Silent Echoes Are a Part of Our Everyday Lives
Author Mike Herman recognized what he describes as “silent echoes” when his older parents were in the hospital. He would spend time with each of them. Mike describes it here:
“This book, Silent Echoes, began with a story of a time when my father was unable to speak to my mother. Mom was in a hospital several miles away. His own health was limited. So, I went to stay with him for a while, visiting Mom during the day and carrying messages back and forth between them. This was my discovery of silent echoes, the night Dad and I viewed some of their old photographs, and this aged man failed to recognize his own youthful likeness. This led to recognizing many more such echoes that are a part of our everyday lives.”
Mike had Parkinson’s Disease and was able to write this book series that is a compilation of the things he finds silent echoes in. It’s from parts of his life that he wants to leave behind for his family, friends and every reader of his books. By reading this book, maybe you’ll find small things that leave behind silent echoes.
This book is perfect as a companion to a daily devotional or meditation. Read one per day and you’ll have more to think and meditate on as your day progresses. Each one helps you look for the little parts of your day that have more meaning than you might think. You’ll realize how short life is and you’ll hopefully be taking more time to “stop and smell the roses” as you go through your daily life. This book will help slow life down for you and help you appreciate the little things.
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About the Author
Mike Herman has done many things in his life, but what he loves to do best is write. He is a self-described ordinary man living under the extraordinary conditions of his illness. This gentle, self-effacing man views his Parkinson’s disease as a blessing that has resulted in the gift of time: Time to write, time to pursue his dream. He is also aware that time is at a premium for him and that he must accomplish his goals now. There is a spirit and calling evident in Mike and his writing, a need to share and give to others from his experiences. It has become his avocation. Mike’s family enthusiastically supports his work: his wife proofreads his work, and one of his two sons established and maintains a web site for him centered on his writing; the other son works at marketing and sales of Mike’s books.
His job took him on the road frequently and as he drove he mentally composed stories to pass the time, which he later would relate to his family under the guise of “I read this book and the first chapter was….” His family always responded with interest to the “book excerpts” and said they wanted to read the books. Soon, his family found out that Mike wrote all the “book excerpts” in his mind.
Eventually, Mike began keeping logs and journals of his ideas and compositions. These writings were compiled into three books of essays and poems that Mike published: Silent Echoes, Other Silent Echoes, and Silent Echoes/Morning Whispers. Mike’s final and most important work will be completed posthumously by his wife and consists of a series of sealed letters he leaves for her from time to time with the instructions not to open until after his death or when he can no longer speak. (So if she feels she needs to hear from him and he cannot speak or move or otherwise communicate, she needs only to select one of these cards or letters from the box in which she stores them.) These missives consist of guidance, remembrances, and advice and will complete a collection called, “You Had a Husband Once. You Called Him Mike.”
- Silent Echoes makes even the most common things big and small come alive, so we can appreciate what we have in life.
- Other Silent Echoes touches more of the routine things of life even further than Silent Echoes. Mike feels that the first two books help people to get prepared for the third book.
- Silent Echoes/Morning Whispers is the one book he hoped to share with readers. In this book he offers essays and poems of the spiritual aspects of life – past, present and to come.
From articles written by Marilyn Winkley and The Star Newspaper, Sun Prairie, WI
SUN CITY WEST, AZ – Michael J. Herman, Sr. age 71, passed away peacefully on Thursday, July 29, 2017, surrounded by his loving family at his home in Sun City West.
Mike was born January 20, 1946 in Milwaukee, WI to Anton and Vernice Herman. Mike was a 1964 graduate of South Division High School in Milwaukee. He married Veronica Malinowski on November 7, 1970. Mike was a father of two boys, Anthony (Tony) and Michael Jr. He had one grandchild, Zachary by Michael Jr. and his daughter-in-law, Nicole.
Mike was a long-time resident of the Madison, WI area and moved to Arizona back in 2011.
He was an avid deer hunter and he enjoyed writing short stories, poems and even a screenplay. Mike participated in a youth conservation camp at Statehouse Lake in Manitowish Waters, WI. He also became a Mensa International Member in the early 1990s.
Mike was known for his quick wit and sense of humor. He loved cracking jokes and playing small pranks on people to get them to smile and laugh.
His career included sales jobs at Evco Plastics, Guardian Container, Longview Fiber Company and Herman Box Company.
Michael was preceded by death by his parents and siblings, Roger Herman, Joan Dunn and Beverly Bruneau.
Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of the Valley (www.hov.org) & Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.
The burial was on Tuesday, August 1st at Resthaven Park Cemetery (6450 W Northern Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301). The memorial service was at Calvary Community Church (12612 N Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, AZ 85029) with a reception that followed.
“Herman’s stories are filled with memories and reflection of his life, especially since he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.”
(Sun Prairie News 6/14/00)
“Mike’s book has really touched many, many lives out here”
(Quoting Cheryl Batterman Colonial Club Program Director, Sun Prairie News 6/14/00)
“I write from the heart,” Herman said. “I think if I wrote something superficially, it would come out in my work, and the reader would see that.”
(The STAR, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. 3/8/01)
“There is a spirit and calling evident in his writing, a need to share and give to others from his experiences.”
(Mature Lifestyles – Dane County, Wisconsin)
Books in the Silent Echoes Series
- Silent Echoes (see sample below)
- The Forest Floor
- Voices of Praise
- A Precious Hug
- My Best Gift Ever
- Chimney Smoke
- Rain Puddles
- A Blanket of Snow
- Folded Hands and a Bowed Heart
- A Sunset
- Sleeping Babies
- I Understand
- Eye To Eye
- At a Wake
- 7/80 Sunrise Reflected
- A Check Stub
- A Street Person
- The Mortally Wounded
- Cave of the Mounds
- Chronic Illnesses
- The Cross
Other Silent Echoes
- A Small Pond
- A Woodpile
- A Battlefield
- Falling Rain (see sample below)
- Tender Loving Care
- Your Son Has Meningitis
- Echoes Fill a Void
- Holding Hands
- Carrying the Load
- A Common Silver Coin
- Being Still
- Their Best Advice – Dad
- Their Best Advice – Mom
- Their Best Advice – Jesus
- Parables of a Sort
- Bus Stop Man
- Johnny and the Dog
Buy (Coming Soon)
Silent Echoes/Morning Whispers
This was initially going to be entitled “A Man an His God Converse.” Yet, with the author’s ability to tune in to that still, small, quiet voice inside each one of us, which we so often ignore, the word “whispers”’ just had to highlight the aura of this third in the series of Silent Echoes books. Morning time is when the concepts or simple one word messages most often come to exist. It was only appropriate to change this title to “Silent Echoes: Morning Whispers.”
Mike Herman has stated often that he is amazed when he sits back, away from his video monitor and proofreads what he has just written. Many times he did not recall writing some of what appeared on the screen. No, he is not professing to be a prophet. But he sits in awe at some of what he learns, also, upon reading his own works.
Most of this book is done in poetry or in prose style, which is he way the words came to Mike. Some are Mike praying to his Creator; others are as if messages coming from heaven, revelations hidden to this point. Some pages carry commentary.
- Earth-Level Viewpoints
- We Can All Have Hope
- I Have Lived A Different Man
- The Brave in Pain
- Your Illness Gives You Chance
- I’m All Tried Out
- They Are As Angels
- Though I Walked Among Lions
- On Searching For A Nursing Home For Mom
- I Love You Still
- Looking Ahead
- Snares, Bewares And Grace (see sample below)
- Temptations, Lord
- Satan Does This, Too
- Oh, Wicked Sin
- A Pattern For Innocence
- It Matters Not
- I’m Standing Here
- Repentance, My Child, Is More Than A Must
- While Walking This Earth
- Surely There Is More Delight
- Dare To Send Them Me
- Lord, Can I Come Back?
- That I May Abide With Thee
- Six Wise Men Eyes Were Straining
- The Witnesses
- I Saw Christ’s Eyes
- None Else Matters
- Eternal Hades: (Conceptualized)
- Save A Death For Me
Buy (Coming Soon)
Sample Story: “Silent Echoes”
This is a sample story from the book Silent Echoes:
I tug slowly, almost reverently, at the old black metal suitcase that resides under my father’s bed. As it comes into view, I notice the thick layer of dust on the top of this treasure chest. No one ever cleans it, perhaps the dirt cannot be cleaned because it has become so much a part of the suitcase. I wonder who first purchased this piece of ancient luggage. Why did they buy it, and for what reason? These are rhetorical questions. Though I am curious, I will not take the time to investigate it.
I set the case upright and grab it with my right hand, my non-Parkinson arm, and I carry it into the kitchen where my aged, ailing father awaits. He is alone this week while my mother is in the hospital having surgery. I am here to visit with Dad and to make some meals for him and to keep him company. He will not admit it, but he is frightened that he and his lifelong partner no longer have good health. The changes which illness has brought into their lives cannot be understood by anyone else. Which one will go first? Which one will be left behind? How will the survivor get by? These questions are on Dad’s face. Though only faintly now, they are more clearly visible each time I drive up north to see him.
With the suitcase lying flat on the floor, I unclasp the latches and carefully lift up the top and lean it backwards until it rests upon the floor. My dad watches this process patiently. We have agreed to bring out this chest of personal treasures. Yet, he seems apprehensive.
By the handful, I grab the memories and place them onto the table within dad’s reach. He takes one of the photographs and appears to be listening to it. We hear the laughter, the giggles, the photographer saying, “Say cheese!” and the chatter of people who were alive and behind the scenes when these pictures were taken. I can hear Aunt Sophie’s clear voice again. Grandma Wood’s dog, Susie, barks at me like she did when I visited the farm each summer as a child.
Dad’s eyes are misty as he holds each relic and studies it carefully. Though it will be two more years before Dad dies of cancer, today he only knows that he is closer to the end of his life. His wife is miles away in a hospital, and he has to depend on me to visit her for him.
The photograph he is studying is one of the family in which he was raised. Each of his family members is healthy and young again. The majority of life’s hardships had not yet come their ways. Oh, to be back there once more with these loved ones surrounding him. All of them are dead except Tom and my dad. Maybe he will see the others face to face soon. “Is that how it works?“ he wonders. I can see that question in his eyes, too.
I ask Dad what picture he is looking at. But instead of answering me directly, he begins to identify the members of his family to me, as if I had asked “Who are each of these people?”
Dad points to each one from right to left and tells me that they are Tom, Frank, Rudy, Sophie, his mom, his dad and John. He pauses at one, struggling to remember that person’s name. Then he moves on, adding the names of Caroline and Louie, but his finger comes back to the one he can’t identify. He thinks as hard as he is able, but the name does not come. That person is about nineteen years old, has a head of thick, jet black, wavy hair. He is shorter than all of the others and stands with his hands in his pockets smiling guardedly.
After a moment of uneasy quiet, Dad asks me if I might remember who that man is. As tactfully as I can, I tell him, “Dad, I think you are pulling my leg. You know that is you when you were younger.” By answering in this manner, I attempt to minimize his embarrassment, but it hits him anyway. With mist in his sad eyes, he agrees that this is he. Then he candidly admits that he had not known who this person was. (He must be wondering if this is another sign that the end is drawing nearer.)
Other photographs draw his attention away from the one that frightened him so. Children are squealing; horses are neighing; summer winds are blowing; old cars are chugging by; and people are calling him by his nickname “Peanuts.” We finish this viewing of old photographs on a sentimental but somewhat happy note. I replace the suitcase under Dad’s bed. We play a few hands of 500 Rummy, place a goodnight call to my mother and retire for the night.
These photographs are the inheritance of our family. Each family has its own treasure chest of these silent echoes and should take the time to enjoy them. Dad and I laughed that night too. But years later I cannot forget the one moment of quiet silence, as he held the picture of his own family and identified each person except himself. That image plays back in my mind every now and then. I heard Dad crying in bed that night, softly, wishing that I would not hear him. For me, this is yet another silent echo.
Sample Story: “Falling Rain”
This is a sample story from the book Other Silent Echoes:
On my wife’s first birthday after our marriage, I used my best calligraphy skills – which were and remain nil – to compose for her a poetic handmade birthday card.
At that time I was not familiar with the phrase “Silent Echoes.” Yet, that is exactly the concept woven into my message of love and adoration for my new bride. These are echoes; they definitely qualify as Silent Echoes. The text of that birthday card reads:
“This is the day, for
Which I am most thankful.
Exactly – – years ago today a
New being came upon this earth.
This being was to grow into
You, the wonderful woman I have as my wife.
This day, in 19 – -, was certainly no ordinary day.
Heaven – in you – descended and showed us what it was made of – just as
Raindrops fall to earth to remind us of the substance of clouds.
Ever since that day the world has been richer.
Especially any part that comes in direct contact with you!
You can see, in me, the effect you have on people.
Each day you share happiness, wisdom, your great inner being,
And life, itself, with me. In return,
Respect and love and all of my devotion
Shall be yours all the days of my life!
Once more, honey, I want to say that I
Love you dearly and hope that on this
Day the world will repay you for the happiness and kindness you have given it.”
Friend, if you have placed God in control of your life, you might feel undeserving of these accolades – yet, you will feel comfortable with this at the same time.
Today is the day to get yourself comfortable with having God in your life, thereby echoing Him and His realm. A simple, sincere prayer of acknowledging your current relationship with God, then expressing repentance and yielding control of your remaining time on earth to him is all it takes. Your spirit will know if you have been sincere or not. And if you are candid when you pray, your silent echoes of the consistency of heaven will begin to be heard by others.
I believe each of us is to be a reflection of what heaven is about – not “like” but “about.” If God is in your life, you exhibit clues to the composition of heaven. If God is not in your life, even your greatest kindnesses fall short of any semblance of heaven. Now, read my love poem, again. However, this second time read it as though God wrote it to you. Are you deserving of these words: Do you measure up to being one who is as the apple of God’s eye?
(By the way, did you decipher the code that will tell you which birthday that was for my wife? If not, go back and isolate the first letter in each sentence of the poem I wrote to my wife and in the same order as they appear.)
Sample Story: “Snares, Bewares, and Grace”
This is a sample story from the book Silent Echoes/MorningWhispers:
Now, we must confront the most serious aspect of being responsible for a life and a soul. There are two entities after our eternal soul. God, our Maker and Father desires to have us return to His realm, where we will share His kingdom and feast at His table. The other would keep you from it at all expense. He, the Fallen One, plies his trade on Earth so craftily that we need to review his ways, lest his snare traps us forever, and we never see daylight, again.
I discovered a simple way to illustrate how subtle are the ways of the Deceiver when I set a trap for a squirrel. While I awaited my success in catching this rodent, I had time to listen to that small, quiet voice inside, which each of us possesses. These are the ones that are summaries of echoes, which bring collectively all of the lessons we have learned or observed in our past. These are the same hushed voices to which we do not always heed, even when they roar loudly enough for those around us to hear.
We know of the snares; we, also, know of the “Bewares!” If we are honest, we will acknowledge that temptations come at us from every side, bombarding us heavily with those very things that are our most prevalent weaknesses. Name our giving into these temptations for what they are. They are acts of sin. For impact, one poem ahead personifies Sin. I think this affects us more, if we consider Sin as a being able to cogitate, lie, deceive and plot our very demise.
Next, I am finally so pleased to be able to present to an attentive audience, my factual concept of Eternity. I call it factual because I am convinced that the offbeat understanding that came to me perhaps fifteen years ago, captures the essence of a timeless present and an infinite future. I cannot grasp a timeless beginning, but it is to the future to which our souls are to focus, anyway. Do not proceed to Eternal Hades: (Conceptualized) until you have a strong grasp upon the subject of Eternity. Then, when you read “Hades,” it will have the powerful effect upon you, which it has had upon me.
In closing this section, I include “Save A Death For Me,” which simply expresses that we should be concerned that we are not the antichrist or his accomplice. By passing through death, those of us who are in Christ will become present with the Lord. How does that salvation take place? It is the only and the direct result of God’s grace, an unmerited favor we do not deserve but which God grants to the followers of Christ in spite of ourselves.
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