Sometimes hope is packaged in a memory

Dark skies matched my mood on my walk today. The sadness in my heart threatened to cast me into a river of despair. I was close to sinking deep under the surface. Our family has lived some of our most challenging days this past month. I know tragedy triggered the chasm that opened up and let my inner bully through. My inner bully is best friends with depression because my inner critic chatter starts when the sadness surfaces. Which is strange because as we went through those first hard days, something inside me steeled and optimism reigned. Survival instincts kicked in, and I powered through. It’s in the quiet aftermath where the darkness starts to form. Doubt, fear, anger, frustration, sadness, and pain seem to finally get louder. During these times is when despair threatens to pull me under, I must push so hard to focus on what I have to be grateful for. But today, depression was wrapped like a suffocating scarf around my neck. It almost swept me away, and then I remembered a session I had earlier in the year.

This past year I met someone who profoundly touched my life. She gave me back hope in myself and reminded me that love is the answer to most of our problems. If we love ourselves and others better, most things can be figured out. She reminded me to be myself, and I am enough. Who is this bear-er of hope? Her name is Jenna.

This young woman stepped into my life easily, readily. The minute I saw her, she stepped towards me and smiled. Jenna has a 1000 watt smile, and its warmth draws you in immediately. Her long blonde hair lays straight and frames her bright smile. Her frame is lean, and you can tell she is an athlete. Her eyes shine bright and highlight her joy and eagerness to experience all the world has to offer. One of the things I noticed about Jenna right away was how open and trusting she is. Jenna is an angel. Both literally and figuratively.

It took her no time at all to greet me and walk right over to me. She asked me, “Can I sit in your lap?” When I told her she could, she sat right down in one swift movement. She told me she wanted to look right at her mom while she spoke to her. This was a first for a session. As she started to speak, she abruptly stopped, turned to look at me, and asked, “Is this too awkward? Can you still see my mom through or around my head?” And I could, despite the fact that when she sat in my lap her head was right in front of mine.

When I told her I could, she proceeded to share messages of love and light with her mom and aunt. Jenna was radiant, loving, open, and incredibly kind. She gave great big, mushy kisses to her aunt. Jenna had messages for her mom, dad, and each of her sisters. Jenna wanted to make sure she shared something for everyone. She talked about heaven and how she was too young to die but was prepared. She lived a great, big life in just fourteen short years.

As she finished up speaking, she turned and snuggled into me and gave me the sweetest hug. I felt warmth through my entire being. And then she said, “Thank you for helping me.” Never in all my hundreds of readings had anything like that happened before. When she realized that, whether I told her or she felt it, I don’t know, she was in shock. She was surprised that Matthew (the first child spirit I worked with) hadn’t hugged me. In fact, she was shocked no other spirit had thanked me like that before. Jenna believes hugs and thank you’s are a given and should be shared regularly. Jenna believe love shouldn’t be bottled up, but expressed.

This beautiful young girl is incredible. Her mother, Dena, shared so much about Jenna after the session. Jenna was killed by a train on a Sunday afternoon. She had moved away from the train but had gone back for her cell phone. She wasn’t even on the tracks. What she didn’t know, what I didn’t know until this session, is that trains create a vacuum, and Jenna was sucked into the train.

Dena shared with me how she carries on Jenna’s legacy. The Betti Family created #hersmile in honor of Jenna. Jenna helped anyone and everyone in need. Jenna greeted everyone like she had greeted me. And she treated everyone with the same love she showed me when she hugged me at the end of the session. Jenna was a caring, compassionate friend, teammate, student, daughter, sister and she loved giving back to the Martinez Community. #hersmile helps other grieving families, but it also assists schools in purchasing education supplies for emotional curriculum. And that isn’t all; # hersmile works with organizations to support children’s mental health and create anti-bullying campaigns. Jenna’s beautiful heart matched her 1000 watt smile. Jenna’s compassion continues with a legacy of love. Click here to learn more.

I wanted you to meet Jenna because she still has so much to teach all of us. Sharing hope, smiles, love, and encouragement first is imperative to healing, especially right now. And it’s simple. Smile. Even under the mask. Give praise and encouragement when we see someone who is struggling. Because we all are on some level, and offering support will lift each of us up so we can share positivity with others. Positivity spreads like wildfire and will catch each person with surprise and leave them with delight, just like Jenna does.

So many people are angry, lost, depressed, struggling for all kinds of reasons. So many people have died over the past few years. So many people have lost jobs, homes, businesses and are starting over. We need to be gentle with one another, not angry or demanding. We need to remember to say “please,” “thank you,” and “have a good day.” These niceties need to be brought back as a standard. I want to be more like Jenna. I want to be remembered like Jenna. If something were to happen to me today, I would want my family and friends to continue my memory with a legacy of love for others.

Jenna continues to make a difference in so many lives through #hersmile, through her family and friends, and through her story. I would bet reading about Jenna has helped lift you up just a little bit, too. My wish is that knowing about her inspires you to be your best self in your community and to be not afraid of showing up exactly as you are in the world. If you have noticed I haven’t published a blog post this year, not one. I had trouble writing after finishing my book. I thought maybe I had nothing left to share. After the meeting with Jenna, I called her mom. I knew right away I wanted to share Jenna with all of you. I asked if I could write about Jenna. She granted me permission. Jenna helped remind me to show up and share. And most of all to be unafraid to show kindness and love. And this week when depression and sadness were pulling and tugging at me to let them seize the day, hope came along in the form of a memory. Sometimes the memories are all we have to let hope in and give us the strength to make it through the next moment. And we are not alone in feeling that way. Sharing kindness with others and ourselves helps remind us of that. Here’s to hope this holiday season and beyond in Jenna’s honor.


Happy Holidays and warmest wishes for health, peace & hope,

4 thoughts on “Sometimes hope is packaged in a memory

  1. Thanks for sharing Michelle. What you catch in a moment, and how you deliver it, is an incredible talent.

    1. Thank you. There are souls that need to be introduced even if they are no longer in a body here with us; I am glad I can help people to know them.

  2. I know these dark days as well. Your gift in sharing them comes with a price I’m sure.
    Blessed are we who love & share so deeply.
    Especially when it doesn’t feel as though!
    Much Love & Peace

    1. Thank you kindly, Susi. I appreciate your empathy and compassion. True that those who love deeply are blessed. So grateful for your comment.

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