I didn't believe in cancer (for Michele)

Michele, I don’t want to say goodbye to you.  I don’t want this world to be without you — baby fanatic, mother motherer, visionary, compassionate soul. I’m very angry at this cancer thing! I never wanted to believe it was real. YOU, of all people, so passionate about creating a healthy life and healthy lives! But I am so grateful that you shared the adventure with me. I am so grateful to have had you as a mommy-mentor, client, partner, fan, friend, and inspiration.

How do you say goodbye to someone who catalyzed so much? Child-Friendly Initiative—a group of incredibly capable mommies at a critical time—who made a noise that started a movement that led to the family bathrooms and airport nursing stations we now rely on - and even made an impression on the United Nations! Even the CFI fundraisers left a legacy, amazing events with amazing art. (Amazing - one of Michele's favorite words.) Those gorgeous Art of Life bellies are still a gift to the world. And we've still got a Chair-ity for Children chair my kid no longer fits!

You don’t say goodbye; you can’t. As we all learned in our time with Michele, babies grow up. Some day they'll have babies. Friends move away and make new friends. The mysteries – the things you don’t know - keep one step ahead of the accomplishments, the things you do know. Life comes and goes, but love, laughter, and amazing beauty are everywhere, ever-renewing.

Michele told me a secret, earlier this year; perhaps it’s no longer a secret. She had had a few glasses of wine after one of her amazing cancer healings, then went down to visit Hannah in college. Wandering around campus, she felt lightheaded, out-of-body. She had visions. She saw hands, everywhere hands. When I heard this, tears came to my eyes —what a beautiful vision for Michele, all the people she touched, who touched her. The babies she massaged. The mothers she reached out to. Look at the CFI logo. Look at the logo for Healthy Family Living. Michele ‘handed’ us a new, more compassionate way to see the world. (I’d love to see what she would do with a fundraiser about hands, to follow up on those bellies and chairs.)

I don’t worry about Michele. But I weep for her children, to have lost a mother whose love was so awesome it spilled out beyond them to change the world. I weep so hard for you guys, and for Dan, love of her life, who made it all possible. (There is something wrong with a world in which your grandkids don’t get to experience Michele!) But I don’t worry about Michele. I told her those visions of hands were the hands of everyone supporting her, which she really appreciated, since she was a little creeped out. Of course, since I was such a loyal cancer-denier, I kept my real thoughts to myself: that those were the hands of the ones who’d gone before, reaching back for her. "Come on, Michele! We need you on the other side!"

So Michele, I won't say goodbye. I know you'll be back. There is still work to be done. And I hope to meet you again, in the blink of an eye.

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