My dear, precious princess. It hurts so deeply to lose you. I had looked so forward to seeing you bring home your first boyfriend - and maybe becoming a mother. There's so much you should have done and will now never get a chance to do. We are going to miss you terribly and will carry you in our hearts for the rest of our lives. We are going to remember what a pretty, sweet, young girl you were. You had love for your whole family and you loved (especially) small children, older people, animals and people who were less priviliged. You were incredibly intelligent and full of a lust for life that we will always remember. To see the joy in your face when you were swimming, joking with somebody or happily reminiscing about your experiences with Queen and the other members of your "rock family" brought joy to my heart. That joy will remain there forever. What impressed the most is the courage and determination you showed in turning your life around. From being in a desparate situation during your teen years you worked, worked and worked yourself out of that deep, dark, hole and blossomed into a vital, happy, determined and wonderful, loving young woman. Your stepmother Ann-Kathrin had so looked forward to spending more time with the daughter that she had never had and you bringing grandchildren into the house.
Besides your ability to do the seemingly impossible and travel around the world to all your Queen concerts, your most impressive feat was the way you took to the piano and eventually played at a “concert-pianist level” just two years after you learned your first chords. Listening to you play Moonlight Sonata and Rachmaninov Prelude in C sharp is something I will never forget and brought tears to my eyes every time.
Some of my favourite memories with you:
- When we took our trip to Vancouver to surprise Grandma (and the rest of the Bruheims) on her 80th birthday. To avoid being spotted at the mall by several family members in advance of the party we dashed into a shoe store and hid behind the cash register counter. We had to explain to a rather shocked sales-girl what we were doing and she quickly sided with us – keeping a lookout. While hiding behind the counter Michelle saw some boots she liked – and yes – the sales lady picked out a pair for her to try on, she liked them and her soft-hearted Daddy paid for them – all the while kneeling on the floor behind the cash register.
- Our days at your apartment in Åsavn in Majorstua/Oslo where you lived for 6 months in 2004. How you loved to sleep under the stars on your balcony. You really were a kindred spirit with your lovely Grandma. I was there almost every day. We played the piano for each other, watched old movies, music DVD’s (a lot of Queen and a little Led Zeppelin) or just sat around talking. I brought you dinner – you made it and I did the dishes. It was a steady routine and it was probably the finest bonding time we had in your short life.
- Your first whole sentence as a little girl/baby: “Why should you decide over me?”
- The fervor with which you looked after your little brother – you were the only one that was allowed to bully him. If anybody else tried that – Watch out!
- From the same infamous trip to Canada for Grandma’s 80th: We had to get from Victoria to Vancouver to catch our plane back to Norway. We could do it the cheap way by ferry or the expensive way by plane (15 passenger propeller plane). When I said we could take the plane if you took it as an advance birthday present there was no hesitation on your part – and that plane ride was a lovely adventure for us both.
- When your Mom and I were having our troubles before our divorce in 1992 – I would often sleep on the couch. Already then you had such enormous empathy. You knew your Daddy was hurting and you would sneak out of your bed in the middle of the night, come down to the couch and hold around me to comfort me.
- On our visit to the Art Museum in Lillehammer in 2004 you saw a grand piano in the main foyer. You of course went straight to the reception and asked if you could play it. They said yes and you sat and played for us – and all the other museum guests for about 45 minutes. What a special experience that was. You later managed to play on the grand piano at the Opera House in Vienna. Only you could pull that off. I’m sure though, that once they heard the beautiful way you played they were pleased they let you do it.
- Our trip to London with you to see the “We Will Rock You” musical. We “had to” have the best seats in the house and we literally rocked through the whole show. I particularly remember the two of us standing and swaying our arms back and forth to “No one but you”. When they played it at your memorial I had you beside me and we were singing it together again.
- You worked at the same company as me for 1 year (VIA Travel). Every day for lunch we would buy cheese buns and feed them to the birds at Aker Brygge. True to form you were always making sure the smallest and weakest birds got their share..
- Singing some of our favourite sing-a-long songs together – whenever the mood hit us: “The Letter” by the Boxtops, “Hair” from the musical, “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “Do-Whah-Diddy” by Manfred Mann and of course “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Eric Idle.
Also to be mentioned:
- Your love of bungy jumping (anything dangerous was basically up your alley).
- Your favourite music (besides Queen) – Mozart, Monserrat (Barcelona-duet with Freddie) – and anything else she sang. And it wasn’t just Queen you followed on tour. In the summer of 2004 you followed in Mozart’s footsteps to Vienna and Salzburg – going to the opera in both places, by yourself. Led Zeppelin became your nr. 2 “rock group” and Pink Floyd was also very special to you.
- Any music from the 1960’s and first half of the 1970’s.
- Favourite film: Some Like it Hot with your favourite actress Marilyn Monroe.
- Your greatest wish in life was to have been born 30 years earlier so that you could have experienced the musical revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s – not to mention the Queen-era up to 1991.
- Your intensive persistence and refusal to take no for an answer: Frustrating for your loved ones but it sure got you places!
- Your memorial website has shown that you have, despite your short lifetime, managed to become a beacon of inspiration for hundreds of people around the world. You were truly unique!
The most profound words of wisdom sometimes come from unexpected people. At your Canadian memorial your angelic and reflective little cousin Nona (8 years) said something like: “Well, I believe Michelle is like a favourite sock lost in the dryer… Although we can’t find you we know you are there”.
Michelle - You will forever be in our hearts.
Your ever-loving father, Ann-Kathrin and brother Marius.