Any loss is significant, yet the unexpected tragedy of suicide shocks the system. It was that way for us. The gut-wrenching reality that our beloved daughter made a decision to end her life and that we couldn’t prevent her action made us feel powerless and heartbroken. Michelle was 47 years old when she died, but she was still our child.
Our daughter reminded us by her death why she mattered to so many people in her life. She had an infectious and radiant smile. Many people throughout her life commented on the fact that she was a truly genuine and authentic person. Throughout her formative years she loved to sing. I remember hearing her belt out tunes in the shower. Little would we know she would go on to study music, eventually graduating from North Texas University with a degree in voice performance. Her coloratura voice reflected a woman who expressed herself in song. Who would have imagined singing in the shower would lead to Italian opera?
Michelle loved animals, especially dogs. She rescued every one of her pets and when Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, she spent hundreds of hours at NRG Stadium reuniting people with their lost dogs. I believe it was particularly hurtful to her that so many owners chose not to take their pets back, perhaps because they could not, or because they were a burden. Michelle, in her mind, may have felt as lost as those animals.