Not typical, I was being the only one in my high school class to graduate from college (University of Colorado -Boulder in 1968), married into the richest family in our home town, became vice president of our only bank, became the sole parent of four very young children, two girls and two boys, active in church, civic, and political affairs, voted "Outstanding Young Man" in our community and managing to live a meaning life after experiencing the worst fear of every parent - the sudden death of a child.
I shall never forget the words an elderly lady said to me at my daughter's funeral. "Michael, just remember that time heals all wounds." I appreciated her kind words along with the kindness of so many others but I am well qualified to say that lady's kind words were not true. There are wounds time won't heal.
I left my banking career when I was 39 and accepted an out of town project when I received a very early morning phone call. When I said, "Hello", I could hardly hear the tiny, breaking voice of our 9 year old daughter say, "Daddy, I think Mama is dead". Having not yet begun to learn how to manage my responsibilities and duties as a husband and father, after being the one who discovered the lifeless body of my 10 year old daughter a few years earlier, that phone put all of my desperately needed and pending grief on hold. I instructed my daughter what she was to do and assured her I would be with her soon.
I got an associate to fly me and my 12 year old adopted son, who happened to be with me, back to our home to face all of the painful decision that lay ahead for me. Under the most stressful conditions of my life I made myself believe that I had to put what would be best for my three children ahead of my own needs and I did.
After my wife's funeral and after all of our family and friends had gone on their separate ways the kids and I signed "thank you" note and addressed and stamped envelopes to those who brought food, sent flowers, and all that goes with funerals. I put a "For Sale" sign in front of our beautiful new dream home and we moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
Fast forwarding my life twenty-five years: With all of my children on their own I bought a small RV and outfitted it with a new computer, fax, phone, and all of the "like-home necessities" so I could enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature at State Parks across . I wanted to be in that surrounding so I could write my memoirs in case my future generations wanted to know about the life of their Great, Great, Grandpa, "Papa Mike".
After setting up my new "playhouse" I realized I had never gotten the medical records of my deceased 10 year old daughter. Even though it had been many years I knew that getting copies of those records would not be a problem because everyone at the hospital where she was taken would remember me. Sure enough, a few days after faxing my request I received a large manila envelope containing the records, which were only a few pages.
I had built a nice campfire. The wonderful aroma of fresh, hot coffee filled the crisp air that October 1998 morning. I was not emotional about opening the envelope because I knew it would only contain the usual information. So, I poured a big cup of coffee, pulled a comfortable camping chair next to the campfire opened the envelope.
Little did I know that what I intended to be a lazy, comforting, and downright selfish time for me would not only turn out to be the biggest life-changing events of my entire life, but what would lead me to develop a deep passion to make a difference in my world. The focus of my passion would be on truth and justice and an "enterprise" that I would come to learn secretly operates in every community in our country. Yes, that organization with no name, no officers, and no regular meetings was secretly operating even in my small home town in west when my daughter was killed on another crisp October day in 1970.
As I sipped my first sip of coffee my opened wide when I read the first page of my daughter's medical records; her death certificate signed by someone I never heard of but claimed to have pronounced her death. That same signature of a "doctor" appeared on hospital records as if he attended to her before pronouncing her dead.
The truth of how her death was discovered began when I suddenly awoke from a deep sleep at on I felt an urgency of such extreme I did not know I could have. I hurriedly threw on my clothes, left my children asleep and unattended, and sped to the hospital less than 5 minutes away. I ran down the dark hall to her room. The only light in her room was at the head of her bed.
She was lying on her back, appeared to be asleep; her hands were clasped on her abdomen, and her hair was neatly combed. I didn't realize it at the time but that is not how I had seen ten year olds sleep. I quietly went to kiss her on her forehead when she made a strange gasping sound. I touched her face and it was cold and ridged.
In screamed an inhuman scream I did not know I could scream, "What happened to my little girl?" The nurse's station was directly across the hall so they ran in the room. One immediately began CPR. I frantically asked about a doctor and was told "No doctor is here and there has not been one here all night." I immediately called my next door neighbor, Dr. B. and he was there in a few minutes. The nurse, Dr. B. and I were the only ones in the room the entire time attempts were made to revive my daughter. After about twenty minutes the doctor stopped, turned to me, and with tears in his eyes he quietly said the words no parent could ever bear to hear, "She's dead."
After reliving that dreadful moment from years gone by I got some composure and called the Texas Medical Board Austin to find the doctor who signed my daughter's death certificate. After two days of communicating back and forth I received a call from the chief administrator of that board. The tone of her voice told me something was bad wrong. She said, "I regret having to tell you but there is not now nor has there ever been a doctor licensed by that name in or any of the five surrounding states. Our record experts have reviewed the hospital records you sent us and they are fraudulent."
After I left my banking career in 1979 I created a unique service business for tragedy victims. Since there was no such business of its kind I had to give it a title so I titled it, Forensic Documentation, which I have provided all across the country ever since that date.
I have successfully provided my urgently needed services on every type of "tragedies" from divorces to white collar crimes, from murders to child abductions and abuse, and from arson to simple fender-benders. My clients have been prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys in criminal matters and plaintiffs and defense attorneys in civil cases. I suppose I can say that it took years of that work to prepare me to handle the hardest case of all my own.
While I am still very healthy I want to see that an Institute of Forensic Documentation is founded to teach the skills I developed for this awesome and most laudable. The only qualification to enroll in this institute will be to have a deep passion for truth and justice.