Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mohawks for Mike

My friend Mike is still comatose. He has had many small victories since the initial incident, but it feels like he has been this way for a million years. The uncertainty of everything has slid from adrenaline-fueled panic to a slow waiting game; I'm not sure which I personally prefer.

Mike's friends and family have banded together to give support to his parents, siblings, and wife through this trying time. Some of the philanthropic efforts are pragmatic, like the Orem Firefighter Mike Stentzel Fund started at Zion's Bank, and others are a bit more symbolic.

The facebook group that was started to keep everyone up to date on Mike's condition has spawned a particularly symbolic movement. Mike's friend Craig suggested that "Mohawks for Mike" become a way that people could urge Mike to a full recovery; the "Menace to Society" photo above is from when Mike had a mohawk, and he has since had a fondness for them, though being a firefighter has hindered his 'hawk efforts.

Craig showed that his suggestion wasn't mere lip service. He had Mike's initials shaved into one side of his head and a feather on the other to represent Mike's Angels. The mohawk looks spectacular, no?

Mike's brother-in-law Callan followed suit, adopting a mohawk that furthers along his hardcore skater look.

And Mike's sister-in-law McKenna even adapted her hairstyle to get the mohawk shape. Plus, she convinced a friend to join her!

Caleb and Jack are also going to participate in "Mohawks for Mike," barring any tragic hair cutting I accidentally do. When Mike wakes up, he is going to be so enthused that out of tragedy came a ton of mohawks. If you knew Mike, you'd think it fitting.

In the midst of all of this hardcoreness, I have finally let myself grieve a bit. Having been with his wife Kelsae that very first day, I knew that I needed to be a rock of comfort and support. I have made jokes, given a listening ear, and even calmly explained to my three-year-old why Mike has been sleeping for almost two weeks. And while I commented to Callan that his mohawk was missing Mike's "wafflemakers," or Doc Martens as the rest of us call them, tears started flowing down my face. I was so angry at Mike for doing this to his super-pregnant wife and for not waking up sooner and for not giving the doctors a reason for this to happen to him. At least have some family history or something, Mike!

And since that silly wafflemaker comment, every time I think about the situation, I get a little misty.

The words that have strengthened my heart for today are from the one and only Jordan Hall, who has dealt with his own severe medical issues:  

"I know what it feels like to want to give up, but what saved me, continues to keep me strong, are friends like you and the support you render, so be strong for his wife like you were for me." 

I need to put my game face back on; I might as well punk that game face out while I'm at it.

Edited to Add:

Here are the results of the Flanagan mohawks.
Jacko rocks the Spiderman mohawk.
Lucy's bath time mohawk.
And Caleb is making Mountain Man Mohawks chic again.


  1. Love this post and love all y'all. Basically I am sending lots of love down to P-Town... and R-Town. :)

  2. I'm proud of you for letting yourself grieve. I've been avoiding it.

  3. I love that Caleb and Jack-o are doing mohawks :) Mike would be super proud!

  4. A girl in my cooking class was in a coma for a month and her fiance wrote her letters everyday. It was so sweet. I helped her now husband and her when she came out of it and went through rehab.

    I think the Mohawks will have the same effect.

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