Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Michele De LaFreniere - You Inspire Me

My friend Dan shot me an email yesterday and told me. I didn't even know how to respond to his words, "Jason I don't know if you've heard. Michele passed away over the weekend." I am still shocked by the words. We've all known that Michele was fighting cancer but I really never contemplated the idea that we could lose her to it. If you've ever met Michele then you know that she is a figher. In her words, "a warrior." And if you've ever had the opportunity to watch her in action then you know that she means what she says.

I met Michele when we both ended up attending the City of Tempe Diversity Dialogues. The Diversity Dialogues is an opportunity to sit in a circle with people of different races, religions, ages, sexual orientations, and nationalities. Each week for six weeks you meet once with these people and discuss various topics. At the end of the process you usually come to the realization that no matter how diverse the background we all have more in common than we think.

Michele definetely stood out. She lived her life very openly and did not mind sharing about her youth, her marriage, her transitioning from male to female, and about her above average interest in bikes. She never shyed away from difficult questions and was always honest. I fell in love with the wild woman instantly and knew that in her I would have a friend and ally.

When I found out she had cancer I just knew this would be another in a long line of things she has overcome. Michele doesn't succumb to anything. Not society. Not family. Not gender. Not even a bar that wouldn't let her use the bathroom in peace. She faced every obstacle head on and was always victorious. Cancer (I thought) would never take her.

Then the email came and I'll say it again, I'm still in shock. Right now I can only be thankful for the time that this giant walked among us. I will always miss you Michele.

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