We said “goodbye” … quietly

Mikel Ann and Lyle

          Today, we said “goodbye” … quietly.  We attended a memorial service (with an overflowing crowd of family and friends).  The service was for Mikel Ann Flannery, a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, volunteer, musician, golfer, Realtor and most of all one incredible woman.  Those of you that were fortunate enough to know her understand that the true quality of greatness was exhibited in her consistent ability to make everyone else comfortable in her presence. Those of you that never had the chance, truly missed a beautiful experience.

         She did not tolerate accolades well.  Her style was calm and comfortable. Regardless of the situation, Mikel Ann was at peace.  In the program handed out at the service it was shared that she was a fitness enthusiast and was involved with activities as long as her health permitted. It mentioned personal things. She had a full life.  She touched mine briefly.

         Back when I was appointed manager at the Long and Foster office, Mikel Ann was the first one through the door to congratulate me and offer her support.  I felt really good as she left the room. It was only later that I realized that I had also volunteered to pick up books for the book drive she organized for the local hospital.  She had a way of gently getting help with her projects.  When it came time to go collecting the books, she had a schedule set up and a system in place.  Three days a week you followed the route and Mikel Ann was at the drop off waiting to help unload boxes upon boxes of books. She was the backbone and made everyone feel that the event would not be possible without their help. She made us feel good.

         I first met Lourdes in that office.  Mikel Ann genuinely was happy for both of us.  She delighted in seeing joy in others. Her health was not good and she was going through treatment. No one really knew. Mikel Ann did not complain.  She went about her business as if everything was o.k. .  In her gentle laugh and feigned weakness she shared more strength than I ever experienced.  When times got tough, Mikel Ann was the smile. That smile brightened up the gloom that occasionally hung over the office.  It was a real estate office and the market had crashed and everyone was on edge.  Mikel Ann smiled and played her new found love … the ukelele.  She was determined to live life to the fullest. She did.  In doing so, she was a living example of love among us. She personified the Greek term “Agape”.

          In the last several weeks before she died, Mikel Ann was at home, confined to her bed.  Not many people knew that the end was near.  Her family was by her side.  On August 1,2011 Mikel Ann passed away.

         Today, we said “goodbye” … quietly.  As we were leaving the service, we stopped to offer our condolences to her daughter Kerryanne .  She thanked us for coming and said “Mom was so happy for you two. She wanted to come to your wedding.  She told me that you were meant for each other.”  Lourdes was stunned. “How did she keep up?”  “Mom had me keep track of all of you on facebook.  I would log in and read her the updates.”

        Tears filled my eyes. Wasn’t that just like Mikel Ann.  She spent her last days keeping track of what was going on with her friends.  So, we did say goodbye to her … but she will remain in our hearts.  After all, that is were she preferred to stay. Our last memory will be that we were in her thoughts and she believed in us.

          Her family asked that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts designated for cancer research can be made at www.cancer.org .

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