I know, I know... it's been a week, more than a week. Sorry! I will make it up to you after Christmas with lots of pictures.
Last weekend, Shannon came "home" from North Carolina for Christmas. I say "home" because I think it depends on your definition of the word. If home is where you keep your things, it is in North Carolina. If home is where your family is; Michigan is home.
We spent the whole day baking and eating cookies on Sunday, I think we made at least 5 or 6 different kinds of cookies. ooooh yum. Even our dog Dakota got a treat! That would be Shannon feeding the dog yogurt. She's still in her pj's, I won't say what time it was when I took that picture. ;)
The days since Sunday have been somewhat of a blur. Those of you that have been reading my blog already know that my best friend Leah's mom Michele was diagnosed with uterine cancer in June. Her battle with that cancer ended on Sunday. We knew it was coming, but it doesn't make it any easier to accept or understand. Monday at work was hard, I had to email all 12 of my coworkers to let them know, because I knew if I went in and tried to repeat it that many times, I would make a blubbering idiot of myself. Most everyone was understanding and respected my request not to talk about it. All it took was one person to say, "I'm very sorry for your loss" to make me lose it. Just opening my mouth to say thank you, I could feel my face start to quiver and my eyes well up with tears.
The memorial service was yesterday, it was beautiful, as beautiful as a funeral can be. It started with a relative of Michele's and then a former coworker of hers speaking about her, and sharing stories. Then the coworker introduced Leah, you could hear everyone in the room quietly gasp, sniffle or otherwise share their disbelief that she can get up there and talk. But she did and it was beautiful. The love that mother and daughter share, even in death is just amazing. I've said it since the beginning of this six month battle, Leah is so strong and so amazing. I am so proud of you Leah! The service ended with a slide show of pictures of Michele and her family. It was so great to see so many pictures of her beautiful smiling face.
After the service, we all went back to Leah's house and stayed for a few hours, mingling with friends from high school, relatives and other friends and acquaintences of Leah and Michele. Leah handed me an envelope with a few pictures she had found while creating the slide show that she wanted me to have.
Here is Leah and I, we are six years old and getting ready to ride our decorated bikes in the Children's Fair Parade.
This is me and Michele, I don't specifically remember this day, but it looks like we had built some kind of fort in their back yard and were hanging out in it. This looks like it was about 6th or 7th grade. I'm not sure about the cat's name, but the dog is Lou Lou. (yes, I was allergic to cats back then too, but I just didn't care).
Michele's friends and family have been leaving stories and messages on the blog, I hope it continues for a long time. My mom wrote a wonderful story about her here (as well as some not so flattering pictures of Leah and I as kids). I also posted a story here.
My very very first memory of Michele: I was probably 5 or 6, Leah and Michele lived in an apartment above a storefront downtown in Chelsea. I have the most clear memory of Leah and I sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for lunch. Michele is at the counter, about to pour two glasses of milk, until I tell her, "I only like the milk with the BLUE cap." And even after that, and probably many other "picky-eater" moments that I don't recall, she still welcomed me with open arms, as if a second daughter.