|Michelle's Earth Foundation Newsletter
October 7, 2008
MICHELLE, WE LOVE
Michelle in Soutpansberg Mountain
Range, S. Africa. Spring Semester '06
Today is the second anniversary of Michelle's murder. We are including two beautiful eulogies from Michelle's memorial service on October 28, 2006.
As always, we want to extend a special thanks to those who've created and supported tributes and memorials to Michelle on Facebook Groups
, Facebook Causes
, and the MEF site
Stephanie Remembers Michelle
I'm Stephanie Lewis, I played soccer with Michelle since
summer after 3rd grade. So, I've known Michelle a long time-the last
five years of playing soccer in high school, Michelle and Anna Raven-Hansen and
I were all captains together on the Storm and we really made quite a trio. I
mean, me losing my temper a lot of the time, and Anna slide-tackling when she
got angry, and Michelle just would always be the
keep-your-head-on-your-shoulders kind of person, she was always the beautiful
smile we all know so well, and the cool, calm keep-things-in-perspective that
she taught me time and time again as we were best friends. And actually, I have
many memories of her from soccer, which normally began with coming and picking
her up from her house at 7 in the morning for an away game and she would have
just woken up 5 minutes before, so Diane would throw out her bag on the step so
we knew she was coming. Michelle would come running with all her stuff falling
out of her hands and her hair in an entire mess-all the Storm players know what
I'm talking about. And my mom would call her a raggamuffin, which you know, she
was. Our soccer families really became like families to each other and I think
of Michelle as more than just a friend, she really was like family to me.
One more memory I want to share is from 7th grade,
when I went to Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens with the Gardner-Quinns.
We were about to ride on a roller coaster thing that went upside-down and
neither of us had ever gone on it before and we were both really nervous. Then
there was this 2nd grader sitting next to us bragging like, "I've
gone on this 10 times." And Michelle said, "Why don't we sing children's songs?
That'll make us calm." And I go, "That's silly. I mean, why would we sing
children's songs?" And she's like, "Come on, Let's just do it, Old McDonald Had
a Farm!" And we sang Old McDonald Had a Farm, and ended up laughing hysterically
and forgetting that we were even on the ride. So, I think this is just a good
example of what a cheerful, bright, level-headed, warm spirit Michelle was and
how much joy she always brought to us without us even realizing it because she
was such a constant, dependable force in our lives.
Thank you for that,
Michelle & Stephanie Stephanie with Michelle's Tree
Paul Remembers His Sister
Being 13 yrs. your elder, it would perhaps be natural for one to assume that you had the advantage of learning from me, your big brother. But upon reflection, it was you who often taught me as we grew up together.
I remember when you were three - your goofy, spiky monkey hair had grown out into nice long brown hair that was inevitably placed into pigtails sticking straight out. During this phase of your life, hardly an hour went by when you weren't throwing your arms around a family member and telling them "I Love You." "I Love You, Brother," you would say before heading off to the bathroom. Most of the time I would say "I Love You" back. But one time I remember telling you that we didn't have to say "I Love You" to each other all of the time. This caught you off guard and you thought about this idea for a moment, then you shook your head vigorously and said, "No, Brother, people should say it as much as possible." You were already demonstrating your stubborn side. And for the record, I was wrong - you were right.
Then all of a sudden you were a young teenager. I remember watching with pride as your soccer skills developed. During such moments you were again the teacher and I the pupil. Yes, winning was important to you, but more important was the process: the act of trying to win; the joy of a soft pass trapped and redistributed; the thrill of a sneaky elbow thrown. Skiing with you was a similarly beautiful experience. While thick-headed people around you would try to race to the bottom of the mountain as fast as possible, you would carve your way gracefully and patiently down the slope, enjoying the quiet swish of the forgiving snow, the healthy burn in the lungs from the fresh, cold air, and the simple yet profound rush that came from being outdoors and alive and strong. You would always finish each snowboard run with a huge, knowing smile, and in time my own runs wouldn't feel complete until I saw that smile and knew that we would be heading back up the hill together for another go.
And then all of a sudden you were an adult. A sharp, compassionate, beautiful, globetrotting adult. While listening to your stories of travel and study in Costa Rica, Brazil, and South Africa, you reminded me that it is one thing to have ideals and beliefs, and that it is entirely something else to actually act upon those ideals and beliefs. It was that desire to act which led you to Vermont, where you continued to equip yourself with knowledge and experience - preparing yourself for future journeys and ideologically driven struggles. I will never forget the emails we exchanged while you were there. You sounded so full of life, so active, a true student - studying the world and universe through physical, intellectual, and spiritual pursuits. You knew yourself, and you knew what you wanted to do. You were so complete. You are so complete.
The day after you were found and returned to us, I drove into the Vermont countryside to collect my thoughts. I parked on the side of the road and walked into a field that bordered a steep mountainside. The sun was shining a brilliant orange/purple, and the wind was blowing fiercely, kicking up autumn-colored leaves that swirled and danced together with milk weeds that were released from their pods and were now light and effortless and bouncing with the strong fall breeze. And I felt your presence, Michelle, as I had many times that week. I felt your liveliness and your energy and your eternal love for this earth. And remembering one of the very first lessons you ever taught me, I spoke to you: "I miss you. I love you. I'm so proud of you. Thank you." I'm pretty sure you heard me.
Paul & Michelle Paul and Meredith's Wedding
Paul was married September 6th of this year. In lieu of guest gifts, Paul and Meredith made a
contribution to MEF. Michelle was a presence at the wedding in many