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Michelle Johnson and Linda Curtis are lifelong friends

Michelle Johnson and Linda Curtis are lifelong friends

Who could imagine two separate tragedies would help reunite two long-lost friends? Linda Curtis and Michelle Johnson had developed a strong friendship, working as co-workers at the same nursing facility and sharing a residence in Traverse City with Michelle’s parents. They had many fun experiences and stuck together, supporting each other whenever needed.

But with a job transfer and a need to tend to her own parents, Linda moved to Hastings to be closer to family. Michelle remained in Traverse City. The two hoped to stay connected to each other despite the distance. It wasn’t long that both women found love and got married, their lives growing busier with new children.

Linda married a Navy man, Richard Curtis, and had two children, Ryan and Kelly. And Michelle married her husband, Santiago, and was blessed with three children, Christopher, Shawna, and Samantha. Michelle and Linda attempted to continue contact with the occasional phone call, but as life moved forward and got busier, the two lost connection.

Many years passed, nearly 20 years, when tragedy struck for Linda and her family. In October 2017, she received the news no parent ever wishes to hear: Two Marine officers arrived at her doorstep to give the solemn news of the passing of her son, Ryan. He was an active duty Marine who died unexpectedly.

A while after the funeral, as Linda and her family tried find a new normal in their now-shaken world, she attempted to reach out to those she’d lost contact with. She thought of Michelle and the fond memories she had and looked to the Yellow Pages and internet searches in hopes of reconnecting.

She learned that Michelle and her husband had divorced and moved their separate ways, leaving Linda unsure of how to contact her. It wasn’t until she was filing old photos that she happened upon a photo Michelle’s son, Christopher Johnson. Hoping she had hit a bit of luck, she began searching for Christopher in hopes that he could lead her to Michelle. It wasn’t until she searched the internet with Christopher’s name that her heart sank. She had found his obituary. Christopher also had passed unexpectedly in a car crash in March 2017, seven months prior to Ryan’s passing.

Devastated to learn that her friend also had lost her son, she knew she had to find her. Linda made a phone call to the funeral home that had provided the obituary and expressed her need to contact Michelle. Within three hours, Linda received a call from Michelle. They were both thrilled to have finally made contact, but grief-stricken to hear of the other’s plight.

They have since continued more faithfully contacting and supporting one another, both having dealt with similar circumstances.

And, after 20 years apart, the two finally met face-to-face again, proving that love and friendship creates a bond that neither time, distance nor heartache can break.

Linda Curtis,


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