fun memories of sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows. For a while Opa even had a boat!
Daniel got a paper route with the Penticton Herald. At that time the paper was delivered after school. Mike saw the money that Daniel was making and within a year he had his own paper route. For the first few months I went with him to help him learn the houses etc. After a while Mike was delivering on his own. The worst part of the job was trying to collect from people. This one particular man was never home so he ended up owing Mike about 2 months worth. Michael started going at all times of the day to try and collect from this man. Finally the man was home and of course couldn't understand why he owed so much. He was furious with Michael that he had to pay this amount Further more he went on to say that he didn't appreciate that Mike was walking on his lawn everyday! Michael came home with the money and told me what the man had said. Perhaps it was a bad day or maybe PMS but I loaded the kids in the car (Sarah in her car seat). Drove over to this mans house and knocked on his door. I can still remember the kids looking out the car window watching me. I explained that I was Michaels mother and I didn’t like the way he was treating my son. Then he started in on "parents now a days and blah blah blah blah....” To which I replied" Well I guess there’s no preparation H in your house...your too perfect of an asshole!" and marched out onto his lawn and did a jig and twist all the way back to the car. The kids were all laughing at silly mad mom! By the time I got home we were all killing ourselves laughing.
It was a lot of fun with the kids at this age. John and I have a lot of really good memories. We loved the waterslides and three years in a row we had family passes and made good use of them. Another fine memory is floating the river channel. No matter what we always had a dry boat. That was the only one that couldn't get wet and that’s where we kept all our bevies and snacks for on the way down. Mike and Dan liked to go snorkeling looking for some hockey players ring that he apparently lost going down the channel.
Unfortunately it was around this time that we lost our friend Watson as she was hit by a car while going along on the paper route with the boys. Our family was devastated by the loss of such a good dog.
The boys were real little instigators at times. They loved to tease "Princess Sarah." When McDonalds came out with their new commercial (Bacon Cheddar Curly Fries) in no time at all the boys were singing "Bacon, Cheddar Cutey Pie, Bacon Cheddar Cutey Pie." And of course there was commercials playing non stop!!
The boys would go to the mall with their own money, and Mike loved to shop. One day I came home from work to find the newspaper laid out for me, a nice cup of hot tea and even a cookie. The boys were surprising me. I was so touched. I felt so special that my boys would go to all that trouble. The tea wasn't all that good but the boys were so adorable I had to drink it. I was reading the newspaper and the boys kept coming by, giggling a little. Finally they admitted they had made me "DR. CRAPALOT TEA!" The boys had purchased it from the San Francisco Store. They had such a good time I couldn't even get mad. I tried but I ended up laughing but warned it was only funny once!
Penticton use to have the best August long weekends until we had the riots but for a few years the boys made some serious money. Our house was close to the main street. Police would have roadblocks out and make people dump their booze and the boys were right there getting empties. After one weekend our back yard would be full. Then the boys decided to step it up. They needed a ride to the mall and they wanted to buy balloons. There was so much water fighting going on with all the tourists it was amazing. The boys took the balloons home and filled them with water and stood on the side of the road with a big sign WATER BALLOONS 25 CENTS EACH OR 5 FOR A DOLLAR The first day the boys sold out in an hour. It was amazing to watch how much money the boys were making. That weekend they made enough to buy their very first Nintendo!
People would come from miles around for the weekends in Penticton. What a blast we had watching people having fun. People would decorate their cars. Some of the decorations were amazing. One guy lined the whole back of his pickup with plastic and had a pump to spray down anyone they could. There were no seatbelt laws in those days.... so anyone with a truck was a popular guy! People were packed in the back of trucks and trunks of cars all going down Main Street. As well waves of people walking down the street. People would arrive in town and have no place to stay. Lots of people were renting out spots on their lawn and making good money. We wanted to ride around and see what the rest of town doing on a busy weekend so we decorated our car as well. We went as the Griswold’s. I dug out an old dress and we filled it with newspaper, slapped a wig on her from the costume box, and strapped Aunt Edna on the roof. Sarah donated one of her stuff dog, which we tied to the bumper. At that time we had a station wagon so it was perfect. Down town was packed as we drove threw. People were yelling, "You’re going the wrong way, hey Clark your going the wrong way!" Aunt Edna was a hit! It was great fun till some guy parked on the stuffed dog! We got slurpees and left Aunt Edna on the roof of the car that night and by the morning she was gone!
Mike first concert was Metalica. John took Dan and Mike to Vancouver for an outing. Mike was so impressed by all the people and the vastness of the building.
There was a Bryan Adams concert in Revelstoke and we got tickets to go! Lucky for us Caroline and Frank lived there so we had a place to stay. We all went to the outdoor concert. It was packed! Just as we were leaving Dan turns to Mike and says, "Hey isn't that Kevin Costner?" Rumors had been flying around that he might be at the concert. In a flash Mike was running to take a look. I guess the family was freaking out trying to find him. I had no idea as I was on a beer run with my brother Rich. By the time we arrived at Frank and Caroline’s Mike had been found. Everyone was in a panic but luckily Mike knew what to do when he got lost. He found the Fire Hall and walked in and said "Hey I'm lost. My Uncle Frank and Aunty Caroline live here."
Daniel joined the Army Cadets and within a year Michael also joined. These boys had to have their clothes perfect and shoes shining. Every Tuesday night they had to be at Army Cadets at 6 PM. I was amazed at how both boys were so patriotic. The boys did learn a lot there, something’s better than others but definitely a learning experience!
Our only real vacation we went on was to Disney Land. Of course we drove our station wagon. Trina was living with us at the time and joined us on our holiday. Our station wagon had seating for five and we threatened to have "Aunt Edna" ride on the roof, but John rigged up a real nice spot in the very back of the car. It quickly became the most coveted seating. Mike was the perfect age for Disney Land. Actually we all were. We stayed in some really nice hotels and some not so nice, but it was still an adventure. We got a flat tire in the pouring rain and all the stuff had to come out to access the spare tire. That was not so nice!
Driving in California proved to be a bit challenging for John but luckily we only got stuck up a meridian once. I gave the kids all a journal at Christmas so they could write down what they did on their trip. I have put copies of Michaels Disney journal in the Disney Land Photo's. We went to Universal Studios the first day we were there and Mike wanted to write all about the play that we had seen. He was so impressed with the characters that they played. Disney Land was great. So many really good rides. We all agreed that it made our Carnivals at home look like a joke! I have some movie footage which I am hoping to down load soon of Disney Land and staying in the motel. The way back along the Oregon Coast was breath taking and if we ever did the drive again we would go down the coast and come back up the I5.
Trina graduated several months later and soon moved into her own place. We had been renovating our house for several years and when it was finally complete we sold it. Our new house was in a nice area with a pool! Mike would have many friends over to use the pool. Our one neighbor proved to be a real pain in the ass and the kids quickly started calling him Flanders (from the Simpsons, which Mike loved). This man would complain about the noise of water splashing. Thankfully the "Flanders" sold and moved on.
Mike was around 15 when things started spiraling out of control. We assumed it was teenage growing pains at first. Mike had several new friends and that is when he started using drugs. Unfortunately we had no idea that this was going on. Mike was kicked out of school for not attending. Shortly after that he lost his job for being late or not showing up at all. He became very belligerent and could fly into rages over minor things. Some days were good though but they were becoming less and less. I would come home from work and Mike would still be sleeping quite often in the same clothes he was wearing the day before. I could go on and on about the nightmare scenes that we dealt with. Looking back it seems so unreal but when you are living with someone like this daily it becomes almost normal and accepted.
Mike was around 17 when he announced that he was going to Fort St. John to work. We were stunned but he made it perfectly clear that he was not listening to us. We thought about phoning the RCMP, (as we had done several times when he got out of control) but we didn't. Looking back I really don't know what we could have done. There was no reasoning with Mike and if he got out of control the whole household would know it! So he left. We were worried sick, but then another part of us thought maybe this would be good for him, getting a good paying job etc. We didn't hear anything from him for about two weeks then we got a disturbing phone call from him. I could hardly understand what he was saying except that he wanted to come home. We arranged a bus ticket for him and 2 days later he arrived a mess. The"friend" that he was with had picked up a rock and smashed him in the mouth with it. His face was so swollen that he was unrecognizable. John took him to the walk-in clinic and Mike was put on the strongest antibiotics there is. One of his middle teeth on the bottom was smashed right out. It took him a good month to be able to eat properly. The only good thing that came out of this was that Mike would have nothing to do with this "friend" anymore.
Unfortunately the damage was done, although at the time we did not know. Mike stopped caring about what he looked like and his long beautiful hair became one messy hairball. Eventually he let me comb it out. I'll never forget the amount of hair that I threw out. He would stay in his room for hours on end staring at nothing. If asked, he would either tell us off or say he was thinking and leave him alone.
I felt bad for Dan and Sarah, as it was hard on them too. The whole situation was so frustrating for our family. Everyone seemed to think that Mike just had a really bad attitude. One doctor told us it was teenage growing pains but we did eventually get him to see a counselor in Summerland.
A highlight in all this for Mike was when Dan gave him a ticket to the Slayer concert in Vancouver. Dan had been going on and on for months about going to the concert with his friends etc etc. Mike loved Slayer and would just grumble under his breath (most of the time) when Dan mentioned the concert. Dan walked into Mikes room the day before the concert and threw him a ticket and said "Be ready to go tomorrow morning, we're leaving early." Mike was up early the next day. He said to me "I can't believe that Dan gave me a ticket." Mike knew that he was hard to live with most of the time. I told him that Dan and the rest of the family cared for him very much. I was so proud and thankful to Dan for including Mike. The day after the concert I came home and turned on the TV. They were having a simulation of an earthquake in the Vancouver area. Unfortunately when I turned on the TV it was during the twenty seconds that there was no letters going along the bottom of the TV stating that. I flipped to the other channels and it was on them as well. It looked so real. I was terrified because both boys were in Vancouver at the time. In a panic I phoned Trina freaking out.... then I saw the notice going along the bottom of the TV.....Never Mind!
Mike was so unhappy most of the time it broke our hearts. He would sleep so much and when he was up he smoked and was miserable. Perhaps we needed a life style change since we were both so busy working all the time. We found a bar/restaurant with a living area attached in Costa Rica. We wanted to check it out. As Mike was so out of control sometimes we decided the best thing would be for Mike to go with John to Costa Rica. Maybe a holiday would be a good thing for him. John said Mike was pretty sullen most of the trip but he did enjoy some of it. John and Mike went on a Mangrove tour in a boat and fed wild monkeys. The Mangrove was beside the bar/restaurant so we were hoping that Mike would start doing tours. Maybe he would meet different people, change might be good.
We rented out our house and sold a lot of our furniture off and put the rest in storage. Then Hurricane Mitch hit Central America. The bar/restaurant was not damaged but the areas around it flood. We were concerned about the water as it was all well and septic. We decided it was in the family’s best interest if we did not pursue this. Now we had to find a place to rent ourselves. We found a small house, which was lucky, as we didn't have a lot of stuff anymore!
Mike seemed to have his days and nights mixed up. We would wake in the middle of the night to him standing at the foot of our bed watching us. Then he would demand a cigarette from John. A few times I caught him sitting on the couch watching a TV that was not on. Mike explained that he was thinking. For Christmas that year Mike asked for a guitar. He loved his guitar and would play it for hours. He said he didn't need any books cause he already knew! He would be in his room for hours on end playing his guitar as hard as he could. We had also given him a Simpson Calendar, which he was thrilled with, as he loved the Simpsons.
I started to notice that he had duck tape in his room on many different things. Sometimes there were pieces of paper attached to it. Mike told me and a friend that the Simpson Calendar was talking to him. He was so convincing that I sat on his bed looking at the calender waiting for something. Eventually I gave up and then Mike said that as soon as I left the room Marge started talking. He was laughing about it so at this point I was just happy that he was happy. Mike would spend hours in his room drawing. He drew a little guitar and taped it to the calendar for Bart. I know this sounds so bizarre but I was happy that he wasn't smashing walls and going out of control.
John, Sarah and myself came home late one night in January 1999. As soon as walked in the house I thought something looked different, but I couldn't quite put my fingers on it. I found a cup of gas in the utility room. Mike was actually sleeping so I did not want to disturb him as we were trying to get him back to some sort of a normal sleeping pattern. The next morning I got up and went to let the dog out the back door. There was a pile of ashes on the back lawn. I went over and took a closer look. I recognized a picture frame and realized that it was a pile of burned pictures. I asked Mike why he did that. His answer was that he was not Michael Bosma anymore, He was Miguel Simpson. It was at this point that I knew something was very wrong. I drove to the hospital and went to the psyche ward and talked to a nurse there and explained what was going on. She said to get him to the hospital immediately. I told her he wouldn’t want to go. She answered well then you phone the RCMP. With that information I went home and I told Mike that I was taking him to the hospital and if he didn't come with me I was gong to phone the cops. He said he would go if he could take his guitar. I agreed to that and we drove to emergency. They put us in a room and immediately Mike started playing his guitar, which by this point only had three strings left because he played it so hard. When he was finished he said to me, "bet everyone out there enjoyed that hey?" I answered, "it might be a tad loud for emergency." He laughed and said "yah you’re probably right." And we both laughed. How bizarre I know!
When the doctor came in he seemed to know all the right questions to ask. Mike explained that he had been dead for 3 years and had just come back to life. I couldn't believe what he was saying. Mike told the doctor that Homer Simpson was telling him to put an axe in John's head. I had to think of all the nights we woke up with him standing at the end of the bed. According to Mike he was the next rock and roll star and his band was coming to pick him up. I was stunned to hear all this. Mike was admitted to the hospital Psyche ward. When I came home from emergency that was when I saw our big professional family picture had Mike completely blacked out himself with a permanent black marker. Even his hands had been blacked out! I thought the picture was ruined but luckily Dad Bosma was able to remove it and now it just looks like Mike has a tan.
I'm not sure what was harder, realizing that Mike was very sick or seeing how drugged up he became in the hospital. He could barely keep his eyes open at times. He was a chain-smoking maniac and that's where he spent his 19th birthday. Mike spent a good month in the hospital and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Mike admitted to the doctor that he had done drugs in the past but did not do drugs anymore. The doctor prescribe risperadol, which is one of the most common drugs for schizophrenia. Almost immediately Mike started gaining weight, which is one of the side effects of the risperadol. The doctor did not think it was a good idea for Mike to live in our house so when Mike was released from the hospital he went into Braemore Lodge in Penticton. Mike was there for almost 6 months. It was arranged for him to get a welfare disability so he could live on his own. Mike received $790.00 per month. This was to cover his rent, food and clothing. That is the going rate for people on disability. His social worker found him a place (dump) and he moved in. It was across the street from the downtown nightclub so the flashing of the neon sign was going all night. The rent was $400.00 per month and included everything. It was still a dump though.
Mike would see his doctor approximately once a month. We had him for dinner often and every few months I would go to his apartment and give it a good clean. Eventually we found Mike a better apartment for more money and it didn't include utilities so we agreed to pay the utilities and he paid the $450.00 for rent. The doctor discovered that the risperadol that Mike was taking was causing depression so now Mike was taking anti depressants as well. The anti depressant was called well brutin and Mike soon discovered that it helped him quit smoking as well. He felt really good not smoking anymore and then he got his hair cut short as well.
Mike was so angry with himself for having done the drugs that he did. Some days he would be mad at us for not stopping him. I would try to explain that we could not do anything. He was also angry with himself and us for not staying in school. Mike decided that he would go to college and get his grade 12. By then we had our restaurant in Penticton and Mike would come in after school with some school friends. He was so happy to be having a normal life. It was great to see and I didn't mind when he would come in and asked to Promo some beer and Nachos. It was worth it to see him interacting with other people. Mike would often come and help in the restaurant on a busy night. One of mine finest memories is our whole family working together in the restaurant.
A new drug came on the market and the doctor put Mike on Zyprexa. He no longer needed to take the anti depressant so it was one less drug. Mike felt pretty good with this drug. He still isolated himself a lot and it was hard to get him to go anywhere but that is part of the illness itself. We had settled into a somewhat comfortable lifestyle with Mike. He would often come to our house, have dinner and maybe watch a movie. Mike wouldn't come with us very often if we went somewhere; he was comfortable to stay in his apartment. He often would complain that he had no purpose in life and yet if we tried to get him more help he would refuse. It was very frustrating for all of us. I feel I should mention that Mike had one very good friend, Ben who could get Mike to go out. Ben made a point of keeping in contact with Mike on a regular basis and for that we are so thankful. Ben would drive Mike around and just be his friend.
Mike didn't see the doctor as often and would get his refills from the walk-in clinic. He could not sleep without his sleeping pills. Mike did not like to interact with people and would avoid it whenever he could. Meanwhile we closed our restaurant and within a year we had jobs in Kelowna. We put our house up for sale. Mike decided that he too would move to Kelowna and we were thrilled. I lined up some more help for him with a social worker but once again Mike refused. Mike would get his refills threw the walk-in clinic and never did have a doctor in Kelowna.
Mike announced that he had a student loan and was going to take a movie-making course at Capilano College. He had lined up a place to stay. We weren't too sure what to make of it. Mike asked for a ride down for him and some of his stuff. We didn’t know what to expect when we drove him down but he did have a nice place in North Vancouver close to the college. We tried to drive down at least every second weekend to see how he was doing.
September 17,2005 Sarah Nunn went into labour. Dan phoned us and John, Sarah and myself drove into Vancouver, picked up Mike and went to Victoria. We arrived 30 minutes after Annika was born. Dan was so proud as he brought her out for us to see. He handed he to Mike first. Mike was so impressed that he was the first one to hold her!
About a month later Dan phoned late at night to say that he had just received a phone call from Mike asking for help to move out of his place in North Vancouver. Annika was barely a month old and Dan did not feel comfortable to leave Sarah and Annika. We totally agreed and said we would go down and help him move. We arrived in Vancouver around noon and Mike announced that if he didn't get out of that house he was either "gonna kill somebody or jump off the bridge." The people were renovating and it was very loud and they themselves were loud people. I know that Mike did not like unnecessary noise. I said, "Well guess we better get you moved then." We packed up his stuff into the van and that’s when Mike said that there was a bit of a problem but not to worry he had it all under control. The bit of a problem was that he had no place to move into. Just a minor detail. We suggested he come back to Kelowna with us. He refused and said for us to take him to the library and he was going to find a place on the Internet. We went to the library and waited out in the van for several hours. Mike asked us to drive him to a townhouse complex that he had looked at previously. He couldn't remember which number it was but he felt he could find it. And he did! Amazingly enough he was moved in by 8PM that night. We couldn't believe it. It was a room in a town house with a couple and it was close to the college. The great thing was we finally had a phone number that we could reach him at. We phoned a few times but never did talk to Mike. We continued to drive down to see how he was doing. He wasn't all that thrilled to see us but would occasionally go for dinner with us.
Approximately 6 weeks later we got a phone call from Mike's new landlord. He explained that they had asked Mike to leave as he was acting strange and they were concerned. He did not know where Mike was now but he had been involved with the RCMP at one point. We were so thankful that he phoned and we left around midnight to try and find Mike. Amazingly enough we found him around 4 in the morning. Mike had stashed his stuff, which we got, and we started the drive back to Kelowna. Halfway on the drive Mike asked us to pull over and he took his stuff out. Mike felt that he had some friends coming to get him. Not sure what to do we stayed in Van and waited for him to wait. It was very cold out and soon he came back in the Van. I felt so bad for Mike. I could see that he was very confused and frustrated.
Mike was admitted to the Kelowna Hospital. That’s when we found out that he had been running into traffic because there were cameras following him because he was the next big moviemaker. He knew that if he ran out into traffic the cameras would not let him get hit. It reminded me of when he first got sick. Somehow when he was getting checked into the hospital his jean jacket went missing. We never did find it. Mike seemed to get sicker in the hospital and he ended up in the ICU part of the psyche ward. I didn't even know there was such a place. He was not allowed visitors and had to wear PJ's. After about a week we were allowed to see him and it broke my heart. The PJ's that he had on were at least 2 sizes too small. He was not happy to be in the hospital again. He looked at me and said "How can you stand looking at yourself in the mirror. Your such a bad mother!" That hurt to the core but I knew it was because he was sick. I explained to him that I love him very much and only wanted him to get better. I tried to explain that running into traffic is very dangerous. He insisted that there were camera's following him. I know it was real to him.
I brought the empty bottle of Zyprexa so that the doctor could see what medication Mike was on and we also told him who Mike's doctor was in Penticton.
Mike was in the hospital for about 6 weeks and he was discharged to Coral house in Kelowna. It's a transition house for people to go after they have been in the psyche ward. He lasted two days and was back in the ICU. Mike said that he felt threatened from someone in the house. He was forced to stay in the ICU for Christmas. Dan, Sarah and Annika were up for Christmas and Dan was allowed to bring Mike a turkey Christmas dinner. Mike was moved out of ICU and was allowed to come out for a few hours on New Years Eve.
January 4,2006 Mike was once again released to live in Coral House. He told me he felt like he had really screwed up and his life was a mess. I said he was still young and had lots of time yet. Mike said he wished he had a girl friend. I agreed and said lets just get you better so you can start meeting different people. January 8 he showed up at the hotel where I worked at 11:00 at night. He told the front desk person that I said he could have a room at the hotel. The hotel phoned me and I came to see Mike who was sitting in the lobby. He looked so lost and confused. Mike said that he was locked out of Coral House. I went to my office and phoned Coral House. The person who answered the phoned said that Mike was not locked out. I told Mike he was not locked out and I would take him back. He begged me to let him stay at the hotel and I told him it was not an option. That was the last time I ever saw him. The next night January 9 Mike went for a walk at 9PM at night. He was due back at 11:00 for medication. He never showed up. We were not notified until the next morning around 9AM. I couldn’t believe that they waited so long. It was the middle of winter and he was just released from the hospital. When the girl was asked why they waited so long she replied,” We thought just wanted his space."
We began searching frantically and reported it to the RCMP. It took a few days but we also got CHBC involved. WE spoke with reporters from the Kelowna Courier and Capital News and both reported in their papers. We made up posters and put them up everywhere. I e-mailed everyone we could think of. Mike had left all his ID behind and only had his debit card. We managed to get his debit card checked and he had used it last on January 10 in the early morning. Then we started thinking back over the last few months and I remembered him saying that he would jump off the bridge when he was so frustrated in Vancouver. It never occured to me that he actually meant that, and since then I notice how many times will say things like that. At first we refused to believe that Mike would actually do something like that but then as more time went past and no sightings it was becoming obvious that something had happened. What else could it be. A person doesn't just disappear into thin air. We told the RCMP what we thought but because no one had seen anything they would not send a dive team to look. We talked to the doctor and that’s when we found out that Mike was on Risperadol. The doctor had not contacted Mikes former doctor in Penticton even though we had given him the doctor’s name.
In February a good friend of our oldest son Dan, dove under the bridge and looked for us. He explained that there are big currents where the lake becomes deep and a body could be anywhere.
We can only surmise that Mike walked for hours thinking and thinking and it got away on him. We have resigned ourselves that we may never see Mike again on this earth. Currently there are changes being made with homes like Coral house so another family does not have to endure what we have. I am pushing that each person that works in a home like Coral house have a course for Suicide awareness. Mike should have been on Suicide watch but we will never know for sure what happened and we will continue to search for Mike and answers.
We will miss Mike forever
We love you Mike.