Is there anyone who watched Mike’s heartbreaking death on General Hospital without reaching for the Kleenex box? The poignant end of Max Gail’s 2-½ year run as Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) Alzheimer’s-afflicted father was handled with grace and dignity. Family and friends surrounded Mike with love and support, providing moments that made us cry and smile. Here are some that stood out.
Stella’s General Hospital Return
Bringing Vernee Watson back as Stella was a no-brainer. The social worker grew close to Sonny and Mike after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She helped Sonny navigate through caring for his ailing father, so it was only fitting that she guide him through their final hours together. Plus, Stella had been a true friend to Mike and needed to say goodbye to him.
Josslyn’s Flash Forward
Josslyn’s (Eden McCoy) bedside chat with the man she called Grandpa was heartwarming. She sweetly expressed her love to Mike, then flashed forward to times they’d never get to share — like Mike being there on her wedding day or hearing the news that she was expecting a child. Mike beamed sharing these special moments with his special girl, and they made you smile as a viewer.
Having Carly (Laura Wright) fall off to sleep and dream about Mike was perfect. They shared a special bond and acknowledged loving each other like father and daughter. After Mike assured Carly that even though he was dying, he’d always be in her heart, Carly woke up at peace, and fans felt it, too. “I know everything is going to be okay,” she announced.
The Inclusion of Dante
Adding Sonny’s missing son, Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) to Mike’s farewell tribute was perfectly played. After learning his grandfather was near the end, Dante lamented not being there. Then he drifted off to what might have been; three generations heading to his son’s Rocco’s baseball game and the trio returning from a big-league game together. There were laughs and smiles all around as Carly welcomed her bonding brood home.
A Steady Flow of Love
Others showed up during Mike’s final hours, each with a message or purpose. Brook Lynn (Briana Lane) was the connection to Mike’s Bensonhurst past, while Brando (Johnny Wactor) shared a touching story about butterflies being a sign from those who passed away. Jason (Steve Burton) lent support to all and, more importantly, assured Mike it was okay to go. “I’m here for Sonny,” he promised.
Sonny’s Final Farewell
Sonny’s complete forgiveness was the final step before Mike could pass, and it was delivered passionately. After calling a priest to administer last rites, Sonny insisted his dad had made up for whatever went wrong in his childhood “tenfold,” and acknowledged Mike’s gambling had been an addiction he couldn’t overcome. “There’s no need to regret anymore, Dad… I just want you to go in peace and go with love.” Then with tears in his eyes, Sonny kissed his father on the forehead and left the room, knowing Mike didn’t want him there when he slipped away.
Escort to Heaven
It was a beautiful touch to have an angelic Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis) appear to escort Mike to the afterlife. He immediately recognized his late daughter and greeted her with a huge smile. When she reached out her hand, Mike took hold of it and walked into the light. Mike’s battle was over. He had succumbed and he was finally at peace. General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.