Debby Silence

She left me with so many memories. She saved my life more than once. But the story I want to tell is when I knew that she was an angel walking this Earth. We had a book club once a week and would meet at Shannon’s business.

I pulled up to Park and there was a homeless man walking down the street being a little bit belligerent and I was a little bit scared. I finally got into the building and I don’t remember what happened while we were all inside but I remember that someone called 911. Then we look outside and I see Michele walking straight for this belligerent homeless person.

She sat down on the ground next to him and she held his hand. She talked to him and listened to him and sat there with him until the police arrived. I knew at that moment I wanted to be just like her. She was so kind and loving and brave. An Angel. I will miss her so much.

Amanda Powter

So many memories of a shining light of a person.

So many memories of a shining light of a person. When she babysat us, she would insist we built forts and play right with us as we crawled around under blankets and propped up couch cushions.

In our play hospital, she made us “medicine” of milk + sprinkles (which melted and ran with color in the milk — the closest thing we got to candy most of the time as kids).

Taking us out to the Bon Marche to buy one outfit for school when we didn’t usually get brand new clothes — we could pick anything we wanted — I got *two* t-shirts of different colors that I could layer and then roll up the sleeves to look very cool, I thought.

And I also remember the softness of the seats in that land boat car and how cool the blue flames were. And then reconnecting with her after a long time and feeling just as loved and seen and happy to have had her in my life.

Nyasha Stowell

Boxes of beads, diagrams of projects, branches stretched into circles

Waiting, full of potential, but destined to remain

Unfinished.

Unfinished

Unfinished

There is something about the end of each day now, something that fits

Or rather doesn’t. As if a day without talking to you is a day,

Unfinished.

Boxes of beads, diagrams of projects, branches stretched into circles

Waiting, full of potential, but destined to remain

Unfinished.

File folders with check lists, painstakingly created,

Words to follow, words to study, but still so many things left,

Unfinished.

How do I follow a path that at times is so unclear?

No footsteps left to follow, the road before me,

Unfinished.

Mark Velednitsky

Last October, my mother-in-law Michele died after a year and a half of living with late-stage colon cancer. Michele was a very spiritual person and loved to learn about world religions.

The first time I visited Shante for the holidays, Michele made sure to buy a Hanukkah menorah and insisted that I teach everyone the candle-lighting prayers. It is fitting, then, then I’m making this post in her honor at the end of sheloshim, an important milestone in Jewish mourning.

Those who knew Michele know how kind she was, more so than words can express. To celebrate her extraordinary spirit, I want to share just one memory of her that has been on my mind.

Michele loved to vacation at the ocean and go for walks along the windy Washington coast. One of her traditions on these trips was to set aside time to clean up the beach. She brought a trash bag, a pair of trash pickers, and scooped up trash that others had left as she walked along the sand. She then loaded them into her car and brought them to a proper garbage bin.

The picture below is from this March, when Shante and I joined Michele for a week on one of her ocean trips. Her tradition was already a testament to her selfless nature, but in this context, I found it particularly remarkable. Michele knew she had terminal cancer and likely had less than a year left. Even so, she took time out of what could have been her last ocean trip for an anonymous act of kindness. Armed with a trash bag, she set out doing her part to make the world a little brighter. After an hour or so, we hauled away about three or four bags worth of trash.

In her last year and a half living with cancer, Michele continued to live her life exactly as she had before her diagnosis: she worked on art projects, she hosted gatherings (when covid allowed), she listened intently to the stories others told her, she brought people together, and she found creative ways to bring cheer into the world. It says a lot when a person, faced with limited time, chooses to spend it doing exactly what they always did. I see it as a sign of a life well-lived. And, in the end, I suppose that is the best anyone can ask for.

Mic Plumb

I can vividly remember Michele leading us, Mark and I, in prayer. My earliest memory of her natural spirituality.

Michelle is a given name, originally a variant of Michèle, the French feminine form of Michel, derived from the Hebrew name Michael meaning “Who is like God”. I think angel would be more appropriate.

When we were young, I’m guessing four to six (ish). Our family spent time cruising Puget Sound and Lake Washington. The memories are not clear but maybe what my mind has decided they were after all these years.

There was a bit of a storm that forced us to leave our boat somewhere south. In an attempt to bring the boat home, dad, his good friend Johnny and us kids set out to get the boat home. Seems to me it was the next day, the storm had eased but was still pretty bad, waves as big as our little boat and the rain driving down with little visibility.

I remember the very real concern that we did not have enough fuel to complete the journey. We were scared, crying and Dad was busy keeping the boat upright. Between sobs, singing “rain rain go away…”.

I can vividly remember Michele leading us, Mark and I, in prayer. My earliest memory of her natural spirituality. We made it home safely to tell the tale over the years but what stands out, It seems she had been consoling us, even in her extreme discomfort.

And now, I feel an inexplicable comfort in the loss of my hero, she has been comforting me with seemingly little regard to her own comfort. An act of an angel.

Kyle Kamins

Despite being there to visit Shante, Michele constantly encouraged and inspired me to pursue my dreams and that it was possible for me to accomplish great things too. It was one of the best weeks of my life and I’ll cherish it always!

One of my favorite memories of Michele was our trip to visit Shante in Boston for her graduation from MIT.

She and I got lost in the subway system more times than I could count, but it was never a problem. We never stressed. We just enjoyed the randomness of the journey and savored the moments along the way ❤️

Despite being there to visit Shante, Michele constantly encouraged and inspired me to pursue my dreams and that it was possible for me to accomplish great things too. It was one of the best weeks of my life and I’ll cherish it always!

Natessa Gerard

Every time I would see her she would always thank me for being a part of her life and Mic’s

I will always cherish and hold close all the wonderful family holiday gatherings we shared together from my very first at Norma and Mikes then off to my first smorgasbord family gathering. Passing the pink Jasmine scented soap bunny back-and-forth the last one she decorated for Mic’s 54th birthday it’s sitting on our desk. Every time I look at it I think of Michelle and laugh.

All the wonderful messages and cards I have saved that she has sent me. So many cherished memories I will hold close in my heart. Every time I would see her she would always thank me for being a part of her life and Mic’s

Issen Powter

God speed, my friend. You know our favorite line from Grumpy Old Men. Missy, Issie loves you forever.

So many memories and fun. Such a beautiful spirit. So much love. So much thoughtfulness and kindness.

I still laugh at the memory of the first time Missy came to babysit my kids. She must have been about 15 or 16. She came into the house in high dudgeon because she had stopped at home before coming to our house and caught her parents, in the living room I think, romantically engaged.

Her outrage was that at their age, they should at least do that somewhere she couldn’t accidentally walk in on them. We wound up collapsing on our couch in laughter with the kids wondering what was so funny.

God speed, my friend. You know our favorite line from Grumpy Old Men. Missy, Issie loves you forever.