Cruel January


Mom, Dianne, Dad and Michelle in East Texas, 1946

Life has been a difficult lately. My only and younger sister Michelle suffered a massive stoke over the weekend and died last night, never regaining consciousness. I notified as many people as I could via Facebook where I have friends and relatives, but thought I would catch up with my blog friends today.

I’m still housebound from a cold from hell. I’m not sleeping well as I cough and snort all night keeping David, the dogs and me awake. But enough about me.


My sister and I were born in Texas during WWII. As children we traveled many places as our parents moved from place to place, finally settling us for a while in North Carolina.

Michelle and I were each other’s best friend for many years.  Although I ran off and married as a teenager, my sister finished high school and High Point College where she earned a degree in art. Later she attended the University of Tennessee and obtained another degree. After she graduated, she traveled to England where she lived for a year or so, and worked and traveled.

Aunt Marge on furlo from the Army, me Dad and Michelle, Brunswick GA, 1946

Aunt Marge on Furlo from the Army with Dianne, Dad and Michelle. Brunswick Georgia, 1946.


Michelle and David standing before our grandparents home in Fondulac ,Wisconsin. 1997


David with Michelle and Aunt Marge, Sheboygan, WI. 1999

At some point Michelle earned a degree in library science because before she retired from her career as a teacher, my sister worked as a librarian in a high school in Baton Rouge LA.

The remarkable thing about my sister is that she suffered with Epilepsy her entire life.  As a child she had many epileptic seizures in church and elsewhere. As an adult, at times, she found it difficult to obtain work, because people often discriminate against the afflicted. The doctors finally found a drug to address her epileptic seizures when she was in high school.

A decade or so ago she was diagnosed with a blood cancer.  She almost died, but massive does of chemo put her in remission.  However, the chemo left her frail with neuropathy in her limbs. She eventually wore braces on her legs so she could walk.

Because her drug to control epilepsy was sometimes hard to obtain, she let it lapse occasionally, and had one last epileptic seizure a few years ago when coworkers found her passed out in her car. She lost her last job because she could no longer drive.

Through all this, my sister remained devoted to her faith continuing to sing in her church choir. Never regaining consciousness from the stroke this weekend, she died Sunday evening at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Hospital in Baton Rouge. If anyone makes it to the heavenly choir, I am sure she did.

38 thoughts on “Cruel January

  1. Oh Dianne. I am so sorry for the loss of your sister Michelle. Thank you for sharing her challenges in life and how she fought them. That her medication was too expensive breaks my heart as that happened to a friend I used to drive to work who had epilepsy. This year is heartbreaking for many and for some of the folks I love here. Sending hugs to you … so sorry.. Michelle

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Dianne I am so sorry. You have written a beautiful tribute to your brave sister who overcame so much and it seems led a happy and productive life in spite of those difficulties.

    I empathize with the special sadness of losing a younger sibling — my younger brother passed away from cancer at 49 … he was the only one I grew up with — there are two younger sisters and I am close to one of them, but they were born when I was 11 and 12 (and like you I left home at a young age, as I think we’ve talked about before, so we didn’t really share growing up experiences,)… I know how much you will continue to miss Michelle but I also know the memories will stay with you.

    Take special care of yourself and David — that’s important right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry to hear about your sister. I can empathize with the loss of your only sibling. She sounds like a remarkable person coping with some of life’s challenges as also know first hand attitudes and medical limitations toward seizure prone persons in those years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michelle lived through difficult times with this affliction. People were ignorant and often persecuted her. She in turn dedicated her life to teaching disadvantaged children in East Baton Rouge and working with her church. I will miss her terribly.


  4. My sincere condolences, Dianne, for the loss of your dear sister. You have wonderful memories of Michelle and I hope those memories comfort you as you deal with this sudden loss.

    Liked by 1 person

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