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 truly love her with my whole heart