Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In Lieu of Flowers

I'm dedicating this blog post--a piece I wrote two years ago--to a former colleague - who is, as I write this, dying of cancer. This wonderful woman is one of those people (truly) who lights up a room -- whose happy and positive spirit makes this world a better place. As I understand from friends that are with her now, even in pain and in the last days of her life with her friends and family (which includes her 6 year old daughter), she continues to share smiles, laughs and a really positive attitude. Thank you, M, for the joy you have brought to so many in your life. 

When I die, in lieu of flowers, please go to Circus Smirkus.

I am completely serious.

Tonight, along with my family (nearly the whole clan, in fact), I entered The Big Top to witness the phenomenon many of my friends had told me about over the last handful of years.

Sure, when I urged my mom to purchase the tickets for all of us, I was confident it would be a fun evening—but, I was thinking that it would be fun to watch my four year old daughter and her cousins enjoying the show. Never in a million years did I expect to be so captivated myself.

But, for two hours, despite the hard bench beneath my 39 year old behind, I sat smiling and clapping and watching with great anticipation as happy, smiling children—and, fellow kid clowns--juggled, rode unicycles and performed acrobatic stints with ease. I felt the thrill of being a kid in awe--a feeling that one doesn’t get to experience much these days amidst a world with great pressures and a whole lot of downers.

These acrobats, jugglers, clowns and trapeze artists were regular children. Children who decided to enlist in the circus—and, over the course of three weeks they learned these tricks and then began a 70 show tour. Amazing. They were talented—but, above all, they seemed to be having the time of their life.

On our way home, still feeling a tickle of excitement in my belly, we discussed what acts we’d like to undertake if we were going to join the circus. My daughter (4 years old) declared she would be an acrobat, my husband a juggler – and, me, well, a trapeze artist, of course.

At that moment, I whispered to my husband…

…in lieu of flowers when I die, go to Circus Smirkus. Or send someone there.

To me, that’s what heaven would be like—under The Big Top with a bunch of laughing, smiling people.  

This year, in just another week, I'll be going to Circus Smirkus -- and, I'll be smiling and laughing for you, MP.


  1. Dear Michelle-whoever-you-are,
    I am a parent of a smirkus trouper and your posting made me cry.
    Thank you.

  2. Dear Michelle,
    I too am a trouper parent and had the same reaction to your posting as that of the other Smirkus parent. Since it's hard for kids to understand, I try to periodically remind my daughter what a blessing it is and how proud she should be that her participation in Smirkus can make so many people happy. Thank you for this lovely and eloquent confirmation.

  3. Dear Miche,

    This is EXACTLY what Mel would've wanted in lieu of flowers. Somewhere she must be smiling down at what you wrote. In fact, before her very untimely and tragic death 3 short days ago, she made sure that everyone knew she didn't want anything sad after her death. That's why there's going to be a party for her in a few weeks. I wish so much you were going to be there.