Wind Beneath My Wings
by Bette Midler
||In Loving Memory of |
My Baby Sister
of Bay St. Louis, MS
Born: in Waco, Texas
October 8, 1950 8:35am
Raised: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Died: April 11, 2003 4:10pm
Michelle, in the front, then me and then our father
Michelle is the only blonde in the family.
In this photo she is 3 yrs old & I am 7 yrs old.
I don't know where we are, but we were flying kites.
As her older sister I was her protector.
And for 52 years she was
the "Wind Beneath My Wings".
|On October 8, 1950 my mother, dad and I welcomed this new precious baby to our family. She was born the day after my birthday. So at 4 yrs old, I naturally thought she was my one day belated birthday present.....a doll that actually moved by herself. How cool that was!!!! None of my friends had a doll that was so real. Wow how lucky I was. Of course reality set in when I found out she cried what seemed like all the time; especially in the middle of the night. And she spit up, got nasty smelling diapers, and all the other things babies go through.
When mom was pregnant with Michelle she told me the truth about where babies come from (she was in the medical field and thankfully wouldn't try to tell me the stork brought Michelle). After about 6 months I kind of got tired of all the not so nice side of a baby and mom said I asked her to take Michelle back to the hospital and get a refund. As an adult when she told me this story I was stunned that at 4 and a half I knew what a refund was. Of course that didn't happen and I came to terms of accepting my new living doll as my sister; messy diapers and all. Though when she started walking and talking I felt so thrilled because I taught her these things; along with my parents. Our love for each other just grew and grew. As most siblings we had our arguments, but nothing or no one came between us.
Then on March 19, 2001, my sensitive caring baby sister, Michelle, was diagnosed with lung cancer and told she had maybe 6 months to live. There was a tumor on the top outside of her right lung. The doctors decided on radiation and then to have surgery to remove the remainder of the tumor. Unfortunately, after the radiation the tumor had shrunk enough that the doctors could tell that it had attached itself to two of the three nerves coming from the spine. So they refused to operate for fear of hitting one of the two nerves and causing complete paralysis. I asked the specialist in New Orleans if Michelle was going to be paralyzed anyway and he said 'maybe'. It seems to me that if paralyzes was inevitable it might have at least been better without cancer. Some doctors are not giving the best care to their patients because of their fear of law suits, which would cause their malpractice insurance rates to go up . My entire family would have preferred to have my sister paralyzed and alive then gone. But we also know that is not what Michelle would have wanted.
The cancer spread creating tumors in Michelle's abdomen, right hip and lower back. The damage to the nerves caused not only paralysis, but extreme excruciating pain for my sister (they had her on 8cc of morphine 3 times a day, but it was not helping much...only addicting her to a drug). The damage to the nerves in her spine led to damage in the nerves of her neck causing her head to tilt to the right almost to her shoulder. She could not lift her head because of this. On February 17, 2003, she was hospitalized as she became completely paralyzed except her left arm and hand (she was of course right handed). She was transferred to a Dunbar Village Hospice in Bay St. Louis on February 25th. We almost lost her in the middle of March when her blood pressure dropped so low that she became comatose. A week later she came back and surprised all of us (happily). You can imagine when I made my twice daily call and asked them to put the phone to her ear and I said, "Michelle, this is Sandy, your sister. I love you" and she clearly said "I know who it is! And I love you, too.". I did not know whether to laugh or cry in joy (I did both). I know there is no one on Earth whose voice I would have rather heard. She stayed lucid until the morning of April 11, 2003 around 5am, CDT. Later that day at 4:10 pm CDT the angels took my sister home to God. This was probably the worst day of my life, but the best for her. No more pain. No more depending on others. No more medications that made her loopy. No more incapacitation. No more feeling fear. And she is now home with God and in His arms, and with both my dads, aunts, uncles, my husband, our grandparents and all those who went before her, but I miss her so very very much and always will. She will always be my baby sister. Michelle was 4 yrs and 1 day younger than I - a wonderful gift from God for my 4th birthday (though a day late *S*).
The only good part was that we defied the doctors. Remember I said they told her in March of 2001 she had 6 months to live? She lived more than 2 years after that. She asked for my help so I put her on herbs, Essaic Herbal Tea that I brewed for her while I was in MS, and I did healings on her. While I spent time with her in MS we talked and laughed about the things we did when we were younger; I gave her daily massages, hypnotized her (for pain management and to sleep better), and made sure she ate more healthy (she loved junk food and sodas). We were actually able to heal the tumor in her abdomen and right hip. Though the beginning of February, 2003 she said she was ready to go so with great sadness I stopped the healings and she left 2 months later (that broke my heart, but my sister's wishes needed to come first; no matter my selfish desires for her to stay).
While talking to Michelle, during one of her lucid moments (one week before she died), she said she did not want to die until after my daughter was married on April 7th of this year. Her exact words were, "Sandy, I can't die until after Chana gets married. I would screw up everything". As I said she was most caring. I tried to be cheerful and told her that if she died at least she would be at the wedding, in winged form. Michelle drew on every strength she had to stay on the planet until after Chana was married. Then 4 days after the wedding, April 11, 2003, Michelle went home. (an oddity about the day she died - my mom's birthday is April 7th and my dad's birthday was April 15th. Michelle died on the 11th right between their birthdays. Another oddity; Michelle was the most inquisitive person always asking for information. Thus I thought it rather appropriate she died on 411).
My beautiful sister, Michelle, who cared so much about people and wanted life to be better for everyone, donated her body to science at the University of Mississippi. Her spirit lives on in the lives of everyone she touched and her soul lives on to come back to Earth in a new body.
We miss you in the body you had, Michelle. : (
Michelle is survived by:
our mother, Mrs. M. Patricia Millikan, of Howey, Florida
On December 5, 2008 my mother passed while in her sleep.
Now, she is with her baby girl again and both my father and step-dad;
Michelle's daughter, Theresa Ann (Tina) Peters, of Lady Lake, Florida;
me, her older sister, Rev. Cassandra Anaya, of San Diego, CA;
her niece, Chana Michelle Rathbun, of Colorado Springs, CO; and
as of 4/7/03 her nephew-in-law, William Rathbun.
Others that will truly miss her are her best friends from elementary school:
Winnie (Varco) Burns, of Ft. Pierce, Florida
and Donna (Sheehan) Dayton, of Lebanon, New Hampshire.
Update: Donna is now with Michelle. She died August 27, 2004 from bone cancer.
I know they are having a great time together.
And of course her friends, co-workers, and neighbors in Bay St. Louis, who loved her dearly.
Thank you Michelle for being the most wonderful sister a girl could have.
I love you.
And if you feel like doing any haunting; you know where I live.
I love you and will miss you with all my heart so very much.
"Chance made us sisters; hearts made us friends." : (
Of all the pages I have done on my site this was one of the two the most difficult. It is very hard to type and cry at the same time.
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