It amazes me how your life can be changed completely with just one statement. Before middle school my life was changed when I was talking to my mom about what classes I wanted to take and I decided to take band to learn to play the piano. She said they probably won't teach that. We had a clarinet in one of the closets so I said, "then I'll play clarinet". That statement pretty much shaped every aspect of my life, and still affects things today. Maybe someday I'll go into more detail about that, but that's not what today is about. Today is about Michael Allen Belew.
To grow up with a brother who is 4 years older then you is kinda strange. You're not close enough in age to hang out and have the same friends, but your not young enough to be the cool baby brother. Growing up, we'd do a lot of things. We'd play sports in the front yard, which I sucked at. We'd wrestle all the time. We generally got together pretty well, until he got a car. Once he got a car all he cared about was money, and it was usually me that had to pay. He would steal my Nintendo and Super Nintendo games and sell them. That really upset me quite a bit. Once he reached high school he slacked off a bit. He ended up going to 3 different ones just because he was so bored with it. It finally reached the point where he was getting ready to graduate. A week before he ditched a class, and his dean expelled him. She had warned him, and so had my mom. She said that if he got expelled he'd have to move out. She was just trying to scare him. The day he got expelled he came home, packed up his things, and moved in with his friends family. My mom tried to stop him, but he went.
For the next few years I didn't really see him that often. He got his GED, and got 100% on it too. He decided then to move to Texas and live with our dad and go to school there. He went to the Art Institute of Dallas and got a degree in video production. I went down and visited a few times, which was actually the longest time I'd ever spent with my dad in my life. After 3 years, he moved back to Colorado. This was in 2000, so I was 19-20 and he was 23-24. Once you reach this age, the difference really doesn't matter, and we started to get along quite well. He had an idea for a movie that we would both star in, and that became his obsession. I have always wanted to be a comedian. On my 21st birthday we went to the Comedy Works and I got to see my first famous professional comedian live, Bobby Slayton. On Halloween 2001 I performed there on new talent night. I'd never really thought about being an actor though until he brought it up. He got a job working as the lead editor on the rocky mountain sports report on Fox Sports Net. It really seemed like everything was going amazingly well.
I met a girl at work that I suddenly became completely crazy about. But in December of 2001 she moved back to California with her mom, and I thought it would be the worst pain I had ever gone through because she truly was, and still is, my first and only love. That's what I thought until later that month. My brother hadn't really been eating much, and he was starting to lose some weight. He was waiting for his insurance to kick in from Fox before he went to the Dr. It finally did, and he finally did. What they found was a cancerous growth in his chest. There was some unknown tissue in his chest from when he was a fetus that was finally deciding to cause problems. He started chemotherapy in January. Things seemed to be going well. I was still grieving my loss. On February 3rd we watched the Super Bowl together. On February 4th, he had what was the best day he had had in months. He was feeling great and everything seemed like it was going to be fine. I've learned now, that's bad news when someone is sick. On the 5th I hung out with my best friend and I was taking him home when my mom called. She told me that my brothers girlfriend needed help getting him to the hospital because he was in a lot of pain. I took my friend home and went over. I helped him down the stairs and into the car. We went to the emergency room and my mom and step dad weren't far behind. We were in the waiting room for about 3 hours, everything seemed to be going good.
I was standing outside with his girlfriend and my step dad while they smoked, when my mom came running out crying. She said that a bunch of nurses had to run in the room. Her and his girlfriend went back in, and eventually they sent them out. They put us all in this family only waiting room. It was around this time his cancer Dr. showed up, and he couldn't figure out what was going on. Finally a nurse came in and said he'd stop breathing for a while but they got him to do so again. However, since he wasn't breathing for so long there might be some brain damage. I was so worried that with brain damage he wouldn't be able to attain his dream of becoming a film maker. I'm not a religious person. I don't really believe in the bible, and I don't really know who or what god is, or if he/she even exists. But at that moment, for the first and only time in my life, I preyed. "Please don't let there be brain damage. He's got so many ideas. He's totally pulled his life around. Don't do this please". All that really didn't matter about a minute later.
This is really the first time I've ever written this down, and it's really hard. It was at that time that the nurse came back in and said, "I'm sorry, we've lost him". It amazes me how quickly tears can burst from your eyes in extream cases. I never have and can't imagine ever will cry as much as I did at that moment. My mom called my dad who was driving home from somewhere and told him. I could hear him crying so loud through her phone. My step dad had to grab the phone and tell him to pull over. This really was the most devastating moment in my life.
So here we are, 4 years later. February 6th 2006. In April I will reach the day where I actually become older then my brother ever was. I have been to 4 major funerals since his, the last one pretty major, but nothing was as shocking as his. I miss him every day. I have continued to pursue acting, having been in a few productions around Colorado. But there's not enough here. I hope to move to California in July so I can get serious about it. It's because of my brother that I'll head down that path. Hopefully by moving to California I'll be able to regain my lost love as well. If he hadn't died we'd be living there already, so I feel it's right.
So when I'm excepting my first Oscar, and I'm thanking Mike Belew, now you'll know why.
So, now we're back to February 6th 2011. It has been 9 years since that day. I did move to California, and I actually worked in the TV and Movie industry for a year doing extra work. I then got into Video Game testing because I thought it was more stable (the joke was on me). At some point I lost the passion I had for stand up and acting. Maybe someday it will return, but there's just not enough of it right now for me to succeed in either of those endeavors. There are times where I feel I've let him down by essentially giving up on the dream, but I'm sure he'd understand that it's frivolous to pursue it if I'm not going to give it my all.
The pain of losing him never goes away, but eventually I had to learn to accept it and be thankful that I got to spend those last few years close to him. I will probably never win an Oscar, so I won't be able to thank him for that. However the dream is partly responsible for getting me to California in the first place, so for that I'm thankful. I've experienced a lot in the last four and a half years and met some of the most interesting people I'll ever meet because of that move. I find myself reaching a crossroads again very soon, and whatever decision I end up making, I know that he would support it so long as it makes me happy in the end.