By Steve Svetovich
Brenda Cavalier Cosgrove will tell anyone who meets her that all she ever wanted in life was to have children.
Her Facebook page states simply, “My children make me happy.”
A single mom, she raised her sons Michael and Daniel, pretty much paycheck to paycheck while working as a home health C.N.A. and later as a biomedical lab technician/ phlebotomist.
“The only thing I ever wanted in life was to be a mom,” she said.
Her first son Michael was born when she was 18. Daniel came five years later.
She attended all of their school, summer baseball and biddy basketball events. She pitched baseballs to them, taught them about manners, being polite and having a strong work ethic and went went bike riding with her boys throughout the Mid Valley area.
Life was a struggle at times, but it was good. She had her two boys.
Then life took a tragic turn. Daniel suddenly passed away June 8, 2012, at 24, just one day before Brenda’s 48th birthday.
It took a long time for Brenda to recover. You never recover from the loss of a son.
It was Michael who enabled her to carry on. Now she had to live for her older son.
Michael, who worked at Wegman’s as a teen, joined the military reserves when he was only 18. He fought in battle in three different countries: Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. He was an expert in the use of military weapons and knives and took pride in being able to live anywhere in or out of the country just with his knapsack and a few knives.
“I don’t need a lot to live,” he would say. “I’m a survivor.”
Michael developed a great deal of courage having been right in the middle of combat. “I was shot at and was commanded to shoot back,” he said. “You did what you had to do.”
Despite his military training and travels throughout the world and this country, Michael remained true to his mom, always coming home to live and look out for her in the Peckville/Archbald/Jermyn area.
And he remained very close to his dad, John Guratosky and his wife Holly. He had a special bond with them too. He was proud of his dad who also served in the military.
Michael also had a way of finding humor in the dreariest and darkest situations. He had a sharp, quick wit and knew how to make people laugh.
Michael was well mannered, polite, but loved to kid and joke with those he knew best. He often used the terms Sir or Ma’am when addressing people, but if he knew you well Michael would not be afraid to call you anything. That was like a badge of honor.
The one constant was his love for his mom and vice versa. Neither left a room, without both saying, “I love you.” As much as Michael looked out for his mom, she looked out for him equally.
As Brenda’s 55th birthday approached this past June 9, she and Michael began to reminisce about Daniel. The two boys were extremely close, inseparable. Michael was even sadly counting down the days to the anniversary of Daniel’s passing.
Then this past June 7, almost seven years to the date Daniel died and just two days before Brenda’s birthday, tragedy struck again. Michael was found dead in a friend’s home less than a week before he was to be sent on another military mission.
There are no words to convey to a mother who lost both of her beloved sons.
But Michael has joined his brother Daniel in Heaven now.
Hundreds came to the military viewing at Battenberg Funeral Home in Jermyn where there was a three gun salute in his honor. Family and friends gathered at Michael’s funeral at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery a week later where there was another three gun salute and the American flag and three gun shells were presented to Brenda and Michael’s dad.
You will not find a love greater than this mother and her two sons. Sgt. 1st Class Michael Guratosky loved his mom, dad and family. He loved his military brothers and sisters and was proud to serve this country for 16 years of his life.
It was an honor and a privilege to have known you, Michael. God Bless you and your brother Daniel in Heaven.