She touched so many lives. I wish I could thank her for her selflessness and warm hugs.
I remember coming over to your house so we could watch a meteor shower. She was so fun to be around. I thought I’d be the odd man out but she made me feel so welcomed and cared for. The amount of knowledge and crafty ideas she contained is innumerable to say the least. Anyone who met her doesn’t leave as a stranger. Hands down one of the best and most memorable nights of my life. I’m grateful for having known her and having you Shante as a dear friend in high school. She touched so many lives. I wish I could thank her for her selflessness and warm hugs. I hope you and your family find much comfort during this difficult time
One weekend it all felt like too much and I was really sad and she said “it’s OK if you feel like having a pity party, maybe I’ll join you” and we were literally on the phone for 36 hours.
I have so many memories of Michele, both as a scout leader to my daughter and as a close friend to me. Michele is one of the kindest gentlest, smartest, humblest, honest, self-reflecting people I know. She was no push-over and although she might not have come right out and verbalize her disagreement that often, she had that pinched mouth, one raised eye smirk that said it all. I loved that smirk.
As a troop leader to my daughter, I remember mostly times of being out with the group of kids and her letting them explore and learn and do things that would make me cringe. Walmart in the middle of the night ring any bells? The number of customers getting to the register finding random things in their carts I can only imagine.
A 70-year-old man with a pregnancy test, a 20-year-old girl with hemorrhoid cream and prunes and on and on.
Hitting Denny’s at midnight and everyone being wound up on milkshakes and ordering anything they wanted and being loud pre-teens, I thought she was letting them be ‘bad’ but she was really letting them have harmless fun and teaching them individuality and she was always challenging their creativity. She is truly one of the most creative talented moms I knew. The birthday invitations were always so creative. Who knew you could send a plastic bottle full of confetti thru the mail?
As a friend, Michele was an open book. We could have real heartfelt meaningful conversations or just chat for hours and hours. It didn’t matter what we were talking about. She would listen like she had nothing else in the world more important to do. I never felt rushed while we chatted and sometimes that would keep us on the phone for 6+ hours. Many a times the housework would be done and dinner prepped before we realized how long we were talking.
I know she had that focus with everyone else she talked to too which is what made her so special. I miss our conversations sooo much!
One call that stands out is when I was going thru a really hard time in my life with lots of big changes one right after the other. One weekend it all felt like too much and I was really sad and she said “it’s OK if you feel like having a pity party, maybe I’ll join you” and we were literally on the phone for 36 hours.
We ate, we cried, we slept, (she sewed patches and swept dog hair while I took baths) and we talked about deep stuff and also sat in silence while switching from cordless phones to corded phones multiple times to charge batteries. That weekend solidified our close friendship and set the tone for many more healing marathon calls.
Selfless, that is the word that comes to mind when I think of Michele. She was the most selfless person I knew while giving so much of herself to others but still knowing when to take those moments to take care of herself as well. She taught me that if I wanted something or needed something to just get it or do it. Make it happen. Why not? What was I waiting for?
I so admired her ability to unplug and take retreats alone. I loved that so much about her. She was humble but knew her worth. I admired her ability to treat each person as if their time spent is the most important time spent and her ability to empathize with every person she came in contact with. No matter what.
I also admired her never ending optimism and trust in her spirituality. She never wavered and if she did, it was very short lived. Like minutes compared to my weeks.
When I think back over the past year and a half, I keep thinking about the fact that I did not hear her complain one time. No matter how hard her journey was at the time, or how much pain she was in, she did not complain. That blows my mind. I will forever think about that and try to be like her in that aspect the most.
She was a mama bear to so many kids and a trusted friend and confidant to me. No one on this earth knows or understands me as much as M did. There was no secret I wouldn’t tell her or no thought I would hold back. Sorry about that part Michele.
I felt like I could open up and talk about big things in my heart that felt tender and hard to share.
A gift for making people feel welcome and included
There’s not a specific memory, just more of a feeling that stands out. Your mom definitely has a gift for making people feel welcome and included. I was real late to the game with Girl Scouts but I always felt welcome with the Flamingos and especially at your house.
She edited my personal statements for college and gave great feedback but even more than that really helped me feel seen and like I was capable. I’ve been thinking of you, Shante and Nyasha a lot the last few days.
A day that stands out is when we all went to Seattle back before our junior year. I found a couple pictures of her. We were calling out the name of alcoholic drinks to point out cute boys to each other and I remember her good natured comments as each of our types were revealed.
I don’t remember anything specific, but she has a distinct cadence and laugh that always made me smile. I felt like I could open up and talk about big things in my heart that felt tender and hard to share. I have a letter I’ll need to pull out sometime and send you a picture of.
I remember her joking and chatting with us about things other parents I spent time with wouldn’t—like sex
Years of laughter and love
I remember always feeling like I could be myself at your house—whoever that was. Your mom made everyone feel welcome and loved us where we were in life.
I remember her joking and chatting with us about things other parents I spent time with wouldn’t—like sex. I remember her letting us all stay up all night and laugh loudly and being up to host way too many of your friends.
I am so sorry for your loss, Shanté. Thank you for those years of laughter and love.
I had never seen your mom upset! She was always level headed and kind when we messed up, nothing seemed to faze her.
Favorite memories of just sitting around the counter talking.
I’ve been thinking since I first saw you posted this and have absolutely not been able to make a decision about what to share. A lot of my favorite memories are the ones where we’d just sit around the counter talking. Drinking from those plastic cups we insisted on!
There’s one from when we were pretty young that always stands out to me – I was messing around (as was always allowed at your house!) but I went too far and broke one of Michele’s castles that lined the wall up by the ceiling. I was completely being careless, I think I threw a ball at it? And it BROKE. Big crash.
I had never seen your mom upset! She was always level headed and kind when we messed up, nothing seemed to faze her. So based on her immediate reaction I totally expected her to get really angry, to yell at me, or “not like me anymore” (kids lol).. But she didn’t. Of course. She just said “I need a moment” and left to her room. She came back later and I apologized and we talked it out.
Michele taught me so much over the years but that specific moment was an example I think about all the time.
On a lighter note – I can’t see llamas without wondering if they’re the evil spitting kind! And I fondly remember us all fighting every week for the front seat in the truck (so you could play ANY music you wanted). And doing fire drills to justify our obsession with burning things inside.
Homecoming! We all got ready at the house and Michele curled our hair. I took this picture and said that I would tell everyone she was my mom. Lol. (Kimberly Ann Bray)
Not necessarily a specific memory, but just all of the moments that she was anyone and everyone’s mom/grandma. She has so much unconditional love for everyone in her life and always made sure we were taken care of. (Karolynne DeSoto)
Any time I got to spend with her and the rest of the crew at her house in Granite Falls. I still remember the night we all painted our own plates! Michelle always made me feel so welcomed and loved, even when I felt like an outsider, which I’m eternally grateful for and will never forget. (Shannon Ozog)
I can thank her for starting my obsession with ice cube trays.
The ever classic quote
“If you guys wanna come over whenever you want, that’s fine with me, just make sure to call so that you don’t catch me in a towel, or worse…NAKED!!!”…
I can go on and on and on. Off the top of my head the one i just thought of moments ago. I can thank her for starting my obsession with ice cube trays. And also donating a large portion of my current number of ice cube trays. Of which I will now cherish more than before!