I have always had a hard time with change, was against this move toward progress and let everyone know it. I took off to the far end of the nature path and stayed there until this little cutie stood no more. That was the day that Wayne stepped on a nail. That was the day when we were all blissfully ignorant of the cancer that was quietly growing in my sister Michele's belly.
Michele was the one who had thought up this great idea of converting the little house into a real house where she could stay when she came to visit from Chelsea. After all, it was just sitting there, slowly being swallowed up with vines and weeds.
Michele's husband, Lee, a builder, was eager to complete this task for Michele. My parents were agreeable, thinking it would be a nice place for their children to stay when they needed a getaway.
A month later, June 3, to be exact. My mothers birthday, Michele called me while I was babysitting Aimés pups up in Frankfort. She told me she had had a stomachache for the past two weeks. She wondered what I thought since I was the so called family nurse.
From then on the six month nightmare unfolded, painfully, heartbreaking; evil cancer had invaded my sister. FIrst a visit to Boston, Harvard Medical School. The cancer was two fold, a carcinoma and a rare sarcoma, living in Michele's uterus, soon to spread to her lungs, liver and brain.
Lee began construction on the house and worked at it as often as he could. Michele was living between Chelsea, my parent's and her daughter Leah's house here in Grand Rapids. Her two dogs, Little Sister and José in tow.
There were good days when the chemo wasn't keeping Michele down. I clearly remember her standing in the framed in little house deciding where to put counters, windows, shelving. She took lots of notes. I watched her closely. I wanted to remember, but never for a moment entertained the idea that she would not be here soon. That's the way it is with cancer. You don't believe it. You can't.
A long story short, Michele passed from this life on December 18, 2005 in Leah's home. The little house standing unfinished in the darkness.
The next spring Lee finished the job and shortly after that, Leah moved in for awhile. Healing slowly began. Life moved on. That is how "Michele's Cabin" came to be.
|Mirror over the sink, blasted in memory of our girl.|