Friday was like that. One crazy thing after another, all day long. But it started out with an e-mail that outweighs all of the craziness of Liberia. Something that makes even less sense to me-- my dear, sweet, beautiful friend Michelle died. It was not entirely unexpected, she had fought Lou Gehrigs disease for the last three years. When I saw her in September she was locked inside the prison of her body, hardly able to move or communicate. But this is not the Michelle that I knew and loved. Michelle loved life, she was full of it. Her laugh burst joy into the universe. So to hear, and have to believe, that she is no longer on this earth is really unfathomable to me. But it is true. And to think that I have to go on living somehow seems dishonoring. So, when my day started with the news of Michelle, I wasn't really sure how to proceed. I am thousands of miles away. How do I pay my respects? How do I hug her kids and our friends to tell them I am sorry? I didn't get to say good bye. I didn't get to hug her one more time. How do I finish the sandwich I was eating when I heard the news or go about anything "normal?" It almost seems disrespectful.
I knew that Michelle was going to die. Just like I know that she is now celebrating. I didn't know it was going to hurt this bad. I didn't know how badly I would feel the need to be connected to the people that connected us. I don't understand why I have been away the last two years, when it seems like she could have used me the most. But I do know that Michelle wouldn't have had it any other way. She was one of the most supportive people of my Liberian orphan adventure. Over and over she would tell me I was exactly where I was supposed to be. She was proud of me. Just as I am proud of her. And I guess I can now say to Michelle, even if I don't fully understand it, "You are exactly where you are supposed to be, you are free."
I love you Michelle.