It was 2005, and Dynamic Chiropractic was thriving, Toby had left for a new adventure in New Zealand and I was on my own trying to tend to everyone. Realising that it just wasn’t possible by myself, I picked up the phone and rang some colleagues to see if they knew of someone who might be interested in working with me. It seemed a bright young Canadian girl had been looking to practise in Ireland. A few calls later and I was speaking to Michelle.
We spoke for almost an hour. I must have come across as somewhat stern as when I opened to door to Michelle to meet her in person two days later she politely asked “Is your Dad in?”. We often laughed at this in the years that followed.
That same afternoon I asked Michelle to join me in Waterford and very soon afterwards she became part of our family at the clinic. It was quite a change from Canada and we had lots of fun teaching Michelle the lingo. She was always keen to learn, she tried Irish-dancing, she learnt a little Irish and very soon it was as if she had been with us forever.
Michelle and I planned our big move together. Dynamic Chiropractic was moving to a brand new premises. Exciting times and we enjoyed planning everything. This was going to be our practice home for always.
In 2007 we began practicing together in the new clinic at Manor Village. It was wonderful to have everything as we wanted. Then the years began to slip by almost unnoticed. A wonderful wedding for Michelle and Dave, beautiful baby Tia, every single time I saw Michelle, which could be umpteen times a day, a warm, glowing and kind smile and a hug when it was needed.
Cards exchanged at landmark times such a birthdays and Christmas would often mention how happy we both were working together and how we would continue to do so always.
2013 brought the unbelievable news of Michelle’s illness. Among her first instincts were her patient’s. She phoned me and actually apologised for letting me down. This says so much about Michelle, she just wanted to help, she wanted to make people better, she wanted to be kind, and even at this terrible time she didn’t want to let anyone down. We all prayed and hoped for a miracle, but it never came.
Or maybe it did, maybe the miracle was that so many of us were lucky enough to have known Michelle, to have met Michelle or to have had Michelle treat us.
So many of our patients have been so kind with their words, still wanting to thank Michelle, to reach out to her and to let her know how special she was. We placed a book in our clinic and people have quietly made their tribute to her:
“Dearest Michelle, you were a wonderful light in this world…”
“..we came for treatment, you became our friend. I will never forget you, neither will the girls you are their role model..”
“A beautiful lady in every sense whose light lit up our lives.”
“Michelle was a wonderful person, be glad you all knew her and remember the good times you all had here..”
“I’ve been with you for probably 5 years or so now and every time I was with you, you treated me the exact same, you wanted to repair my body so you wouldn’t have to see me again! It’s been an absolute pleasure to know you..”
“An Angel taken too soon. Thank you for putting me at ease and explaining what all those funny noises were coming from my back. You will always be in my heart and mind.”
“..I will never forget your kindness you were a beautiful person.”
“Thanks for all your help over the last 4 years, if it wasn’t for you I don’t know where we would be now.”
“Michelle’s memory will live on. A beautiful lady with a wonderful smile and healing hands.”
“I will always remember Michelle for her kindness, calmness and beautiful persona. A very special woman with a special gift.”
“Michelle, I will always miss your amazing smile.”
“Michelle is in my thoughts every single day, as she has helped me so much with my ailments, I thank her, I miss her smile..”
“..when she spoke about her husband and daughter a light lit up her face with the love she had for you both.”
“Michelle will always be with you all, smiling and inspiring as always. Missed, but loved forever in your hearts.”
“Michelle was a shining example of how to be. Always smiling, helpful, funny, caring and brilliant at her work. An outstanding person with far too many qualities to last here on earth..”
“It was a pleasure to have known her. We will never forget her.”
“..she always spoke so lovingly of her daughter and family.”
“..your wonderful smile and a wonderful person, may you be forever watching over your family now..”
“Every time I came she would ask about my family. About my singing, asking advice on what music to buy her mother..”
“..she never left me give up on getting better. One of the kindest most caring people I will ever meet..”
“Michelle was the answer to our prayers. Lively and bubbly and full of positive energy, you couldn’t help but feel better even before she started.”
“..I hope I have taken some of your qualities and that I can use them in my life. You were one in a million..”
“Michelle was my sunshine on a rainy day. And there are lots of rainy days in Ireland.”
“..she gave me back a quality of life. I will pray for her family and you..”
“Anyone I speak to I refer to her as a miracle worker and I’m sure she worked miracles on many people during her time here.. I was so happy we got our life back on track that I asked my husband to give her a big hug and kiss from me on his next visit..”
“Michelle touched my heart..”
“I don’t really know how to start this but I’ll just say that Michelle was ‘the best thing to happen to my hip’. I wish someone could have helped her the way she helped me.”
“You were gentleness, kindness and goodness personified.. Thank you for the years of help and positivity in my life. I am so, so grateful to have met you. You were a wonderful person, thank you.”
“She was a gentle, kind, caring angel who helped me enormously after a serious accident..”
“..without her help I would never have been able to continue running..”
“May your beautiful light shine brightly in the hearts of all those who knew you.”
The book continues to fill. An outpouring of love and gratitude on every page.
This is where I should say my own words to you Michelle. To thank you for trusting me when you made the big step to Waterford all those years ago. To thank you for the warmth, light and kindness you brought to me and to my life, to thank you for being my colleague, my friend. As tears stream down my face I realise I can never put words on these things. I’m sorry Michelle, you would know what to say, maybe you already know what I’m trying to say. Thank you Michelle, our dear Michelle, for everything.