Valya Dudycz Lupescu

Writer, fueled by coffee

Leaving Orchards


Photo by Vincent Louis Carrella

Photo by Vincent Louis Carrella

I met Michele Turner at the Big Sur Writing Workshop in 2012. Parts of it were inspiring and valuable, but meeting Michele was the biggest blessing of the weekend. We clicked immediately (she was kindred spirit and another writer mama of two girls); because we live so far apart, we mostly kept in touch online, checking in and swapping stories about the directions our lives were taking over the past four years.

Michele had a recurrence of her breast cancer this summer; and, despite 10 rounds of chemotherapy, the cancer spread and was incurable. She passed away this morning. She leaves a hole in so many hearts. Her friend Vincent Louis Carrella wrote on Michele’s facebook page, “She was the Johnny Appleseed of love and she left orchards.” I love that. It’s true. It’s what we should all endeavor to do and be, I think.

Michele was a brilliant and utterly authentic human being with a kind and loving heart–a creative force who made this world better. Having the privilege of knowing her was a gift.

What is remembered, lives. So I wanted to write something down, to remember. To honor the beauty of her words and heart and spirit.

Michele introduced me to the idea of taking the kids on a “penny walk” allowing heads or tails to decide the direction of the stroll. I will go on a walk in the next day or so and bring a penny with me. I’m going to head toward the lake, because I want to remember her in the most beautiful place I have access to nearby, but we’ll see where I end up.

We never really know do we? We only know that our time is short and precious, and we need to cherish one another and all the moments.

Michele Turner. What is remembered lives.

Author: Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu is the author of THE SILENCE OF TREES and STICKS & BONES, as well as the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Born and raised in Chicago, Valya received her degree in English at DePaul University and her MFA in Writing as part of the inaugural class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since receiving her MFA, Valya has worked as a college professor, obituary writer, content manager, internal communications specialist, co-producer of an independent feature film, and Goth cocktail waitress.

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