top of page
Search

Remembering Michelle

It has been 6 weeks since Michelle said farewell to this world. I am still grieving terribly, even though she is in my heart and giving me strength. We were together nearly every day for the past 15 years, and I miss her so.


I know that may of you do as well, even if your moment-to-moment awareness of Michelle's absence from this plane is not as acute as mine.


Because of the challenges of the pandemic and the fact that Michelle's friends are scattered across the globe, I have not held a memorial service. I hope to do so next year when the world opens up (we can hope!). I've spoken to some of you individually, but Michelle's community is so vast that I haven't been able to reach you all.


So I'd like to use this post as a place where we can share our stories about Michelle with one another, as we would do if we were all gathered together.


How did you meet Michelle? What is one of your favorite memories of your time with her? Which of her qualities do you particularly cherish? How did Michelle touch your life?


Please share your story or stories with all of us in the comments below. If you have a picture, you can add that too. And when read a story that speaks to you, I hope that you will feel free to write a reply, engaging in a conversation and learning about the many ways that Michelle changed our worlds.


Scroll down to see my story. But first...


Some logistics

While the site will allow you to write comments anonymously, the experience will be enhanced, both for us (because we will know who you are) and for you (because you will have more editing options, including the ability to upload pictures) if you sign in.


Sign in using the "Log in / Sign up" button at the top of the blog page. You can use a Google or Facebook account to sign up, or you can set your own email and password.


This is completely separate from the process of subscribing to the blog!!! If you received an email notifying you of this post, then you are subscribed to the blog, but you might or might have registered to comment.

If you got here some other way, and you want to be notified of future blog posts, go to https://www.schedule1movie.com and scroll down to where it says "Click to subscribe to my blog". Fill out your information and click where is says "click". If you think you subscribed before, it may well be that the system decided you are "inactive" and stopped sending you messages (I have no control over this); the only solution, as far as I can tell, is to sign up again.


You will not get notified when someone writes a comment (I don't know if you get notified when someone else replies to your comment). So come back regularly to see what others have written!


The story of how we met

It was the spring of 2005, and California was having a wildflower superbloom. I had gone to Death Valley (which was having one of its biggest flowering years of the century) over spring break, and when I got home to Santa Barbara I discovered that my friend Satie had been there too. We both wanted more, so we made plans for an overnight trip to Carrizzo Plains the following weekend. A day later she called and asked if she could invite a friend, and I said yes.


So off the three of us went on a wildflower safari. It was actually less spectacular than Death Valley, but we still had a good time. I was driving, and Satie kept insisting that Michelle sit in the front seat. But in all the pictures of the three of us, Satie was in the middle, as Michelle and I each wanted to be next to our dear friend! We enjoyed each other's company, but there was absolutely no chemistry.


A year passed. Michelle had been planning to go to Peace Corps, but that fell through. Instead, she spent three months in Mexico working with a small nonprofit that does cycad conservation, and then came home and remodeled her condo.


In March 2006 she threw an open house/housewarming party (Michelle loved to host parties!). As she was putting together the invitations, she scrolled through her email contacts, and thought, "Oh, Bruce! He was nice, I'll invite him." When I got the Evite, I thought, "Oh, Michelle! She was nice, I'll stop by for 15 minutes or so."

As we tell the story together, we then say, "Bruce came for 15 minutes, and never left!"


The details are interesting, though. I arrived at the very beginning of the party, and the only guests there were Jane and Lara, who had helped Michelle with setup. The four of us had some intimate time together, which I enjoyed. Then the rest of the guests started arriving. The only one I knew was Satie, and at that time I didn't really enjoy interacting with strangers, especially in large parties. And yet, every single person I talked to I found to be interesting and enjoyable, and so I never had the urge to leave until the party came to an end.


This was a harbinger of things to come: I have found that I genuinely like every single one of Michelle's friends. This extraordinary fact is not just down to our compatibility; I think that Michelle inspires people to bring out the best in themselves, and in particular to be genuinely present and heartfelt. This is one of her superpowers.


When I gushed over the experience to my friend Allison a few days later, she stepped back and observed, "You know, it's really Michelle who you're excited about." She helped me gain the courage to ask Michelle out on a date (I had always been shy and terrified about that process), and she coached me through the first few dates, to help me show clearly that they were dates and not just friends getting together. Our first date (which was almost a month out, Michelle's social calendar was so full) was to go to a concert of Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, the great sitar players.


Michelle says that she knew I was the one by the third date.


About a year later, long after we had moved in together, it suddenly occurred to us, "I wonder if that camping trip was a deliberate setup by Satie?" We called her, and she laughed, saying, "Of course it was! You were my first attempt at matchmaking, and I was a little bit sad when nothing seemed to happen. But I'm so delighted that you reconnected and that my first instincts about you were correct!"


Thank you, Satie, for bringing us together. And Allison, thank you for helping me show my best self to Michelle.


Michelle thanks both of you too.



Recent Posts

See All

Good news from the DEA!

Yesterday, the US Drug Enforcement Agency announced that it plans to move cannabis from Schedule 1 (the most restrictive rules on drugs) to Schedule 3. This move means that the agency (finally!) recog

20 Comments


tiffany.knight
Jan 29, 2023

Bruce, I remember vividly my visits with you before you met Michelle and then months (or a year) later after you and Michelle were together. Before Michelle, you were content with your life, but it was also clear you were ready to meet the right person and have a partner—someone that you could care for and would also care for you, someone to go on adventures with. You were really comfortable being alone, and yet also really lonely. It is hard to describe. I was worried about you. I was worried that you were not as happy as you could be. I was also worried that you were vulnerable and could meet someone that takes advantage. I was therefore suspici…


Like

Rosa McCullagh
Rosa McCullagh
Nov 30, 2021

It has taken me longer that I imagined to be ready to sit down and write about the first time I met Michelle. We were both in Oxford 2015 - 2016, the year of Michelle's diagnosis, and met through the Oxford Newcomer's Club. Michelle and I connected when we visited the

Museum of Oxfordshire in Woodstock on a group outing to Blenheim.



We discovered that we both liked to walk and on January 15th, 2016 we walked the first stage of the Oxford Green Belt Way (OGBW). We met at the Vault and Garden at 9:30 am to catch the U1 bus to Thornhill. We had lovely weather for our 26,000 step walk, shared some of our personal stories wi…




Like
Bruce Kendall
Bruce Kendall
Dec 02, 2021
Replying to

I just love that elfin grin! ❤️

Like

k9krma
Nov 11, 2021

I can't remember exactly when or how Michelle and I met, but we ended up on the Board of Directors of Dog PAC together, working on legal off leash recreational areas. Michelle was my inspiration for going to New Zealand -- she had honeymooned there with her first husband (who had a connection to the country) so Michelle encouraged me to make my first visit, which was followed by a three-week "where would I live if I moved to NZ?" trip -- WITH MICHELLE! That trip gave me the gift of hiking, as Michelle looked for good trails (and good natural hot springs for soaking too!) and we hiked (and peed) our way around the country.

Michelle also connected me…

Like
Schedule 1 Movie
Schedule 1 Movie
Nov 16, 2021
Replying to

Lee, I've been looking for days for Dog PAC pictures -- I remember that, years ago, Michelle showed me pictures of Emma with a sign strapped to her back (I think at De la Guerra Plaza?). But I haven't found them anywhere. So this one will have to do!



Like

jaukema
Nov 10, 2021

I always, always think of Michelle this time of year. Because. . . it is persimmon season!

When I came to Santa Barbara, I had had a persimmon or two in my life and knew that I loved them. When Michelle learned this, she started telling me about all the wonderful things you could do with persimmons - I had never heard of cooking with persimmons - and we eagerly awaited persimmon season. Of course it goes without saying that she introduced me first hand to her delicious persimmon bread and cookies. She always remembered my fondness for persimmons and I always think of her when I see or eat one. This memory inevitably takes me to Michelle as a…

Like

Schedule 1 Movie
Schedule 1 Movie
Nov 09, 2021

(This post is from Evelyn)


As a parent I can truthfully say that Michelle, as my first child, taught me unconditional love. It’s a phenomenon that happens daily in maternity wards all over the world. The love a parent feels for a newborn is unwavering and strong.


As Michelle grew up I had a front row seat to her questioning mind and amazing intellect. She struggled with dyslexia and managed to graduate from Mt. Holyoke despite ongoing problems with the written word. Her verbal skills served her well during those years


I miss her terribly and reflect on her determination to live each day to the fullest. We always said “you have to make your own fun” and she too…


Like
Maria C
Nov 10, 2021
Replying to

Evelyn,

I am so sorry for your loss. It goes without saying that a mother grieves deeply at the loss of a child. We don't expect it to happen that way, and that's especially true for Michelle, whose life-force was so strong. I can say it isn't too peachy the other way around either, no matter how much we don't want our loved ones to suffer.


How lucky we are to have such wonderful memories. It doesn't lessen our grieving, but that in itself is a testament to the strength of the relationship. Thank you for raising Michelle so well and being there for her when she needed you most.

Like
bottom of page