For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. I will also be tagging several breast cancer survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.
Today my #31daysoflove blog post is going to be about Michelle Belt. There are so many things that people don’t know about Michelle – and I could fill a book about her – and not come close to giving you a glimpse into the true heart and soul of this woman.
She loves her children fiercely and with every part of her being. I have never seen a Mom dedicated to loving and nurturing her children as I see with Michelle. Those girls came first with her…and that was that! I think they are very lucky to have such a loving Mom!
When I met Michelle two years ago she had just been diagnosed with tnbc cancer. We had talked about so many things, we had plans to help many women, and we wanted to DO something. As we would come up with ideas, Michelle would be diagnosed with another problem in her treatment path. She constantly got knocked in the side of the head with bad news and harder and harder parts to this disease, and yet she continued to work part-time and raise the girls and she continued going 100 mph. She never let up – ever….I admired that so much about her. She didn’t like to accept help and she kept saying everyone was getting tired of her cancer. But, we weren’t….we all watched her handle these test results, time after time, with grace and faith. She continued to lean on her faith in God and she shows those of us around her what true faith looks like.
On one of my visits a few weeks ago to see Michelle held moments I will remember forever. She was lying in her hospital bed in the downstairs bedroom and I was leaning my arms across the bed rail. I was watching her as she was facing forward, looking out the window, and dozing. I sat there in total disbelief that one of these days, this precious friend of mine, who was laying RIGHT THERE, would be gone. No more daily calls, no more texts, no more plans, no more laughing at my silly breast cancer antics, no more sharing test results and no more shared sadness of what could be coming someday far in the future, for any of us. So as I laid my chin on my arms across the bed rail I began to cry quietly. Michelle slowly turned to me and got a small smile on her face and said “don’t be sad”….I just quietly told her that I missed talking to her every day already and I didn’t like not seeing her often and it was hard knowing I couldn’t call or text anytime. She cried quietly and told me that she missed me too. I put my hand on her arm and said “you know that you are one of my favorite people in the whole world right?”….she smiled her half crooked smile that she has and she simply said “I know”….then we just looked into each other’s eyes and began to laugh and then cry again.
We have always shared such a strong bond – a cancer bond. A triple negative cancer bond. A Mom bond. A deep friendship bond. I know she has many friends that she has known and loved for years, and I know that she has friends over at her house taking care of her in shifts as her disease progresses, and I am not one of those friends. I am a different type of friend, but she is extremely special to me too. I wish I had a friendship with her outside of cancer and longer than the past two years and a month…but that wasn’t my story with Michelle. Our story was to be based around our shared bond and our shared dreams and fears. You can really get to know someone when everyone is forced to face their own mortality. Really really get to know them.
We had our Making Strides walk today and we had a large poster of Michelle made. She wanted to raise money for our team again this year and let me tell you – she did! She has raised over $4,000 and she is the second highest fundraiser in the city right now. I know she is very very proud of this and I know I am. Before we honored our survivors today at the walk, we dedicated our walk, and this day, to Michelle. I know without a doubt she was with us in spirit – and I was so honored two of her daughters were there today with a huge pile of their friends….walking in support of their Mom. This is how she would have wanted them to spend their morning and they did. It was a very very special morning for me and for all that know and love Michelle. Special and emotional….just like it should be.
I love this girl and when it comes time for her to take her first breath of heaven, I will be devastated for the loss of my personal friendship with her, but ever so grateful for the time I had with her, the friendship we shared, and the things she taught me. I will also know that she will be whole, happy, and cancer free when the time comes. Until that day, I still pray for comfort, peace and special moments with her girls.
I love you Michelle…you have changed my life and touched the lives of many. Today I wore all kinds of pink for you my friend – in fact the city was saturated in pink – and I know in my heart that it was for you …I will continue to wear our matching pink bracelets forever. Love you.