Friday, June 09, 2006


Michele and I met in highschool and became instant friends. There was nothing that we kept secret from one another as we both met during really difficult times in our life. We were fearless and believed we could do anything....all things were possible and we dreamed big!

When Michele became pregnant at age 18, her mother was furious! When she found out, Michele was thrown out. We (my parents and I) took her in. After a couple of weeks she returned home and then the pressure to have her abort the baby began.

This went on till the 20th week had come and gone. We both were opposed to abortion and her baby was kicking strongly and it horrified her the thought that her parents wanted her to do this.

So, we planned on getting an apartment together since I was now working full-time and she could go on welfare until the baby was born. We really believed she could raise the baby herself and get her GED at night. I started collecting stuff for the apartment and Michele seemed confident that she could do it.

However, her mother informed her that if she kept her baby she would never speak to her again and would offer no financial assistance. In the last hours Michele caved into the relentless pressure from her parents. She truly believed her baby would be better off without her. It was soo sad.

During this time, I had started dating my now husband. Michele went on every date with us and we would joke with her that we would pay her to go home early so that we could be alone! I have photos of us sitting in Mother's Restaurant in the bar. Michele is drinking Shirley Temples while we are having a beer. Andy and Michele got along great and he was so good in accepting the package deal of dating both of us!

Michele gave birth to a baby girl and named her Chelsey. Her birth was difficult and scary. The nurse that she had was cold and indifferent to her fear and anguish. I tried my best to be a good birthing coach...and to be honest, her birth experience shaped forever how I wanted my own births to be. She spent almost a week in hospital and would not hold or see the baby. I really wanted her to see the baby and she did finally choose to hold her but it was so hard for her...the decision to let her baby go was so horribly difficult yet she almost didn't have a choice because of all the pressure around her from her parents and social worker.

The other thing that stands out so clear to me was when I went and saw the baby in the nursery she was so little but that baby had the oldest eyes. It took my breath away...I believe that she absorbed the stress that Michele went through and it showed in her little eyes....

After giving her up, Michele was like a wounded animal. At first she seemed able to keep it together. Though together, we started getting more and more daring in our adventures when we hit the town. Fortunately for me, I realized that Andy was going to be in my future and I settled down. Michele however, just seemed to spin out of control.

She would call me all hours of the night crying and moaning for her baby. She wondered how she was doing, she imagined she had seen her, thought she might even be able to get her back. Through the whole process, her family failed her, her boyfriend failed her, the nurses in the hospital failed her and finally her social worker failed her.

Ultimately I failed her too. We stayed friends for many years, she was my constant side kick during the time I dated my husband to be...she came on almost every date we had and Andy would pay for both of us and never complain! She was the honourary maid of honour at my wedding as my sister was the official one! But, it was the only way to make it fair for both my "sisters"!

We continued being close for many more years. It was during the time I was struggling with infertility...I needed her but she needed me more...and I had nothing to give her. I begged her to get professional help as I obviously wasn't able to help her get over losing the baby. She ended up in hospital to help her with her deepening depression. That led her to the quick fix of phsychiatrists....drugs....dull the ache, talk for 30 minutes and their off to the next appointment.

Michele went on to struggle with harder drugs...part of it started when she had work done on her teeth and the pain was so bad she ended up addicted to pain relievers. This caused her to spiral into other drugs. I visited her at rehab, met her uptown different times, gave her money and picked her up at times when she was stuck. Sadly it wasn't enough. I now had three little babies, Michele had a son a bit older than my own oldest son whom she left in the care of her parents. She then had another baby girl thru a relationship/marriage to a guy who scared her and controlled her...she gave up custody of that child too.

The last time I had visited her in Ridgewood, we talked about someday meeting her little girl...who would have been almost 18 at the time. We agreed we would get together and start fresh....when Michele first gave her up, we used to imagine someday meeting her...what we would tell her, what it would be like...we would wonder what she looked like....

Finally, her daughter that she gave up all those years ago called me last Thursday. At first my reaction was "at last, I have been waiting for this call" I assumed all three of us would get together and forge a new relationship....but just as quickly, it was shattered when she told me of her death.

I am struggling so hard with this...Michele talked about me constantly with her daughter. Wanting us to get together, reconnect but she couldn't because in hindsight, I feel I put a lot of pressure on Michele to do good, to get her life in order for when her daughter would come back...she probably felt she wouldn't measure up. Amanda knew that Michele would want it to be her that called me to break the news of her death...of her suicide and it truly meant so much to me to hear it from her.

Michele was buried with only her family around friends were included...supposedly Micehele's wishes. A death notice was not placed in the paper. None of her friends from her youth or those who cared and loved her know of her passing. This breaks my heart.

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