Uncle John's Family Web
return to main page

A fatherís reflections on his daughterís life

Though Michelle suffered countless illnesses and surgeries from birth, she did not want to be "defined" by them. This was rather difficult because every time she picked herself up, enrolled in school, got a job or began a relationship; another trip to the hospital would unceremoniously jerk her back down. But she refused to give up. Her writings, poems and notes to family and friends are testimony to that spirit of hope and resolve.

She was able to keep going by expressing herself through her writings and her thirst for knowledge of history, music and film. She was a gifted actress who ran out of classes to take in Austin.

Her film interests ranged from Gone With the Wind to Austinís own cult classic film, Slacker for which Michelle had a keen identification. She not only marched to the beat of a different drummer, one of her goals was to play drums like her grandfather, "Gaudy".

She thrived on diversity. Her musical interest ranged from Classical and Western Swing to Reggae and HipHop. But it was the lively melodic rhythm of Jamaicaís Bob Marley that was her favorite. She noted that Houstonís own Johnny Nash was inspired by Marleyís reggae when he wrote the popular, upbeat anthem, "I can see clearly now, the rain is gone."

She was fiercely feminist and would not allow bigotry in any form to be expressed in her presence.

Michelle enjoyed growing up in Bellville where she lived among the bluebonnets with her mom on a beautiful place in the country. Michelle enjoyed riding horses and helping her mom in the garden. And when Michelle would be recovering from an illness her mother would lift her spirits by treating her to a high class massage at an Austin spa resort.

The friends she worked with at Girling Healthcare in Austin were of great comfort to her as they accommodated her absences with patience and understanding.

A week ago today (written for the Wake), Michelle was in a chaise lounge catching some sun and surrounded by the sweet smell of petunias on her dadís patio in Evergreen, Colorado. John was frustrated and complained that even with the petunias and a couple of hummingbird feeders, they had been unsuccessful in attracting the little birds. Michelle looked up and said, "Well Dad, we just have to get a St. Francis. Thatís what Mom would do."

She wrote countless poems and snippets of verse. Hereís a little prayer she wrote when she was hoping to get a job with Americorps, the new national service program modeled after the Peace Corps.

Please Please Please
Dear God let me get this job!!
Please let others find happiness they desire.
Lord help me in my efforts to improve the lives of those I encounter everyday.

We can certainly say, Michelle, your prayers were answered as we celebrate your life today.

When Michelle was born December 1st, 27 years ago, she was placed in an incubator until Christmas Eve when John and Mary were allowed to take her home. Her mom gave her this book and always referred to Michelle as our little Christmas Angel.

Today our little Christmas Angel soars home.