Today’s remembrance of Michelle is written by Dani Rosenthal. Michelle and Dani cheered together when they were very little, and more recently they attended CCD together at St. Catherine. It was in the undercroft after Michelle’s Funeral Mass that Dani shared this story with me. And I was so glad she did. I hope my readers enjoy her writing as much as I do. Thanks, Dani.
P.S. Dani, I loved it so much, I had the phrase engraved on a bracelet.
When I think about Michelle, I think about the happiness she spread to everyone. Although I was never extremely close to her, I saw her every Sunday. I saw the beautiful girl that everyone else saw. I never, not once, saw her in a bad mood. I miss seeing that beautiful smiling face in the halls. I miss hearing her voice when she was singing. Every single time she spoke, danced, or sung, everyone was watching and listening to her. I know I was. I was jealous of how happy she was and her relationship with God. I will never forget the feeling I felt on August 1, 2017. Never. I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest.
The very first thing I thought about when I heard the horrible news was our Confirmation class (CCD), the memories made every Sunday morning, and most importantly, Confirmation. Michelle always seemed so happy to be at CCD. Week after week, she showed up with a smile on her face. I didn’t understand it. She was the person in our class that answered all the questions. In fact, Mr. Cavanagh would often make comments like, “Anyone other than Michelle?” Little comments like these show how she cared about everything she did. She was passionate. The night of our Confirmation, the Bishop asked us a question, “What is your biggest fear?” In my head, I remember thinking, “spiders, death, and deep water,” as most 14-year-olds would. Not Michelle. Michelle thought out of the box. Michelle shot her arm up right away and said, “What’s left unsaid.” I remember sitting in my pew not understanding what she meant. On August 1, 2017, I understood. She should have had so many more words to speak, songs to sing, and so many more dances to dance. Michelle left too soon, and she had so much more to say and do. I sat in my bed that night wondering and crying. Why her? Why would God take her away from her family and friends? Why?
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about this tragedy. However, after Michelle’s funeral, I decided I could be as close to God as she was. I knew that I had a lot of work to do, and I still do. Michelle should be an inspiration for all of us. Weeks passing her death, I kept asking myself and others, “What good can come out of this? How is this part of God’s plan?” I still have a lot of trouble answering these questions however, as I saw our community come together for Michelle, I realized something. She was meant for something bigger and better. Thinking back on it, I remember thinking from the moment I met her that she was so pure and happy. As I write this, I think about how she is dancing and singing with Jesus and that puts a smile on my face.