On Sunday afternoon Michelle threw her last party. A small group of family and close friends gathered in our back yard, and over a couple of hours everyone had a chance to share with her their favorite memories and tell her how much she had touched her lives. Michelle stood and called everyone together, and thanked us for our love and support. And of course, she exhorted us to continue to do everything in our power to push forward the science of cannabis medicine!
I helped her back into the house, where, under the compassionate guidance of the hospice nurses, she took the End of Life Act medication. We then pushed her bed back out onto the deck -- because, before she was ever a cancer warrior and a medical cannabis advocate, Michelle was a lover of Nature, and she wanted to spend her last moments outside.
Everyone was gathered on the grass. Michelle called out to them, "Come closer, come closer!" That, too, is part of her legacy: always bringing people together and building community.
The EOLA medication works by first sedating the person, so they are unconscious and free from pain, and then gently stopping their heart. For some, the body and spirit struggle to hold onto life, and the process can take a long time. Not Michelle. We had each told her that we would be ok, and that she was free to go. And Michelle herself was eager to not only end her physical suffering, but to embark on yet another grand adventure!
Michelle fell asleep in just a minute or two, and over the next 5 minutes I held her hand as her pulse gradually weakened and came to a stop. Her mother and I were right there with her, as was Satie, the person who first brought Michelle and me together. And the universe was awash in love from everyone gathered together.
I am heartbroken. I know that you are heartbroken. But I am so happy that her suffering is over.
Whatever your beliefs about what comes next, know that Michelle is in your heart. And when you're not sure how to move forward, or how you can help carry on her legacy, just ask her. She will tell you, in no uncertain terms.
Fare well, Michelle. I love you, right now and forever.