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Happy Birthday, Michelle

28 years ago today, one of the most amazing, loving, caring, selfless angels was created. I hope she knows that her life and death have inspired so many people in numerous ways.

By Krystine Dinh

The trial has been draining.

I told Marc and Violet I would try to blog every day, but then when it started, I discovered it was much easier to simply leave the courtroom without having to explain or describe the range of emotions that comes with being in the gallery among our family and all of those who love her. Truth be told, the most exhausting parts of the trial are when the evidentiary facts are being excruciatingly repeated in bone dry format – cold and clinical. Or when the defense is painting a suspected murderer to be a saint, and our family has no choice but to listen on to their shameless attempts at garnering sympathy, including their callous and merciless attacks on who we love. They forget, I suppose, that we lost Michelle because she was murdered in cold blood.

I suppose they forget that while they are defending a monster who has “future dreams and life goals”, it is because of her that Michelle will never get the chance to live out her future dreams, pursue her life goals, get married, become a mother, spend holidays with her family and laugh with her friends. Her short living years were quickly and brutally ended, but I suppose they forget that.

But despite the trial unraveling, today is Michelle’s birthday, and those long courtroom days are not my focus. The DNA forensics, bloodwork and details surrounding her murder, both pre-meditated and following the damned act, may have everything to do with Michelle the victim, but there is always Michelle, the person. Beautiful Michelle Thi Le was 26 when she was killed; today, she would have been 28 years old.

So, today, I will try my hardest to focus on Michelle – the loving, hilarious, carefree, joyful Michelle. The one who kicked ass in board games, who wore big ol’ owl glasses growing up, the one who acted as the Queen when we all played pretend in her backyard playhouse. The one who helped me through my first heartbreak, who taught me how to drive (why anyone thought this was a good idea is still beyond me), who rollerbladed and biked around Mira Mesa when we were all kids, who was a dedicated Beta Phi sorority sister, who saw life through such rose-tinted glasses and always sought the absolute best in people – even if one of those people were to murder her later. Life is painfully ironic at times.

I miss her so much, it physically hurts today. Most of the time, I still think she will appear around the corner, laughing as she does, making fun of me and all of us because we’re such worrywarts. Being happy go-lucky as usual. Sometimes I really wonder how people grieve and move on. On days like these, it seems almost impossible.

28 years ago today, one of the most amazing, loving, caring, selfless angels was created. I hope she knows that her life and death have inspired so many people in numerous ways. And because of her legacy, her death will never be in vain. Today, though we are without her on this earth, I am envisioning with all my might that she is watching over us as we acknowledge her birthday each in our own ways, being with each of us all, somehow.

I love you and miss you more than anything, Michelle. I know we all do, and that brings some sense of comfort. At least we are not alone, even when the fog of grief is thick. I hope you’re having fun up there, or wherever you are. Happy Birthday, love. Love, love, love you.

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